Will I lose my cup-size if I train chest?  Is it Really Possible to Lose Breast Size from Chest Exercises?

by Sarah Hougen, CPT

It’s funny how you sometimes get the same question from several people within a period of two-three days. This week was like that, two women in separate contexts being afraid of training their chest because they thought it would reduce their breast cup size.

Let me repeat (again!) : spot reducing is not possible. Training one body part will not burn the fat off that area. This is true for the abs, and it is equally true for the breasts. The only thing that could reduce your cup size ladies, is if you carry mostly fat and burn that off by drastically reducing your overall body fat percentage. Those who have larger glands will retain most of their cup size, but could still go down one cup size. Could... not will, by the way. 

What we will all do, is go down in the circumference size of the bra; so it’ll be a good investment to go to a lingerie store and get fitted properly after an important fat loss . It costs a little more than picking up a bra at the local supermarket, but you’ll be certain of your new size and can go back to the supermarket for more than the one expensive one (that you can keep for special occasions).


Now that you know that chest exercises will not reduce breast size per se, properly training the pectorals will add lean and firm muscle beneath the breasts, giving them (back) the perkiness of their younger years. You may laugh, but when I first discovered the Pec Deck machine, I found it really helped with the “lift” of the breasts, and dubbed it “The Bra Machine” (told you you’d laugh). Then I dared try the barbell bench press!

There isn’t really any area of the gym that ladies should feel they don’t belong. Hit the bench press; go for the T-bar rows, use any machine or free weight you want. The only thing is to remember most men are somewhat stronger so you will most likely have to start with lower weights – although I do use heavier weights than some men … sorry guys if your ego didn’t like that!

The next question I get quite often is “what program should I use? Which is best?”

There is no best program. There are some lousy ones, some ridiculous, some fairly useless but harmless, and a good few really good ones. My recommendation is that you find between 2 and 4 different programs that you like, that you enjoy doing and have fun with; and alternate them on a 13-week basis throughout the year – 12 weeks training, one week off; switch to another program.

It took me 3 years to find three programs I really enjoy. One was sent me by a colleague, one is self-made, and the third from a member of my old gym who taught me the basics and then some. But I own about 10-20 different books and programs, it took some sifting through them all to end up with these three – and I may still switch to a fourth if I decide to.  

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