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The Best Chest Exercises With Resistance Bands to Add to Your Workout

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: February 11, 2021

If you’re into bodybuilding, then the chances are that you like showing off your chest. It’s one of the glory muscle areas, but training them with just free weights can be a bit limiting.

That’s why I often recommend doing chest exercises with resistance bands, which are also an ideal option for training at home.

But before you just try a random set of chest exercises, find out how using resistance bands the right way can make a huge difference to your success rate.

Let’s dive right in.

Our Top Resistance Band Chest Exercises

These are the ten most suitable resistance band exercises we have come up with that should help you get started with a new approach.

1. Floor Chest Press

woman doing floor chest press

This is similar to a standard bench press, but by laying down on the floor and using resistance bands, you can significantly reduce the strain on your shoulder.

Start by laying out an exercise mat on the floor and a reasonably thick band placed on top of it.

Now, lay down on the band and grip each end in your hands. You should feel a bit of tension even with your hands close to your chest.

Start the floor chest press with a slow upward movement and get into a position where your arms are fully extended.

You should also feel the strain build up around your shoulder blades along with a strong burn in your pecs [1].

For maximum strength build-up, do these about eight times per set.

Related: Best Bench Press Alternatives

2. Standard Flye

This is one of my favorite moves for a resistance band chest workout.

You’ll possibly need a few bands at the same time as you want to aim for less than 10 reps and really feel the burn with the last 2.

Securely attach the bands to a pole, door, or training machine and stand with your back towards the anchor.

Grab the band with each hand and step forward so that you can counteract the force of the band, which will try to pull you backwards.

To start the chest exercise, extend your arms all the way in front of you at about chest height and then bring both hands towards your body in a wing-like motion.

Then bring them back to your starting position and feel the strain in your chest muscles and even your shoulder blades.

Add these to your training with 3 sets of 8 reps.

3. Incline Press

female doing an incline press with resistance band

Normally, you would do this as a modified bench press, but it can be just as effective with a chest resistance band.

The added bonus is that you don’t need a workout bench.

Start off in a standing position with your feet staggered in front of each other.

Make sure you keep an even weight across both feet and loop the band under the heel of your back foot.

Your arm movement should go upwards and end up with your hands above your head.

This should increase tension in your upper chest muscles.

You should also start to feel the burn in your upper back, which is perfectly fine.

4. Crossover Flye

The starting position for crossover flyes is similar to the standard ones.

Anchor your bands to a wall hook, door, or exercise machine. Take a staggered stance with your back towards the anchor and get your hands next to your shoulders at about chest height.

Start the movement the same as the standard flyes and aim to have a bit of tension right from the start.

As your hands approach fully extended, aim to have one hand slightly above the other so that you can easily extend the movement a bit further.

This gets you into a position where your arms are crossed over, which further adds strain on your chest muscles.

Take it slowly with these and try using some of the thicker bands available. The more tension you can build up, the more strength you’ll build up.

Aim for 3 sets of 8 reps, and the last two should burn.

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5. Push-Ups

man doing resistance band pushups

Push-ups are a great compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups in your chest, back, and arms.

One of the best ways you can spice them up a bit is by using some bands to increase the tension.

To gain the most out of this resistance band chest workout, start off in the standard position with your hands on the floor just a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.

The band should run across your back and be relatively tense before you start. The idea is to make it more difficult to push back into a straight arm position.

This exercise would also greatly help you with your serratus anterior muscle which is one of the most neglected muscles out there.

I would recommend aiming for 20 reps in each set, and if the last 2 don’t burn in your muscles, then you need to use a thicker band.

6. Rows

The easiest way to do exercise band rows is to get into a starting position where you sit on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you.

Use one of the thicker or multiple bands as you want to have a bit of tension before you start pulling.

You want to do this exercise slowly as that’s the best way to allow the strain to build up in your body. It might even be a good idea to hold the move with your arms pulled up to your chest to allow the burn to kick in sooner.

If your bands are too long to become tense enough, then I would suggest anchoring them to a piece of equipment and then sitting on the floor far enough away.

Do this routine for 3 sets of 8 reps max.

If this becomes too easy for you, look into getting a rowing machine.

7. Straight Arm Pulldown

man doing a straight arm pull down

For this resistance band workout, you’ll need something high to attach the bands to.

Even though a door frame might work, I generally prefer to have a hook attached to the wall up close to the ceiling.

Keep your legs about shoulder-width apart and lean your upper body forward. Your arms should be straight and up over your head.

Pull down on the grips slowly and ensure that your elbows don’t flare out.

That would activate more of your shoulder and arm muscle groups rather than your chest and back.

At the lowest point, try to hold your hands in place for a few seconds before you repeat the move, as this should bring on the burn a bit sooner. Aim for 3 sets of 8 reps while gradually using stronger bands.

8. Standing Chest Press

An alternative to the lying chest press from above is to do a bench press move while standing up. The advantage is that you can gain more range of motion by allowing your elbows to dip slightly behind your shoulders.

I find the best approach is to attach the bands low to the ground, as this will force you into a slightly upward movement.

Start with your hands gripping the handles, your palms facing down, and about shoulder-width apart.

Slowly push your hands forward until your arms are fully stretched and repeat for 8 to 10 reps over 3 sets.

You’ll also want to stagger your feet as the forward movement into the tension will push your body backwards and off-balance.

Other types of exercises:

9. Pull Over

woman pull over workout

This is a great way to target both your pecs and lats during training.

Attach the resistance band around a heavy exercise machine low to the ground.

Lay down on a mat and grip onto the bands with your arms above your shoulders and elbows straight.

The pulling movement will go towards your legs, and it’s best to start with the bands slightly stretched.

While keeping your arms extended, push them down towards your torso and go as far as you can. Remember to keep those elbows locked and try to hold the strain for a few seconds when you get to the lowest point.

Repeat this for 8 to 10 reps in each set and make sure the last ones burn.

10. Alternating Punches

The final way I like to use resistance bands for my chest is to throw some punches.

Start with a similar setup to the crossover flye with the bands secured behind your back and your feet in a staggered stance to give you a bit of hip rotation as well.

Get into a fighting stance with your knees slightly bent and your fists gripping the bands in front of your chest.

Alternate each punch but avoid fully extending your elbow joints [2]. The fast punching move can cause unnecessary pressure on the joint, and you’ll quickly feel it.

“The pectoralis major makes up most of your chest muscle mass. It is large and fan shaped, and is composed of a sternocostal head and a clavicular head.” - Edward Cooper, Writer at MensHealth.com.

Are Your Trying These Resistance Band Chest Exercises?

I guarantee that resistance band chest exercises will make a big difference to the average person.

And if you struggle to go to the gym enough to work on free weights, then it’s one of the best ways to bulk up at home.

You gain a lot of flexibility in your training regime and don’t need to invest a small fortune in bars and dumbbells.

Give this routine a try, and then let us know on social media how it worked out for you.


References:

  1. https://teachmeanatomy.info/upper-limb/muscles/pectoral-region/
  2. https://martialarts.stackexchange.com/questions/4515/preventing-and-or-healing-sore-wrists-and-elbows-in-boxing

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