Build a Bigger, Stronger Chest With These Resistance Band Exercises
When you hear “resistance band workout,” a set of jacked pectoral muscles may not be the first image that comes to mind. But resistance band chest exercises — even those that utilize the smallest “mini” band — can effectively build strength and mass in the chest muscles. And, because you can do resistance band chest exercises with minimal equipment and limited space, they’re perfect for people who work out at home.
To get the most out of resistance band chest exercises, you need to know which type of band to use for each movement, where to position the band, and, in some cases, how to leverage your bodyweight. The following resistance band chest exercises will teach you how to use bands to get your desired results.
1. Wide Narrow Push-Up
- Slip a mini band around both wrists and assume a plank position with your hands a few inches wider than shoulder-width. (To make the movement easier, lower your knees to the floor.)
- Keeping your core engaged, your elbows tucked in, and your head in line with your spine, lower your chest to within a few inches of the floor.
- Push back up to a plank position. Lift your right palm and move it toward your midline, placing it directly underneath your shoulder. Do the same with your left hand, narrowing your hand position.
- Now, with your hands shoulder-width apart, perform a second push-up: lower your chest to within a few inches of the floor, then push back up to a plank position.
2. Banded Bear Crawl
- Slip a mini band around both wrists. Get on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees bent 90 degrees below your hips and hovering a few inches above the ground. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your back flat and core engaged, move forward using a “cross-crawl” pattern, simultaneously moving opposite hands and feet together (i.e., left hand and right foot, right hand, and left foot).
- Continue moving forward with opposite hands and feet in unison for the specified number of steps, maintaining tension on the band at all times. Reverse the movement to work your way back.
3. Banded Burpee
- Slip a mini band around both wrists. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms in front of you, keeping tension on the band.
- Bend your knees, hinge at your hips, and squat down, placing both palms on the floor.
- Jump your feet back to a push-up position: hands underneath the shoulders and balls of your feet on the floor and your body in a line from head to heels, core engaged and back straight.
- Jump your feet back to your hands and stand up. As you come to a standing position, pull your shoulders back, resisting the pull of the band.
4. Plank Lateral Walk
- Slip a mini band around both wrists and assume a plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Spread your feet a little wider than hip-width.
- Keeping tension on the band, simultaneously walk your right hand and foot to the right. Immediately follow with the left hand and left foot. Take two more steps to the right.
- Using the same movement pattern, take three steps to the left to return to your starting position.
5. Wrap-Around Chest Press
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Fold a resistance band in half, and, holding the ends in each hand, wrap the folded band around your upper back so that it’s just under your armpits.
- Holding the folded end close to your chest to create resistance, extend the opposite arm forward. Keep your arm at shoulder-height and your palm facing inward.
- Complete all reps before switching sides.
6. Banded Chest Press
- Wrap a large resistance band around your upper back and grip a handle in each hand. (Depending on the size of your band, you may need to wrap the band around your hand once or twice to create adequate tension.)
- Lie on your back, bend your knees, and rest the soles of your feet on the floor. Hold the handles above your chest with your elbows extended and your palms facing forward. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your forearms perpendicular to the ground, lower your hands until your arms bend 45 degrees, and your upper arms touch the floor.
- Pause, then press your hands back up to the starting position.
7. Banded Chest Fly
- Anchor the middle of a large resistance band to a fixed object at chest height. Standing with your back to the fixed object, hold the ends of the band in each hand.
- Keeping your back straight and core engaged, raise your arms out to your sides, palms facing forward, and walk a step or two forward in order to create tension on the band. Place one foot in front of the other, so you’re in a staggered stance.
- Bend your elbows slightly, making sure not to let them travel behind your shoulders. This is your starting position.
- Pull your hands toward each other in wide arcs in front of you, pausing when your hands touch. Slowly return to the starting position.
- Alternate your front foot with each set.
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