by Seamus Phan
As women age, especially after pregnancies and increasing obesity, breast tissue and skin can become less elastic, losing form and shape. Although many women subscribe to the use of support or even push-up bras, the net results can be limited, if at all. Short of going under the scalpel, are there physical training ways that women can use to increase “perkiness” even with age? As physical and lifestyle coaches, we recommend these resistance exercises (in this order):
1) Inclined flyes.
Most people (men and women alike) do not do enough of upper chest (clavicular portion of the pectoralis major or chest muscles) exercises. And many do not do the exercise in the right form. Start with holding dumbbells facing each other on top of your face. Do NOT lock your elbows. Lower the weights slowly in about 5 seconds, where at the bottom of the motion your arms should not lock out, but bend them slightly, as you breathe in through your nose slowly. Get a good stretch at the bottom of the motion, and hold about 2 seconds. Then bring the dumbbells together and squeeze your chest muscles when the weights are at the top, while you breath out through your mouth. Do at least 3 sets of between 8 to 12 repetitions, until failure (where you can’t do anymore). Rest about 1 minute between each set. The recommended weight should be a weight you are comfortable with, but not so easy that you can do all 3 sets of exercise and still find it relaxing. Resistance training should have some “pain” to make gains.
2) Inclined press.
Once you are done with 3 sets of inclined flyes, follow with the inclined press on a slightly inclined bench (not more than 30 degrees up). If you incline the bench too much, you end up working your shoulders instead. Hold a barbell with desired weights (offering sufficient resistance) wider than your shoulder width. Rest your feet squarely on the floor. Lift the barbell off the rack slowly while you inhale slowly and allow the barbell to descend slowly to your upper chest, and touch the bar on your chest lightly, and then hold for 2 seconds. Then push the bar upwards and exhale through your mouth. Do not lock your elbows. Do at least 3 sets of between 8 to 12 repetitions, until. Rest about 1 minute between each set.
This is a great exercise for expanding the musculature around the chest, including the serratus muscle (at the side of your rib cage). Lie across perpendicularly on a bench where only the upper part of your back and your shoulders are touching the bench, and your legs are bent and your feet planted squarely on the floor. Hold a dumbbell with both hands above you and arms bent (not locked at the elbows). Breathe in slowly as you lower the weight behind you as much as you are comfortable, and then bring the weight back above you as your breathe out. Repeat for 3 sets of between 6 to 10 repetitions, until failure. Rest about 1 minute between each set. This exercise has the advantage of giving a wider rib cage if you do it properly over time, and will give you a more hour-glass physique (since many Asian women have larger bottoms).
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