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Maybe you own a dress you think would fit better if your chest was a little bouncier. Maybe you wish your chest was a bit more pronounced. Or maybe you’ve got some chest dysphoria.

Regardless, if you’re reading this it’s because you want to know: Is it possible to increase breast size naturally?

Below, learn what impacts breast size, as well as seven exercises that you can do at home with weights or at the gym to build stronger, fuller chest muscles.

The short answer: It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to alter the shape of your breasts naturally.

Changing the size and shape of your breasts often requires a surgical procedure, such as breast augmentation (aka implants).

That’s because the size of your breasts is determined by a combination of your:

  • genetics
  • hormones
  • body weight
  • lifestyle
  • potential life stage, such as pregnancy

If breast enhancement surgery isn’t on your to-do list (fair!), you might be wondering whether there are natural ways to change your breast size.

The truth is that there are very few things you can do naturally that will increase the overall size of your breast or chest tissues.

That said, exercise can change the overall appearance of your pectoral muscles, which lie under your breast tissues. Targeting these muscles through strength training exercises (like the ones listed below!) can result in a change in chest-tissue size, density, strength, and tone.

Summary

While these exercises are not likely to impact your cup size, they may shift the appearance of your breasts over time.

Just as strength training can increase the size, strength, endurance, and tone of your leg or arm muscles, it can alter your chest muscles.

Isolation chest exercises like the chest press, pullovers, and flys, in particular, are likely to lead to changes in the shape and size of your pectoral muscles.

But changing your chest muscles is *not* necessarily the same as increasing breast size. It’s just an increase in the pectoral muscles, which lie underneath the breasts.

Sure, some people may be able to grow their chest muscles enough that they go up a bra size. After all, strength training — especially with heavy weights and/or high reps — can lead to muscle growth.

But just as not everyone who hits arm day will need to buy bigger shirts to fit their bicep muscles, not everyone who hits chest day will need bigger bras to fit their chest muscles. Makes sense!

Summary

Strength training exercises can help increase strength and size in your chest muscles. But that’s different than changing the size of the breast itself.

Now that you know there’s a difference between increasing pec muscle size and breast size, do you still want to strength train your chest? Cool.

Read on for seven of the best movements you can do to boost strength and fulness in your chest muscles.

1. Dumbbell chest press

A home and gym-friendly exercise, the dumbbell chest press targets the pectorals as well as your shoulders, and triceps. Woot!

If you don’t have a set of dumbbells (or a set of dumbbells that’s light enough!) you can also use two soup cans or water bottles.

if you have access to a flat bench, you’ll lie on that. If not, you can do the exercise from the ground.

  1. Grab a set of dumbbells and hold one in each hand. Choose a weight that you can press at least 8 times.
  2. Lie with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and slightly apart.
  3. Keeping your head on the floor or bench, begin the press by extending your arms over your chest, palms facing away from your face.
  4. Brace your midline by thinking about drawing your belly button into your spine.
  5. Slowly bend both elbows until they are parallel with the ground.
  6. Pause. Then repeat, pressing the weight overhead until both arms are fully extended.
  7. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

2. Dumbbell pec fly

Tell your ego to take a seat. The pec fly is *not* a movement that should be performed with heavy weight.

Unlike the chest press, which is primarily a strength movement, the pec fly is more of a stretch. When you try this exercise you’ll feel exactly what we mean.

With every rep, you’ll help ease the tightness in your pecs and front shoulder muscles.

Oh, and yes, you can do this move at home or the gym. All you need is some very lightweight dumbbells (or cans).

  1. Grab a set of light dumbbells and hold one in each hand.
  2. Lie on the floor or bench with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and slightly apart.
  3. Begin the fly by pressing your arms over your chest, palms facing each other, elbows slightly bent.
  4. Engage the core muscles by drawing your ribs down the body.
  5. Keeping elbows stiff, slowly lower the dumbbells in an arc motion to nipple height. You should feel a stretch in the chest muscles.
  6. Pause, then reverse the movement until your arms are extended. Squeeze the chest at the top of the movement.
  7. Do 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

3. Alternating dumbbell press

As you might guess, the alternating dumbbell press is the same as the dumbbell press except for the fact that you’re only moving one dumbbell at a time.

Single-limb movements like this, which call on one side to work at a time, require a tremendous amount of stability (read: midline engagement). As a result, in addition to working your chest, shoulders, and triceps, this movement also works your core.

In other words, you get a tremendous amount of bang for your buck.

You can do alternating dumbbell chest press move at home or in the gym. But if you’re doing it at the gym, use a bench for extra support.

  1. Grab a set of dumbbells and hold one in each hand, palms facing one another. Choose a weight that you can press at least 8 times.
  2. Lay with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor at hips width. Engage your midline.
  3. Extending your arms over your chest. Keeping the left dumbbell where it is, slowly lower the right dumbbell toward the chest until your elbow is at or just below parallel with the ground.
  4. Pause, then press the weight overhead until the right arm is fully extended and the right palm is facing the left palm.
  5. Repeat, this time moving your left time.
  6. Do 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, on each side.
Gif by Dima Bazak

4. Push-ups

Push-ups may be an easy exercise to hate, but they are one of the most versatile chest exercises out there. Not only can you perform them anywhere, but you can scale them to any strength level.

Plus, they strengthen your entire body all at once — with a special focus on your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.

You can also modify this move to better suit your current fitness level.

Rather than starting from a high plank position, try it on your knees. Just don’t forget to maintain that straight line from knee to head as you do. Or, start with pushups on the wall.

  1. Start on the floor in a high plank position, wrists stacked under shoulders.
  2. Press the ground away with your palms and brace your midline. Pull your shoulder blades away from your neck and down your back.
  3. Squeeze your quads, glutes, and core. Then lower yourself toward the floor by bending at elbows along your body.
  4. Lower down until your chest hovers about one to two inches from the floor. Pause, and exhale as you press your body back to the starting position.
  5. Do 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

5. Stability ball chest press

Ready to level up the dumbbell chest press with a challenging twist? Consider performing it on an exercise or stability ball.

In addition to targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps, the stability ball chest press also recruits your abdominal and gluteal muscles.

Important: Make sure to choose a stability ball that is appropriate for your height and provides enough support for your shoulders and upper back.

  1. Begin by holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Sit on the exercise ball and slowly walk your feet out in front of you. Keep walking until your upper back is in contact with the ball. Your arms should be at your sides and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  3. Straighten your arms until the dumbbells are above the chest, palms facing forward.
  4. Tighten your core and glutes and slowly lower the dumbbells until they are about chest level. Stop lowering before your arms touch the ball.
  5. Pause, then press the dumbbells up until your arms are fully extended.
  6. Do 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

6. Up-down plank

Try some up-down planks for an equipment-free chest pump.

This body-weight exercise is an excellent pec-pumper. If you do it long enough, it should also jack up your heart rate. Win-win.

Note: You can also do this exercise from your knees, like the aforementioned modified pushup position.

  1. Get into a forearm plank position, making sure you could make a straight line from heel to head.
  2. Tighten your core, look down, and slightly ahead. Lift your right arm to place the hand directly under the shoulder and straighten the right arm. Then do the same with your left hand until you are in a high plank position.
  3. Squeeze core and legs at the top. Then, reverse the movement by lowering the right elbow to the floor.
  4. Repeat on the left side until you are in the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 3 sets of 20 to 30 seconds, resting as needed between rounds.

7. Dumbbell pullover

The lying dumbbell pullover is an intermediate exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, back, and triceps. Quadruple win? Not too shabby.

In the top position of this move, you should feel a nice stretch in your upper back and chest.

  1. Grab a dumbbell with both hands, with your palms up like you’re cradling the head with both hands.
  2. Lie down on a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Fully extend your arms to the ceiling.
  4. Keeping the elbows stiff, lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  5. Pause, then reverse the movement by contracting your core and triceps and pull the dumbbell over your head to the starting position.
  6. Do 2 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

There isn’t one single factor that dictates breast size. The shape and size of your breasts is a combination of the below.

Genetics

Yep, research shows you can thank (or nag) your bloodline for your boob shape and size.

Body weight and body fat

Breasts are made up of fatty tissue, glandular tissue, and supportive tissue. But it’s the fatty tissue that largely determines the size of your breasts. So, if you put on body fat, you may see an increase in breast size.

Age

More specifically: whether you’re pre, peri, or postmenopausal.

Some data shows that 61 percent of people notice a change in breast size after menopause, while 20 percent notice a change in breast shape.

Pregnancy status

Did you know that enlarged breasts are one of the first signs of pregnancy? Yep. This is due to an increase in the hormone progesterone, which plays a key role during pregnancy

As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll also begin to secrete prolactin, a hormone that causes milk production and breast growth.

(That’s why if you choose to nurse, you may continue to notice a fullness in your breasts for months after giving birth).

Where you are in your menstrual cycle

Finally, those pesky hormones that fluctuate throughout the month can play a role in how full or swollen your breasts feel.

If you’re on hormone replacement therapy or taking hormonal birth control, you may notice that your breasts feel more tender and sore.

Summary

Genetics, hormones, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and weight gain can all impact breast size.

Good question! Diet alone will *not* impact your breast size.

But again, weight gain and body fat fluctuations can. So, if you gain weight, you may notice an increase in fatty tissue in your chest.

But you will likely notice that other parts of your body have grown in size too.

There are a number of alternative methods that claim to enlarge breasts.

These methods range from as common-place as push-up bras and self-massage, to as suspect as creams, pills, and pumps.

But do they work? It depends on the method.

Push-up bras

A push-up bra is a padded bra that’s designed to lift the chest tissue in such a way that your breasts appear larger when wearing the bra.

For many people, push-up bras do effectively give the appearance of larger breasts while they’re being utilized.

Push-up bras, however, do not actually change the shape of your chest. Take the bra off and your breasts will be the same size.

Self-massage

No, you cannot massage your breasts into becoming larger.

Sure, touching your tatas might feel good but it won’t lead to growth.

Pumps

No, we’re not talking about breast milk pumps.

We’re talking about pumps that claim to increase the size of your breasts. (Some of these are automatic and some are manual).

Manufacturers claim that these pumps promote blood flow to the chest tissue, which supports tissue growth, leading to larger breasts. (Many manufacturers claim an increase of 1 to 2 cup sizes within 3 months).

One (very very small!) study found these claims may not be far off. Researchers found that when 18 cisgender women wore pumps for 10 to 12 hours a day for 10 weeks they had long lasting size increases.

That said, user reviews vary from product to product. And healthcare professionals aren’t convinced that the growth is permanent or safe.

Creams and ointments

Search “breast enlargement cream” on Google and a number of over-the-counter (OTC) ointments, creams, and lotions will pop up.

Usually, these OTC options contain a combination of phytoestrogens (plant products that are said to mimic the effect of estrogen), aphrodisiacs, and adaptogens.

But there is no research that suggests these ingredients work. On the contrary, the very few studies that have been done on these herbal topicals say they don’t.

PSA: It’s important to note that OTC breast enlargement creams aren’t the same as gender-affirming estrogen hormone replacement therapy that’s applied topically. Prescription estrogen hormone replacement therapy can help someone grow breasts.

Natural remedies and lifestyle changes aren’t going to move the needle on your chest size.

If you want to improve pectoral strength, functions, and tone you can include chest-specific exercises in your overall fitness routine.

While increasing pectoral muscle strength and size isn’t going to significantly increase your breast size, exercising may help you feel more confident — including your confidence around your breasts.

Remember: At the end of the day, your breast size doesn’t determine your beauty or value.


Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.