Breasts are appealing bags of dense, fibrous tissue, glands and milk ducts, supporting ligaments, and even muscle. Factors -- most out of your control -- play into how your breasts develop and behave throughout your life. Genetics, motherhood and, yes, weight gain and loss contribute to the saggy-split breast phenomena. Exercising your pecs won't rebuild breast tissue, but it can give the illusion of a perkier, tighter bosom, just check with a doctor first.
Focus on your pecs -- both the pectoralis major and minor. As a woman, you can't see your pecs because your breasts blanket these muscles. When the muscles are firm, they boost the breast tissue, giving them a natural lift. Target the pecs with stability ball chest presses. Grab a stability ball, or exercise ball, and a pair of hand weights or dumbbells. Start with a weight that's heavy enough to tire your pecs by the eighth to tenth rep. Chest presses work the pecs and supporting muscles, like the triceps and traps. Sit on the ball. Slide down until only your upper back, shoulders and head rest on the ball. Place your feet flat on the floor and, with knuckles facing out, hold a pair of weights beside your chest. Lift your arms straight up, keeping the weights shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms, but don't lock your elbows. Lower your arms, bending at the elbows to finish a rep.
With the plentitude of bosom-boosting exercises -- flyes and exercise band crossovers and pullovers to name a few -- overdoing chest exercises can cause muscle fatigue. Instead of firmer breasts and cleavage to-die-for, you'll be left sore and frustrated. Set up a balanced strength program, reaching for the heaviest weight you can handle and aim for eight to 10 reps and a low number of sets. Stick with one set and add another as your muscles adjust. Less is more. Schedule in two to three days of strength training and stretch the pecs, traps and lats to loosen the muscles and reduce post-workout soreness.
Get yourself a range of exercise bands or resistance tubes in lieu of weights. Bands and tubes are cheaper and portable, and come in different resistances. Unlike dumbbells, you can tote several strengths for a workout on the go. They can double as cables and won't injure your feet when they fall. Use filled bottles as stand-in weights for exercises requiring the real thing. Or stick with no-equipment exercises like pushups. Always stretch your chest, back and shoulders for five to 10 minutes before and after to avoid injury.
Don't neglect the shoulders and arms. Licensed physical therapy assistant Lori Incledon suggests an overall shoulder, back and chest routine to make your breasts closer and perkier. According to Incledon, over working your pecs creates an imbalance in both the chest and shoulder muscles. Add poor posture -- the bane of office workers everywhere -- and you may experience the saggy-split breast phenomena. Work your chest, upper back and shoulders together, Incledon advises.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.