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 these moves, 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 get the most out of your resistance bands and build a strong upper body.
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.
- 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.
- 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. Incline/Decline Chest Press
- Anchor a resistance band at chest height. With your back to the anchor point, hold the handles at shoulder height with your palms facing forward, and walk forward until you feel tension in the band. Step your right foot back into a staggered stance. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your core braced, extend your arms up in front of you at a 45-degree angle.
- Pause, and then slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Do all of your reps, and then switch to a decline press.
- Bring the handles to the sides of your torso, and flip your hands so that your palms are facing up.
- Keeping your back flat and core braced, press the handles forward, so that your arms are angled toward the floor when fully extended.
- Pause, and then slowly reverse the movement to return 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.
Get Fast Results With Joey Thurman
If you’re looking for more great band exercises, check out Joey Thurman’s BODi program. Doing workouts that are just 20 minutes or less, you’ll start to feel stronger and fitter in as little as three weeks.