“Man boobs” can be an enlargement of breast tissue due to hormone changes that result in gynecomastia—a condition that occurs most frequently during puberty and the aging process. Or, an increase in total body fat may cause enlarged pectoral fat stores; this is often called “pseudo-gynecomastia.”
Both conditions are common and generally nothing to worry about, often resolving on their own as hormone levels normalize. But if an increase in chest size due to increased fat stores has led to self-consciousness or embarrassment, reducing total body fat percentage through a combination of diet and exercise can help you get rid of “man boobs.”
In some instances, gynecomastia is a sign of other conditions. If you’re concerned, or if you’re experiencing other symptoms like swelling, pain, or nipple discharge, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
How to Get Rid of Chest Fat (Colloquially Known as “Man Boobs”)
“Spot reduction,” or selecting where on your body to try to lose fat, isn’t really possible. So cranking out bench presses in the hopes of reducing fat in your chest isn’t the best approach. While bench presses can help build muscle mass in your pecs, exercise that only focuses on your chest is unlikely to speed metabolism enough to garner significant fat loss.
Your best bet is to follow a total-body workout routine that hits all your major muscle groups, combining strength training with cardiovascular exercise. This approach helps speed your metabolism during and following exercise while simultaneously building muscle mass.
The one-two punch of fat loss and muscle gain garners the most visible and lasting results. As you lose fat throughout your body, you’ll notice changes in the size and shape of your chest.
To get rid of man boobs, or chest fat, you will need to reduce fat all over you body using consistent exercise and proper nutrition. To lose fat, you will need to eat fewer calories than you burn over time, which you can do through a combination of strength training, cardio, and eating a bit less than you would to maintain weight.
Remember, consistency is key. Your fat stores didn’t grow overnight, so you can’t expect fat loss to occur at the drop of a hat. Make a commitment to perform the following workout at least three days a week for two to four months before gauging your initial results.
As you develop your workout habit, remember that nutrition is a vital component of fat loss. Focus on eating lots of produce, lean meats, and whole grains while avoiding refined or processed foods. With consistent work toward an overall healthy lifestyle, you’ll see the results you’re hoping for.
Perform this circuit workout by completing all eight exercises back-to-back, resting for 2 minutes, then repeating the circuit two to four times. Rest as little as possible between exercises. The total workout should take between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on how many rounds you do and how long it takes you to move between exercises.
- Medicine ball (preferably a wall ball-style medicine ball)
We’ve tried, tested, and reviewed the best dumbbells. If you’re in the market for dumbbells, explore which option may be best for you.
Time: 60 seconds
Start your routine by performing jumping jacks. This equipment-free move will raise your heart rate and help you warm up for the rest of your workout.
Simply stand with your feet together, hands at your sides. Jump your feet out laterally while simultaneously swinging your arms overhead. Immediately after landing, jump your feet back to center while bringing your arms back to your sides.
If excess body weight or injuries prevent you from comfortably performing a traditional jumping jack, modify the exercise by stepping your right foot out to the side as you swing your arms overhead, then step it back to center as you swing your arms back to your sides.
Repeat with the left leg and continue this pattern for 60 seconds.
Medicine Ball Passes
Time: 60 seconds
This exercise will target your entire body, with a focus on the large muscle groups of your quads (thighs), hamstrings, glutes (butt), chest, shoulders, and core.
Stand about an arm’s length away from a sturdy wall, holding a medicine ball in both hands, supported at your chest. Press your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your glutes toward the ground.
When you’ve squatted as low as you can, reverse the movement, pressing forcefully through your heels to extend your knees and hips. As you do so, explosively throw the medicine ball as high as you can against the wall.
As the medicine ball comes down, catch it with both hands, secure it back at your chest, and immediately lower yourself into another squat to continue.
Time: 60 seconds
The renegade row targets the large muscle groups of your back and biceps while also requiring the engagement of the core, quadriceps, shoulders, and triceps.
Start in a high plank position with your body forming a straight line from heels to head, and your hands directly under your shoulders. Grip a dumbbell in each hand.
From this position, shift your weight slightly to the right while keeping your torso squared to the ground. Pull the dumbbell in your left hand straight up toward your chest while keeping your arm close to your body—your elbow should point up toward the ceiling.
Lower the dumbbell back to the ground in a controlled fashion, then switch sides, this time shifting your weight to the left before pulling the dumbbell in your right hand to your torso. Continue alternating sides while keeping your hips, shoulders, and torso as steady as possible.
If you’re having a hard time completing the exercise for a full 60 seconds in the plank position, lower your knees to the ground.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Chest Presses
Time: 30 seconds per arm
The single-arm dumbbell chest press targets your pecs, shoulders, and triceps unilaterally, while also requiring core engagement to prevent your hips or shoulders from twisting during the exercise.
Lie on your back on a sturdy bench with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Position a dumbbell in your right hand, your arm extended directly over your chest. Place your left hand lightly on your left hip as a reminder to keep that hip stable and engaged with the bench.
In a controlled fashion, bend your right elbow, lowering the dumbbell toward your chest. When the dumbbell is an inch or two away from your chest, reverse the movement and engage your pecs and triceps to press the dumbbell straight up, back to the starting position.
Continue for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Time: 60 seconds
Mountain climbers offer another burst of cardio in the middle of your circuit to keep your heart rate high. The body position also requires continued engagement of the chest, shoulders, and triceps, which is especially challenging after completing a strength exercise targeting the same muscle groups.
Start in a high plank position, palms under the shoulders, legs extended, and core engaged to keep the hips level. Draw your right knee toward your chest, and plant your right foot on the ground, as if you were about to take off in a sprint.
From this position, jump both feet into the air, switching their positions before you land so your left foot is drawn forward and your right foot is extended. Immediately jump both feet into the air again and switch their position. Continue this pattern for the duration of the exercise.
Start in a high plank position, legs extended. Draw your right knee forward, touching your right foot to the ground before immediately extending your right leg again, planting it in the original plank position.
Switch sides, this time drawing your left knee forward and tapping your left foot on the ground. Continue alternating sides for the duration of the exercise.
Overhead Walking Lunges
Time: 60 seconds
The overhead walking lunge hits the major muscles of your lower body—your hamstrings, quads, and glutes—while simultaneously challenging your shoulders and core.
Hold a medicine ball between both hands and extend it directly overhead. Step forward with your right foot, planting it a couple feet in front of your left foot. Engage your core to keep your torso tall and bend both knees, lowering your left knee toward the floor.
Just before your knee touches down, press through your right foot and rise to standing as you propel your left foot forward, taking a step in front of your right. Repeat the lunge and continue the exercise, stepping forward with the opposite foot with each consecutive repetition.
Time: 60 seconds
You’ve already targeted your chest, triceps, shoulders, and core throughout this routine, so expect to really burn out these muscle groups with a series of push-ups. Drop your knees to the ground or move to a wall to decrease the difficulty of the exercise.
Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders, but slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight and your torso steady, bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor.
When your chest touches the ground, reverse the movement, pressing through your palms as you extend your elbows, returning to the high plank position. Continue the exercise, switching to a modified version as needed to complete the set.
Medicine Ball Rainbow Slams
Time: 60 seconds
For a final core-focused exercise that also challenges the entire upper body, grab a medicine ball for a series of rainbow slams. If possible, use a medicine ball without much bounce, like a wall ball.
Kneel on the ground on a mat and hold a medicine ball between both hands at your chest. Lift the ball up over your head and twist your torso slightly to the right, drawing the medicine ball to your right side as you forcefully use your arms and core (particularly your obliques) to slam the ball down on the ground to the outside of your right knee.
Pick the ball up with both hands, lift it up and over your head, this time twisting your torso to the left before using your core and upper body to slam the ball down to the outside of your left knee. Continue alternating sides for the duration of the exercise.