How to Get Rid of Moobs – Gynaecomastia Explained


Keep your chest flab-free with these man boob reducing tips and our pec muscle promoting workout

Sam Rider
20 Jul 2016

The rise of the dadbod has done nothing to quell man’s deepest insecurities. According to the Belvedere Clinic, which specializes in cosmetic surgery, 47% of men in the UK hate the appearance of their chests and there was a 44% increase between 2007 and 2011 in the number of men opting to go under the knife to tackle the problem.

But before you resort to extreme measures, it’s important to understand those unflattering chest-bulges aren’t just caused by fat or an incurable, inherited condition. Gynaecomastia – also cruelly known as man-boobs or moobs – is usually caused by a hormone imbalance and, according to the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, it affects half of all men. That’s a good thing, because you can quickly – within a few weeks of determined effort – restore hormonal order with these pec-perfecting tips and our moob-banishing workout.

1. Fix your posture

Don’t let your posture take a back seat when it comes to managing your moobs. Working your back and core muscles goes a long way to creating a good posture and helping you to stand up straight. Include seated rows, lat pull-downs or overhand-grip pull-ups and good mornings in your weekly workouts to bolster your often-neglected back muscles. And with your posture, don’t think about pulling your shoulder blades back – this just creates unnecessary tension in your thoracic spine. Instead, keep your chest up by breathing deeply to fill your lungs and stand up straight. Keep this in mind to avoid slouching and exaggerating the sag of your pecs. Combining this with strengthening the surrounding muscles and you’ll not only set your metabolism roaring into action – you’ll improve your stature and overall physique, too.

2. Sprint in Bursts

Fat stored in your body can play havoc with your hormones. According to research in the International Journal Of Andrology, adipose tissue causes muscle-building testosterone to convert into moob-growing oestrogen, causing fat to lurk unflatteringly on your chest. The urgent fix is to reduce your body fat to a healthy target – aim to get it under 22%. Three weekly HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions will kick-start your metabolism to burn surplus calories. At the end of your workout, alternate going flat-out and slow in 30-second bursts for 15 minutes on a bike or rower. If your T-shirt’s soaked in sweat at the end, that’s a sign those moobs will soon melt away.

3. Lift Heavy

Reducing fat to restrict oestrogen will shrink your moobs – and building muscle will hike up testosterone to continue the job. And the key is the heavier, the better. Research in the European Journal Of Applied Physiology And Occupational Physiology found “heavy resistance exercise” has the greatest T-level payoff. Endless cable chest flyes won’t alter the appearance of your pecs unless you’ve already got the body fat levels of a cover model. Instead, concentrate on compound lifts, especially the deadlift, squat, overhead press and bench press. Start each workout with one of them. Do five sets of five, aiming to lift 75% of your one-rep max.

RECOMMENDED: The Chest and Back Workout for a V-shaped Torso

4. Don’t Starve

Restricting food intake can undo your testosterone-boosting efforts and even induce a rebounding effect called “refeeding gynaecomastia”. The first reported case was during the Second World War when prisoners liberated from camps returned to a normal diet after weeks of malnutrition. It’s an extreme case but highlights the risks that can result from following an unsustainable diet. Instead make smart swaps, such as replacing a glass of fruit juice with a piece of fruit for a vitamin-rich hit of sweetness with all the benefits of fibre intact.

5. Sleep Clean

Poor sleep quality is a leading cause of both weight gain and testosterone depletion. Andrew Shanahan, founder of, believes cleaning up his sleeping habits was a key reason he was able to lose over 30kg and banish his moobs permanently. “The day after a bad sleep your levels of the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for hunger, shoot up,” says Shanahan. This means you’re likely to make poor food choices the next day. “Fix this by ensuring your bedroom is clean, uncluttered and comfortable.” Use an eye mask and earplugs if necessary.

6. Watch your Spirits

Alcohol is a prime culprit in moob production. Not only is it packed with empty calories, but research published in the Journal Of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeutics found it can suppress levels of testosterone in your body – regardless of your choice of tipple. A boozy session can undermine your efforts to tick off all of the above, so save it for worthy occasions – and don’t let that unwanted cleavage drive you to drink.

The Moob-Banishing Workout

Shift stubborn body fat, boost moob-inhibiting testosterone and build muscle with this total body workout from transformation specialist Rich Phillipps.

1A Deadlift

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 90sec

Hold the bar with hands shoulder-width apart. Start with your arms straight and knees slightly bent. Keeping your chest up and your back straight, drive down through your heels and pull the bar up your legs, pushing your hips forwards to stand tall.

1B Dumbbell bench press

SetsReps 12 Rest 90sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding dumbbells with an overhand grip either side of your chest. Drive your feet hard into the floor and press the weights straight up, then lower them slowly to the start position.

2A Reverse lunge

SetsReps 12 Rest 60sec

Holding dumbbells in each hand, take a big step backwards, being sure you have your balance before lowering your back knee until it is just off the floor. Keep your back upright and your front knee in line with your front foot. Return to the start and repeat, alternating legs.

2B Military press

SetsReps 12 Rest 60sec

Stand with your feet together holding the bar level with your shoulders. Brace your core and glutes to keep your balance and press the weights straight up so your biceps are close to your ears, then lower to the start.

3A Goblet squat

SetsReps 20 Rest 45sec

Hold the weight by the bell with the handle pointing down. Keep your chest up and knees wide as you lower into a squat until your elbows touch your legs, then drive back up to stand. 

3B One-arm row

SetsReps 12 Rest 45sec

Support your knee on the bench with the other leg planted wide for balance. Keep a natural arch in your back and your core braced. Keeping your elbow tucked in, lift the weight to the side of your chest. Pause and return slowly. Complete all reps on one side, then the other.

4A Good morning

SetsReps 12 Rest 90sec

Stand holding a barbell on the back of your shoulders, not your neck. Slowly bend forwards at your hips, keeping your legs and back straight. Bend until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then rise back to the start.

4B Kettlebell swing

SetsReps 12 Rest 90sec

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and push the kettlebell off your body to start the swing. As you lower, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward, allowing the kettlebell to rise to head height.