What Causes Man Boobs and 7 Exercises To Vanish Them

Man Boobs - SimplyLeaner
Man Boobs - SimplyLeaner

How would you know if you have gynecomastia or man boobs?

Gynecomastia is one of those health conditions connected to the imbalance of estrogen and testosterone hormones. It affects the tissue mass beneath the breast causing the nipples to protrude. Some male children are born with the condition and outgrow it; while older males develop it as they mature.

Excess fat building up in chest tissue due to overweight or obesity is a condition known as pseudogynecomastia, sometimes confused with gynecomastia. For men accumulating fat in other body areas, the chest gets its share and at some point, it becomes more noticeable.

If you’re over the age of puberty, but under the age of 50 years, the cause may be linked to lifestyle.

Lifestyle choices with an overabundance of alcohol and a poor diet, deprives the body of necessary nutrition, changing the hormone levels, triggering gynecomastia.

Herbal devotees should be aware that some food and personal products have been associated with increased estrogen levels, responsible for developing female characteristics, like breasts.

Bodybuilding enthusiasts taking steroids can instigate the growth of breast tissue. Existing health treatments and medications may initiate man boobs (moobs). If the condition is due to an existing health problem, you need to see your doctor.

What Causes Man Boobs?

At birth, your mom’s estrogen has dominance, blocking the production of the testosterone hormone. As mature adults, steroids are the most common cause of moobs, the body converts steroids into estrogen; prompting the development of breast tissue.

For some, these are the common biological responses, causing the appearance of breasts. Other men experience predominant swelling of the nipples supporting more breast tissue, creating a full breast effect.

Bodybuilders bulking up for an event using steroids may not realize the after effects. Unfortunately, the breast tissue doesn’t disappear just because you stopped taking steroids, it causes a lingering problem.

Although particular foods may not be the primary cause, eating them could worsen the condition by lessening your testosterone levels. Pay attention to what and how much you put into your body to keep your hormones balanced.

  • Soy plants have estrogens called phytoestrogens.  Soy is in tofu, milk and edamame. 
  • Drinking beer interferes with the liver’s extraction of excess estrogen.
  • Licorice flavor comes from its glycyrrhizic acid – it suppresses the body’s testosterone production.
  • Beets are nutritious; they also support healthy estrogen production. Eating an excess amount can upset the balance of testosterone levels.

What To Eat

Diets fueled with nutritional foods to help support the balance and production of testosterone for men can prevent this condition. These food sources contain zinc and vitamin D, both known to boost the production of testosterone.

  • Dairy products – raw milk, yogurt and cheese
  • High protein – meat, poultry and fish
  • Beans – lentils, chickpeas or garbanzo

Life choices between what you consume in calories to social activities including drugs like marijuana are contributors to gynecomastia.  The THC in cannabis is a testosterone suppressant, encouraging higher levels of estrogen production; reducing the existing testosterone concentrations. High-calorie consumption increases your body fat and weight.

7 Exercises To Get Rid of Man Boobs

The goal is to keep the existing muscle not to build muscle mass. Remember, your metabolism is a key participant in how your body processes the needed energy, generated from the stored fat. Stick to a high protein, low carb and low-fat diet, while you are working out. No crash dieting, you need the healthy calories to reverse the fat buildup and increase the burn.

Start with a basic cardio to warm up your body before moving onto these exercises. Focus on the movement of each workout is essential, the results don’t happen by just pulling or lifting —without attention during the workout, you could strain the muscle or worse injure yourself. The good news, since lean muscle occupies less body space, you will notice the physical change in the chest.

Standing Cable Pull

Cable workouts are as versatile as weights for beginning or experienced routines.  Keep an upright posture throughout the exercise. You can change the weight towards the end of the workout session as a cooling off phase. Focus on each movement using the chest muscles not your arms to carrying the load.

The cable pulleys are behind you – make sure you work the angles. As you pull the cable towards you, your arms should form a 45-degree angle in front of you. Control the release of the cable back to the starting position.

Incline Cable Pull

The emphasis is on the movement to burn the fat without straining or damaging the muscle. Start slow with a low frequency using a specific movement at least once a week, later increase the frequency to three or more times a week.

The cable pull is on each side of the bench for easy access. Pull the cable to the front of you and concentrate on squeezing your pecs during the pull and relaxing them at the same time you release the cable.

PushUps - SimplyLeaner
PushUps – SimplyLeaner


Combining both regular and declining pushups along with a healthy diet targets the pectoralis major located under the fatty breast tissue is the mission. The differences between the two workouts are the positioning of your feet. Regular pushups, your feet are on the level ground; declining pushups, your feet are higher than your shoulders.

Keep your back straight for both; use your toes for body balance and your forearms to support the body weight. Slowly push up holding for a count of 10 before lowering your body. You will notice your chest muscles tighten.

Barbell Bench Press

This is not a competition—choose the weights you are comfortable with before starting this routine, you can always add more weight later. Lying face up with your back on the bench, starting from the chest, raise the weights upward, hold for a count of 10.  

With the same speed, bring the weights back to your chest. This is a good repetitive workout to reduce the fatty breast tissue and shape your chest with lean muscle.

Decline Barbell Bench Press

This bench exercise is another chest workout using the pecs and the surrounding muscles. Lower the bench back so your head and shoulders point downward. Start with the lighter weights lifting them from the chest upward, hold and return to the chest position.

In the beginning do at least 6 to 8 repetitions, building up to 10. Make sure your movements are controlled and smooth, working the chest muscles to prevent straining your neck, shoulder or arms.

Dumbbell Pullover

Dumbbell pullover is another upper chest exercise to strengthen and trim the fat. Whether you’re new to weight training or not, always have a spotter working with you and make sure the weights are secured.

Place your shoulders at the top of the bench, it allows your head and neck to bend. Set your feet firmly on the ground and grip the weight with your hands supporting the upper weight.

Raise your arms to a 45-degree angle over your chest and slowly move the weight over your head, bending your elbows without allowing the lower weight to touch the ground. Bring your arms back to the starting position.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Lower the bench back to a level 3 on the bench gauge. This routine is about balance, do not let your shoulder carry the burden and keep the weights balanced while lifting up and down. The exercise centers on a straight upward movement using your chest muscles and forearms to support the weights.

Make sure your back is completely flat and lift the weights extending your arms so they are level with your chest. Breathe in and raise your arm and the weights straight up without twisting or pulling your shoulders. Exhale and lower the weights back to chest level.