Increasing breast size naturally, while intriguing, is not likely.

In reality, 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 genetics, lifestyle, hormones, body weight, and life stages like pregnancy.

That said, you can improve the size, strength, tone, and overall appearance of the pectoral muscles — which lie under your breasts — by performing chest-specific strength training exercises, like the ones listed below.

Here, we go over the ins and outs of breast size, such as what impacts it and how it can change, and share seven exercises you can do at home with weights or at the gym to build stronger, fuller chest muscles.

If breast enhancement surgery is not on your to-do list, you might be wondering whether there are natural ways to change your breast size.

Unfortunately, there are very few things you can do naturally that will increase the overall size of your breasts.

That said, exercising — especially strength training — can change the overall appearance of your chest muscles but will do little to increase your breast or cup size.

Summary

Natural breast enhancement or changing breast size naturally is not likely.

Unless you’ve had plastic surgery to enhance the size of your breasts, there’s no single factor that influences breast size.

Instead, the shape and size of your breasts is a combination of:

  • genetics
  • age
  • body weight
  • hormones
  • life situations, like pregnancy

Your breasts contain fatty tissue, glandular tissue, and supportive tissue. Fatty tissue is what largely determines the size of your breasts (1). So, if you gain weight and have a larger amount of fatty tissue, you may see an increase in breast size.

Another thing that impacts your breast size is age. Researchers from one study that looked at the relationship between breast size and aspects of health reported that, of the 269 participants aged 40 to 85, 61 percent noted an increase in breast size after menopause, while 20 percent stated a change in breast shape (2).

Unless you’re taking daily pregnancy tests, enlarged breasts may be one of the first signs that you’re pregnant. This is due to an increase in the hormone progesterone, which play a key role during pregnancy (3).

As your pregnancy progresses, you will begin to secrete prolactin, a hormone that causes milk production and breast growth (4). And, if you choose to breastfeed, you may continue to notice a fullness in your breasts for months after giving birth.

Data collected from an older questionnaire about breast changes after giving birth found that of the 559 people who replied, a decrease in breast size was reported in 21.8 percent, but an increase was reported in 31.5 percent (5).

Finally, those pesky hormones that fluctuate throughout the month can play a role in how full or swollen your breasts feel. Also, if you’re on hormone replacement therapy or taking hormonal birth control, you may notice that your breasts feel more tender and sore (6, 7, 8).

Summary

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

Diet alone will not impact your breast size. That said, if you gain weight due to consuming excess calories, you may notice an increase in fatty tissue in your chest, but you will also notice other parts of your body have grown in size too (9).

Summary

What you eat does not permanently impact breast size.

If strength training is part of your fitness routine, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed some positive changes to your overall muscle size and tone. That’s because strength training, especially with heavier weights, can cause muscles to grow (10).

And, if you’re incorporating chest-specific exercises like chest press, pullovers, and fly’s into your workouts, you’ll likely see changes in the shape and size of your pectoral muscles (aka chest muscles).

In some people, this may look like an increase in breast size, firmness, and fullness, but it’s just an increase in the pectoral muscles, which lie underneath the breasts (1).

Summary

Strength training exercises can help increase strength and size in your chest muscles.

Now that you know the difference between increasing pectoral size and breast size, it’s time to consider some exercises that can help you get stronger, fuller chest muscles.

Here are seven of the best moves you can do to help boost strength and improve the look of your pectorals.

Dumbbell chest press

The dumbbell chest press targets the pectorals, shoulders, and triceps. You can do this move at home or the gym.

When performing the dumbbell chest press at the gym, try to use a bench for extra support. At home, you can do the exercise while lying on the floor.

  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 on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and slightly apart. Or, use a bench.
  3. Begin the press by extending your arms over your chest, palms facing forward.
  4. Engage the core muscles and keep your head in contact with the floor.
  5. Slowly bend both elbows until they come into contact with the floor. Make sure the arms are tracking below shoulder height.
  6. Pause, then press the weight overhead until both arms are fully extended.
  7. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Dumbbell pec fly

Unlike the chest press, the pec fly is more of a shaping exercise and should not be performed with heavy weight. This move targets the pectorals and front shoulder. It also provides more of a stretch than the press. You can do this move at home or the gym.

  1. Grab a set of light dumbbells and hold one in each hand.
  2. Lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and slightly apart.
  3. Begin the fly by pressing your arms over your chest, with palms facing each other, elbows slightly bent.
  4. Engage the core muscles and keep your head in contact with the floor.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells in an arc motion until they are almost in line with the chest. Keep your elbows stiff so they do not bend more, and the movement comes from the shoulder. You will feel a stretch in the chest muscles.
  6. Pause, then reverse the movement until your arms are extended, and palms are facing each other. Squeeze the chest at the top of the movement.
  7. Do 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Alternating dumbbell press

The alternating dumbbell chest press targets the pectorals, shoulders, and triceps. It is a bit more challenging than the chest press since you only press one side at a time. This requires strict form and more stability.

You can do this move at home or in the gym. When performing the alternating dumbbell chest press at the gym, try to use a bench for extra support. At home, you can do the exercise while lying on the floor.

  1. Grab a set of dumbbells and hold one in each hand. Choose a weight that you can press at least 8 times.
  2. Lay on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and slightly apart.
  3. Begin the press by extending your arms over your chest, with palms facing each other.
  4. Engage the core muscles and keep your head in contact with the floor.
  5. Slowly lower the right arm until your elbow comes into contact with the floor. This will form a 45-degree angle. Keep the left arm extended.
  6. Pause, then press the weight overhead until the right arm is fully extended and the right palm is facing the left palm.
  7. Repeat on the left side and continue alternating.
  8. Do 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, on each side.

Pushups

Push-ups are one of the most versatile chest exercises since you can perform them anywhere. Plus, they are easy to modify. The push-up targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps. It also requires the core muscles to help stabilize and support your body throughout the movement.

  1. Start on the floor in a push-up or high plank position with your arms extended and hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your spine neutral and body in a straight line. If this exercise is too hard in a plank position, try it on your knees, maintaining a straight line from knee to head. Or, start with pushups on the wall.
  2. Tighten the core muscles and glutes, pull your shoulder blades down and back, and lower yourself towards the floor by bending your elbows. The elbows should track down from the shoulders around 45 degrees.
  3. Lower down until your chest hovers about one to two inches from the floor. Pause, then press your body back to the starting position. Exhaling during this movement may help make it easier.
  4. Do 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Stability ball chest press

Ready to add a challenging twist to the dumbbell chest press? Then 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. 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 will 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. Your head, rear shoulders, and triceps will be in resting on the ball. 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.

Up-down plank

If you want a calorie crusher, total body shaper, and an excellent chest workout, then try the up-down plank. This bodyweight-only exercise will boost your heart rate and increase upper body strength.

  1. Get into a forearm plank position. Make sure your spine is neutral, and your body is in a straight line.
  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, and then the left until you are in a high plank position.
  3. Pause for a second, then reverse the movement by lowering the right elbow to the floor. Repeat on the left side until you are in the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 20 to 30 seconds.

Aim to complete 2–3 sets of at least 8 repetitions. If that is too challenging, you may do this exercise on your knees, like a modified pushup position.

Dumbbell pullover

The lying dumbbell pullover is an intermediate exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, back, and triceps. In the top position of this move, you will feel a nice stretch in your upper back and chest. For best results, perform this exercise on a flat bench.

  1. Grab a dumbbell with both hands.
  2. Lie down on a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Hold the inner bar of the dumbbell with both hands. It will feel like you are cradling or holding the weight in your hands.
  4. Fully extend your arms to the ceiling.
  5. Keeping the elbows unlocked and slightly bent, lower the dumbbell behind your head, keeping the elbows stiff. Contract your core, back, and chest muscles. Your shoulders will roll back, elbows will be next to your head, and the dumbbell will be pointing down to the floor. Aim to keep your ribs connected and mid back on the bench.
  6. Pause, then reverse the movement by contracting your core and triceps and pull the dumbbell over your head to the starting position.
  7. Do 2 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.
Summary

Chest-specific bodyweight and strength training exercises like push-ups and the dumbbell chest press can improve pectoral strength and size.

If you’re looking to increase your breast size, natural remedies and lifestyle changes will not do the job. But if you want to improve pectoral strength, functions, and tone, including chest-specific exercises in your overall fitness routine can make a difference.

Also, pay attention to any weight changes or hormonal shifts, as these can contribute to how your breasts look and feel. But even still, at the end of the day, your breast size does not determine your beauty or value. By exercising and taking care of your body, you’ll notice your confidence and vitality are better than ever.