Breasts and Lifting - Tips to Manage & Protect "Your Girls" at the Gym
Boobs. They get in the way of everything.
If you are a woman, you may have a love-hate relationship with them. They can be attractive and they can also get in the way when you are lifting or doing something with your arms.
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Lifting weights can be quite annoying if you have a lot of boobage. If you are doing a clean and press, for example, you may have to swing the bar OVER your boobs just to get it up. Maybe you are doing a pushup and cant get all the way down because of your busty-ness.
Running is an act of self-flagellation. Even if you have the best sports bra on the planet, it won't protect you from getting smacked in the face. You almost need hazard pay in order to run a 5k...
Obviously, breasts are for breastfeeding. There are mammary glands that aid in lactation. These mammary glands have lobes which are segmented.
On each side, a mammary gland lies in the subcutaneous tissue of the pectoral fat pad beneath the skin of the chest.
There is the nipple where an infant feeds and the areola which is the reddish brown region of the skin around the nipple. There are sebaceous glands beneath the areolar surface which make it look grainy in texture.
There are ducts that come off the mammary gland. To hold the duct system there are bands of connective tissue known as the suspensory ligaments of the breast.
When our suspensory ligaments go lax, we women get “saggy breast syndrome.” Don’t worry, it’s not a real diagnosis, I just made it up. Sounds much more technical, so I went with it.
Boobs or mammary glands are anatomically related to sweat glands. There are complex interactions between sex hormones and pituitary hormones controlling their development and the secretion of breast milk and colostrum. Watch out world, even our breasts are susceptible to hormonal changes.
If you are a man, I would love to give you boobs for a day. I realize you may be overjoyed with that prospect - well until you entered a gym, that is.
3 Fallacies Regarding Breasts
1. Do Weight Lifting, They Say
It will make your boobs lift, they say.
The thing is, weightlifting to increase the volume of chest muscles will have little effect on the appearance of your breasts. It does not significantly lift the breast.
Now, don’t think I am telling you not to do chest exercises if you are a female - on the contrary, I think if you don’t do the main chest exercises like pushups, chest press, and the like you are hindering progress. And by progress I mean strength.
The only time I would be hesitant talking to a woman about chest exercises is when she has had breast implants. Some of my clients still have issues with implants and chest exercises even after a year. This may be due to scar tissue or the actual pocket and how the implant was placed.
Otherwise, ladies, do those pushups.
2. Breasts Are Mostly Glandular and Can't Lose Weight
Any woman who has lost significant weight knows that this is a for-sure fallacy. Your breast is made up of glands and a ductal system used for milk production and expression. However, there are fat pads in between where the mammary glands lie and it can be a significant amount.
So, yes, if you lose weight it is likely you will also lose breast volume and size. I know after I lost my weight, I basically had to roll them up inside a bra. I know, probably way too much information, but we are talking about boobs, so that in itself is a personal topic.
3. Implants Mean You Can't Perform Chest Exercises
Wrong! However, you may need to get permission from your surgeon as to when and what exercises you can start with.
Some clients may have scar tissue years later or have implants that may be more mobile than others, so it is pretty individual. However, on the whole, yes, you can do chest exercises.
Why Breasts Are Annoying
Bras, when your chest is large, are pretty much a joke. I know ladies that are double D, and have to wear two bras just to hold them in for any type of cardio. Let me just tell you - this sucks as a woman.
Bras can be uncomfortable and difficult to find for a person who is busty. I mean, you want the support of Helga, but you don't want to look like a crazy stripper while doing clean and presses either.
There was a study done regarding bras that stated they made the ligament that holds up the breasts. However, I don’t think you will see a “no bra” movement happen like it did in the 60’s.
And did I mention it hurts to go braless? Yeah, so there is that.
Yes, I said it. They are big, annoying and get in the way of not only cardio, but weightlifting as well. Doing upright rows are dangerous. Like seriously. Doing push-ups, they touch the floor and you don’t even have to bend your arms.
Well, let's just say they hang in front of your face causing respiratory distress because they hang out in front of your face. Decline chest press - really, don’t even think about it unless you want your boobs asphyxiating you.
4 Tips for Women With Large Breasts
So these are my suggestions for women with large breasts:
1. Lose weight if you want them gone
If you have some weight to lose, likely you will lose weight in your breast tissue as well.
2. Wear 2 bras
There. I said it. I mean two really GOOD bras that will hold them suckers in.
You may only need one stellar bra depending on the brand. Although you may be weakening your breast ligaments, please don’t go braless.
This would not only be distracting, it would be painful if you have some things to get done in the gym.
3. Modify your exercises
Do a bench pushup versus a pushup on the ground. Do chest press flat or at an incline.
Maybe you don’t do upright rows (they can add increased torque to the small muscles of the shoulder and increase the potential for injury) so do other exercises for shoulders and traps.
4. Find approves exercises
If you have had breast implants recently, make sure your surgeon approves your choices of exercises.
If you have pain with chest exercises, then you may need to consult your physician to see if there is an inordinate amount of scar tissue and what if anything you can do for that.
Just because you have large breasts, it does not mean that your life is over. Exercises can be modified or adjusted to aid you in your fitness goals.
Using the best bras will help with cardio and certain exercises. A breast reduction may be something to consider if they are hindering your goals.