There's a rumor that's been floating around for decades that we're finally ready to squash. Is it really possible to target your lady lumps with specific lifting exercises? We've asked one of our favorite fitness experts to weigh in — and to show us how it's done.
“Many women overlook working the pectoral muscles, which eventually leads to upper-body weakness,” says Angeles Burke, Celsius Director of Fitness & Wellness. "Give your 'girls' a lift by adding this exercise to your workout routine," says Burke. She shares some of her best moves for perkier boobs. Complete four sets of 10 repetitions per move.
Grasping a dumbbell in each hand, sit on an incline bench. Elevate your arms so they’re straight and your palms are facing each other (the dumbbells should be touching). From here, slowly open up your arms while maintaining a slight bend at the elbows until they are nearly parallel with the floor. Breathe in and push your chest out while lowering your arms. Breathe out and push your arms back up to starting position.
Quick fitness tip: Both the chest flies and the chest press can be done while lying on a bench or the floor rather than the incline bench, notes Burke. “The beginning and ending positions for both moves are the same. I feel that incorporating the different angles for each move targets the muscles in different ways and keeps your body guessing,” she says.
Grasping dumbbells in each hand, lean back on an incline bench so your back and head are pressed against the seat. Hold the dumbbells with elbows bent, so your upper arms are parallel to the ground and your forearms run perpendicular to the floor, with your palms facing forward. Exhale and push the dumbbells overhead until they meet at the top. Inhale and slowly lower your arms down to the starting position. “Since you’re also incorporating your shoulders in this move, you may notice you are a lot stronger than you were in the chest fly,” notes Burke. She suggests increasing weight to make this move more challenging. “During each set, you should really be challenged at repetition eight.”
Using a cable machine, drop the cables so they rest on the ground. Hold a handle in each hand out toward the side with your palms facing up. Exhale and pull your arms up so that your palms meet in front of your face. Inhale and use control to bring your arms back to each side. “Focus on using the chest muscles to bring the cable up and be sure not to throw your body weight into the move for assistance,” advises Burke.
Using a dip machine, pick a weight that will provide enough assistance (i.e., one that’s not too heavy) but that will still challenge your muscles. Place your hands on each bar and put your knees on the pad below you. Start with your arms fully extended and then drop your body down and bend your elbows for a full range of motion. Push up through your palms to the starting position and repeat. “Lean forward a little bit during this move to incorporate the chest muscles a bit more,” says Burke. “If this becomes too easy, drop the knee pad and push up your body weight without assistance.”
If you’re just beginning your training, start by doing push-ups on your knees (which makes doing this exercise slightly easier). Bring your palms to the ground and walk them forward until your back is in a straight line. Keeping your back straight, look forward and drop your chest to the ground in a controlled motion, then push back up through your palms to the starting position. “If you have more strength in your shoulders and chest, start this move in a plank position,” says Burke. Push-ups may be low on your list of favorite exercises, but they’re important in the quest for a perkier chest.
Originally published Aug. 2013. Updated May 2016.
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