Gynecomastia, sometimes known as male breasts or “moobs,” is a condition where people with a penis grow breast tissue. It’s one of several conditions that can cause men to appear like they have breasts. True gynecomastia is rare since most men have an appropriate balance of sex hormones to inhibit breast growth.
However, having an excess amount of fat on the chest can cause the pectoral area to look like breasts are forming. There are several exercises that can help reduce the appearance of both true and false gynecomastia.
Exercises to Help Gynecomastia
It’s not possible to specifically target an area for fat loss. As a result, there are two main types of exercises to reduce the appearance of gynecomastia: cardio exercises to help burn general body fat, and chest exercises to help increase the size of the pectoral muscles. This helps reduce the amount of fat on the chest while helping build muscle to fill out any resulting loose skin.
Walking and Running
The simplest and easiest way to reduce body fat through exercise is to incorporate more running and walking into your daily routine. Both walking and running regularly can help reduce your body mass index (BMI), especially if done regularly. Running is slightly better for reducing your BMI, since you can burn more energy more quickly, but if walking is all you feel comfortable doing, it will still be effective.
Using a rowing machine is a full-body workout that heavily involves your arms and chest. The pulling motion of the rowing machine helps strengthen a variety of muscles in the chest and back while effectively burning body fat. Rowing machines also increase general muscle coordinate and joint strength.
Swimming is a low-impact form of cardio that also involves your arms and chest muscles. It’s a great exercise for building up your cardiovascular exercise, and there are a number of different strokes that allow you to customize your swimming experience. Focusing on using your arms while swimming can help emphasize the amount of work your pectoral muscles are doing, helping you both burn fat and improve the appearance of your chest.
The bench press is one of the most common activities to help build pectoral muscles.
Step 1: Lie on a weight bench with the barbell suspended over you so you are looking up at the bar.
Step 2: Place your hands on the bar about two to three feet apart.
Step 3: Squeeze your shoulder blades, then straighten your arms, lifting the bar off the rack.
Step 4: Slowly lower the bar until it’s just about to brush your chest.
Step 5: Raise the bar again until your arms are straight.
You can aim for ten repetitions per set, with three to five sets per workout. Increase the weight of the barbell as it stops feeling challenging to complete a set.
If you don’t have access to a barbell, push-ups are a simple bodyweight exercise for strengthening your chest muscles.
Step 1: Lie flat on your stomach with your hands on the ground, just to the side of your shoulders.
Step 2: Push your body up off the ground until your arms are straight, with either your knees or your toes on the ground. Keep your back and legs as straight as possible.
Step 3: Lower yourself until your elbows are bent 90 degrees, then repeat.
You can also modify push-ups by doing them against a wall or counter. Do the same motion, but with your body at an angle instead of horizontal.
Bent-Forward Cable Crossover
If you have access to a gym, bent-forward cable crossovers are a great way to activate your pectoral muscles specifically.
Step 1: Standing in the cable crossover machine, place your feet hip-width apart and hold a cable handle in either hand. Full extend your arms, so the cables are still hanging straight down.
Step 2: Stagger your feet, so one foot is in front of you and the other is behind you, and bend your knees.
Step 3: Slowly bring your hands together in a smooth arc, leaving your arms extended.
Step 4: Slowly return your arms to the start position.
Aim to repeat this ten times, for two to three sets per workout. The last repetition should feel difficult.
It’s important to start working out slowly, instead of jumping right in. Attempting to run too long or lift something too heavy can lead to injuries, stopping your workout before it’s begun. Be careful and pay attention to your body, and stop any exercise if it feels painful.