Will Exercise Reduce and/or Lift My Breasts?

San Francisco, CA-There are several reasons that women look for alternatives to breast reduction other than surgery.

Some women are fearful of surgery, some are fearful of anesthesia, while others are concerned about the time that they would need to take out of their busy schedules for recovery. The financial expense for women who do not have coverage by medical insurance can be prohibitive. Then there are women who worry about what their breasts may look like after a reduction mammoplasty surgery.

For all of these reasons and more, women look for ways of reducing their large breasts that does not involve surgery.

The breast is composed of fat and breast tissue, the ratio varies greatly among women. For those with a greater degree of fat, weight loss can make a big difference. If the woman does not have good skin elasticity, the breast may end up looking deflated and droopy after significant weight loss. 

Breasts Are Tissue and Fat, Not Muscle

There have been a great number of inquiries asking if exercise can make a difference in breast reduction and possibly help to lift the breasts. As mentioned the breast is made up of fat and breast tissue, not muscles. Exercise may strengthen the underlying pectoralis muscles, but the breast is supported by a network of suspensory ligaments which are not affected by exercise.  Due to gravity and the loss of integrity of the connective tissue support over time, the weight of the breasts will diminish the ligament support to the chest wall, and the breasts will droop.

Gynecomastia for Men

Men with gynecomastia (male breasts) hope to reduce their man boobs through exercise. They find the same thing that women do, it doesn’t work. In some cases, the development of the pectoralis muscle may even make the breast more prominent by pushing the breast out further beyond the muscle.

The breast gland sits on top of the muscle and is not affected by how strong the underlying pectoral muscle is and strengthening the pectoral muscle will not alleviate back and neck pain. Weight loss and exercise are helpful for tone but not tightening. Exercise could help strengthen the back muscles which could help support the extra weight of the breasts on the chest.

Why Surgery is Necessary

In the search for alternative methods of breast reduction, women may find expensive pills, creams and lotions advertised on the internet. Some state they are granted “GRASE” status by the FDA, which means the herbal ingredients are safe, not that the product works, if it worked, no one would have surgery.

Getting the right support bra from a specialty store is not a permanent solution, but with good support some of the heaviness and back pain may be alleviated.

Less Invasive Procedures

Many women have gotten good results from a less invasive procedure, liposuction, but not all women are candidates. The best candidate for liposuction breast reduction is the woman who has minimal to moderate breast enlargement, a larger fat to breast tissue ratio, with minimal sagging; usually it is the younger woman with normal skin elasticity. Liposuction can significantly reduce the breast size for this patient with less pain, a shorter surgery and faster recovery. However, when the fat is removed the skin may not contract fully, and the breast may sag. In addition, the breast will not be lifted as in a traditional breast reduction. With all this being said, breast reduction surgery remains one of the most patient pleasing surgical procedures.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about the specific causes or treatments for your unique situation, don’t hesitate to contact our team today to schedule your first consultation with Dr. Delgado.

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Dr. Miguel Delgado


Dr. Delgado, MD is a world-recognized plastic surgeon and specialist in the treatment of male breast enlargement, also called gynecomastia. He has developed new techniques and owns and operates gynecomastia.org, which has become the largest gynecomastia forum in the world. Dr. Delgado holds the two most coveted credentials; the certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgery.

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