Your friends might envy your voluptuous figure, but you know the reality, because sometimes those big girls of yours are a literal pain in the neck. Other times, they exacerbate an already aching back. Despite what they say on late night infomercials, fat and glands, not muscle, make up your breast tissue. Even the most effective chest exercises won't turn them into perky, upright citizens, but don't give up the fight against gravity. Chest and back exercises enhance muscle definition and body alignment which support your upper body and posture.
Gravity's forces don't need your help. Eventually, they'll send the girls south. Slouching simply hastens the inevitable. Postural correction creates an uplifted illusion. Mother Nature charged your core muscles with the task of stabilization. The plank exercise engages all of your stabilizers, including those surrounding your chest and shoulders. This exercise requires you to maintain the top of the pushup position -- weight on your hands and feet with your body straight as a plank -- without sagging your lower back or hunching your shoulders. Voluptuous gals find this easier said than done, but think of your breasts as added resistance, and remember: That which won't kill you makes you stronger.
Pushups and Rows
The plank prepares you for correct execution of the pushup, that chest exercise you love to hate. Although this exercise engages your chest, shoulders, triceps and core, your breasts can't live on pectoral exercises alone. Your upper-back muscles help maintain body alignment. Pushups and rows provide efficient multitasking. Place a set of dumbbells on the floor. Assume the pushup position, grasping each weight in each hand. Bend your elbows into a pushup, then straighten your arms. Next, row the dumbbell with one hand, by lifting the weight, bending your elbow and pointing it toward the ceiling. Lower the weight, then repeat the sequence, using the opposite arm.
Top Chest Exercises
In 2012, the American Council on Exercise performed a study to determine the most effective chest exercises. The barbell bench press took first place, followed by the pec deck machine. Barbell bench presses engage your pectoralis major, while the pec deck -- a chest fly exercise -- works your pectoralis major and minor. Both these exercises give the appearance of uplift and cleavage, but balance them out with upper-back exercises like the seated row and the lat pull-down.
There's something innately satisfying about the pullover exercise. It involves lying with your upper back on a bench, holding a dumbbell with both hands and carefully lowering it overhead. The exercise creates a sensation of all the muscles of your upper torso being pulled upward and inward like a zipper. It targets your pectoralis major as well as your latissimus dorsi, the muscles that run down the sides of your back. Perform this,and the other chest exercises three times a week and do three sets of 12 reps. Consult your doctor if you have any problems with your shoulder joints.
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.