Pregnancy and childbirth causes many physical changes to a woman's body. For many mothers, the breasts suffer the most drastic changes. Hormonal changes cause the breasts to start increasing in size after the first eight weeks of pregnancy, sometimes up to two cup sizes larger. After childbirth and/or breastfeeding, the breasts often decrease in size and volume, leaving a mother with droopy or saggy breasts. There are exercises that can be done to target the pectoral muscles, the muscles of the upper part of the chest that underlay the breast tissue and move the arm across the body, raise some of the ribs and move the shoulders. Strong, toned pecs lift the breasts and make them firmer and look larger.
To do the pectoral press, lie flat on your back, bend your knees, and outstretch your arms to each side. With 3- to 5-pound weights in each hand, slowly bring your arms together, hold for one second and then slowly lower your arms again to your sides. Start at a lower set of repetitions and sets until you build up to three sets with 10 to 12 reps every other day.
To complete the butterfly press, you need two 3- to 5-pound weights and a chair. Sit on the edge of the chair, straighten your back and let your arms rest at your sides. Slowly raise your arms out to the side until they are at shoulder level. Hold this position for four or five counts, and then slowly return your arms to starting position. Work your way up to three sets of five to seven repetitions every other day.
The inverted push-up requires no equipment. Start by standing with your legs 2 to 3 feet from a wall. Place your palms on the wall. Slowly lower your chest to the wall by bending your elbows and then slowly push your body back to the starting position. Repeat this exercises 10 to 12 times, depending on your ability.
Standing Chest Stretch
According to WebMD author Barbara Sarnataro, stretching is an important component of a comprehensive strength-training program. Each workout session should be completed with stretches of the muscles that have been worked. Start the standing chest stretch by standing with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward and your arms at your sides. Stiffen your abdominal muscles and then pull your shoulders down and back, without arching your lower back. To complete the stretch, exhale, slightly lift your chest up and out while rotating the shoulders outward and drawing your shoulder blades together and back. Hold for shoulders for 15 to 30 seconds. Do two to four repetitions.
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