When you’re trying to fix a saggy chest, the best place to begin is usually to try and figure out why things are saggy in the first place. Usually when people talk about casually fixing a sagging chest, they’re referring to men whose chests are normally flat, not women whose breasts are losing their elasticity. Female breast concerns are usually wholly separate. For men, though, sags and droops can be caused by a number of things, including excess weight, poor diet, and hormonal imbalance. Starting with a targeted exercise plan is often the most helpful. Focusing on weightlifting and strengthening the muscles of the upper arms and torso can tighten things up pretty quickly, and trying to lose weight and focusing on healthful eating is also usually advantageous. If these strategies don’t work and you’re concerned about the sags, it’s often a good idea to get a medical opinion since there may be a larger chemical problem going on. Certain medical conditions can cause skin swellings and sags, and in most cases these can only be treated with pharmaceutical drugs and, in extreme cases, surgery.
Uncover the Cause
As with so many sorts of problems, it’s often hard to find a solution before you’ve been able to nail down the cause. Knowing the why will often help you find a more effective fix, and can save you time and frustration, too. One reason for a drooping or flabby chest is age. A sagging male chest is a normal part of the aging process. Muscles lose mass, skin loses elasticity, and loose skin often appears in the chest area as a result. Men who have lost a great deal of weight, too, often have a saggy chest because the skin had been stretched over a heavier frame, particularly if the underlying muscles weren’t developed to their full potential.
Flabby chests also can be the result of obesity — not only in men but in women as well. A body that is heavy with excess fat is prone to sagging and, in turn, an overweight person is less likely to work to firm and tone her or her underlying muscles. There are cases, however, when a saggy chest might not be a fitness issue but rather a medical one. Gynecomastia is a medical condition that is manifested by the swelling or enlargement of breast tissue in men or boys. It is caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone, particularly in young males who are going through puberty or in older men who are going through the natural hormonal changes of aging. This sort of problem almost always requires medical intervention, though in some cases it will go away on its own with time.
Men often choose to start with specific chest-strengthening exercises, and these will get results in most cases. They may not completely fix the problem, particularly not at first, but they usually give some encouragement that progress is at least being made. Exercises are also usually very simple, and don’t require much in the way of time or equipment. Long-term commitment is usually the most important thing.
Bench presses, for example, are an excellent weightlifting exercise for firming and building the pectoral muscles, which are the muscles of the chest. Dumbbell flys are a great counterpoint to the muscle-building bench press because they serve to stretch out the pectoral muscles, or to elasticize them. Lateral rows work not only the chest muscles but also the upper and lower back. Finally, the basic push-up is also very effective for many people.
Experts usually recommend that men start slowly, then build up their repetitions and do the exercises approximately every other day, so that the muscles have a chance to heal in between workout sessions. Doing something like jogging, walking, or other cardiovascular training on the alternate days can be a good way to improve overall health and fitness, but many say that taking a break is also just fine.
Weight Loss Concerns
Continuous exercise may be of more importance for those combating obesity or excessive weight around the chest and arms. The four main chest-firming exercises will benefit overweight individuals, but true success is rare without a pattern of sustained aerobic exercise and a healthy nutritional program, too. A regular routine of resistance training, aerobic exercise and a new nutritional regimen is usually the way to go, but for safety’s sake most medical and nutritional experts say that this should only be done under a physician’s supervision and, ideally, also with the guidance of a certified fitness instructor.
There are cases when a saggy chest might not be a fitness issue but a medical one, as is the case with gynecomastia. Men and boys who are suffering from this condition aren’t usually able to combat their chest sags with exercise, and may need a series of hormonal drugs to reverse the growths. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe medications that are used in the treatment of breast cancer, such as raloxifene or tamoxifen; regular hormone injections can also help reverse the growth. A lot depends on how advanced the condition is.
Surgery is usually considered an extreme option. Men who are suffering from ordinary, age or weight-related droops aren’t likely to be good surgical candidates, since in these cases the risks typically outweigh the benefits. Some doctors will perform skin lifts for cosmetic reasons, but exercise and more natural attempts must usually be made first.
In advanced cases of gynecomastia and other related hormone imbalances, though, surgery may be the only way to remove the growths that are causing the sags. Two types of surgery are used to treat persistent gynecomastia: liposuction and mastectomy. In liposuction, the breast fat is removed, and in mastectomy, the tissue of the breast gland is removed. Both are considered extreme and are usually used only when absolutely necessary.