Resistance Band Push-Ups: How-To, Variations & Benefits

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: March 11, 2024
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Resistance band push-ups significantly enhance traditional push-ups by intensifying muscle engagement. The adjustable bands’ tension caters to various fitness levels and objectives.

Based on my observations as a fitness coach and after training with a banded-based routine for three weeks, resistance band push-ups efficiently target specific muscles, making them an essential strength and endurance training tool.

This article shares everything I've learned about resistance band push-ups and how they can enhance your fitness routine.

Quick Summary

  • Resistance band push-up variations include close grip push-ups, wide grip push-ups, high push-ups, low push-ups, and decline push-ups.
  • These push-ups elevate traditional push-ups by adding tension and optimizing muscle engagement.
  • According to ResearchGate, maintaining a straight body line from head to heels is crucial for effective resistance band push-ups.
  • In my view, resistance band push-ups are a versatile and effective way to intensify upper-body workouts without needing bulky gym equipment.

How to Do Resistance Band Push-Ups

A person doing resistance band push-ups

I recommend performing resistance band push-ups with an elastic band to add resistance and increase the challenge compared to the traditional variant.

Here’s the detailed push-up process:

  1. Choose a resistance band with the proper tension. It should challenge your strength but not be so tight that it hurts your form.
  2. Place the resistance band around your back and hold the ends under your palms. Assume the plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. According to ResearchGate, your body must be in a straight line from head to heels [1].
  3. Lower your chest and bend your elbows. Make sure to keep your core engaged and your back straight.
  4. Press through your palms, extending your arms, and pushing your body back up to the starting position. The resistance band will provide extra tension, making your chest muscles work harder.
  5. Repeat for each set.

Banded Push-Up Variations

A person doing resistance band push ups

Add the following resistance band push-ups variations to your training:

Close Grip Push-Up

Close-grip push-ups are used to increase muscle activation in the triceps and chest.

This variation is especially effective for building muscle mass in the arms and engaging the core muscles.

How to perform:

  1. Wrap the resistance band around your back, holding it under your palms.
  2. Assume a plank position with your hands close together beneath your chest.
  3. Lower your chest to the ground with your elbows close to your body.
  4. Extend your arms to push back up, focusing on tricep activation.

Wide Grip Push-Up

A person doing wide grip push ups

Wide grip push-ups with resistance bands emphasize the outer chest and shoulders.

According to ResearchGate, it’s ideal for those looking to improve their strength while trying different upper-body workouts [2].

How to perform:

  1. Place the resistance band in the right position.
  2. Get into a plank position with hands set wider than shoulder-width.
  3. Bend your elbows and lower your chest.
  4. Push to return to the starting position.

High Push-Up

As a trainer, I find that incorporating resistance bands in high push-ups effectively targets the upper chest and shoulders, making this variation a great addition to diversify your upper body strength routine.

How to perform:

  1. Place a preferred home gym resistance band behind you and grab it.
  2. Assume a perfect plank position with hands slightly higher than chest level.
  3. Lower your body to the ground by bending your elbows.
  4. Push back up, concentrating on activating the chest and shoulders.

Low Push-Up

A person doing low push ups outside

The low push-up variation with resistance bands further engages the core muscles and lower chest.

The body’s position challenges the same muscles as a traditional push-up but with an increased focus on the lower pectorals.

How to perform:

  1. Secure the resistance band across your back and hold it beneath your palms.
  2. Adopt a plank position with your hands placed slightly lower than chest level.
  3. Bend your elbows, lowering until your chest almost touches the floor.
  4. Push back up to the starting position with arms extended.

Decline Push-Up

Decline push-ups with resistance bands place greater mechanical tension on the upper chest and shoulders.

How to perform:

  1. Take the normal behind-your-back band position.
  2. Assume a plank position with your feet elevated on a stable surface.
  3. Bend your elbows while lowering your chest to the floor.
  4. Extend your arms to the starting position.

Incline Push-Up

A group of people doing incline push ups

I recommend incline push-ups with resistance bands to primarily engage the lower chest and triceps.

The elevated positioning reduces joint strain, making it a suitable option for beginners or those with previous injuries.

How to perform:

  1. Wrap the resistance band around your back, holding the ends under your palms.
  2. Position yourself in a plank position with your hands on an elevated surface.
  3. Lower your body towards the surface by bending your elbows.
  4. Push your body back up to the starting position.
  5. Perform the desired number of repetitions.

Clapping Push-Up

The clapping push-up variation with resistance bands is a dynamic movement that builds explosive strength in the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

It's a high-intensity exercise that also enhances cardiovascular health.

How to perform:

  1. Place the resistance band around your back and under your palms.
  2. Assume a plank position, like at a regular push-up.
  3. Lower your body, bending at the elbows.
  4. Push up explosively, clapping your hands together at the movement's top.
  5. Land back in the plank position with arms fully extended.
  6. Continue the sequence for your set number of reps.

Workout Routine With Resistance Band Push-Ups

A woman holding a long resistance band

Here’s an example of banded push-up resistance training you could use.

Modify the rep and set the number depending on your fitness level and targeted muscles.


  • Arm Circles: 1 minute
  • Shoulder Shrugs: 1 minute
  • Band Pull-Aparts: 1 minute
  • Scapular Push-Ups: 1 minute
  • Inchworms: 1 minute
  • Chest Stretch: 30 seconds on each side
  • Wrist Stretch: 30 seconds on each side


A person doing push ups at the gym
  • Traditional Push-Ups: 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Close Grip Push-Up: 2 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Wide Grip Push-Up: 2 sets of 10-12 reps
  • High Push-Up: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Low Push-Up: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Decline Push-Up: 2 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Incline Push-Up: 2 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Clapping Push-Up: 2 sets of 5-8 reps

The 4-minute cooldown

  • Child’s Pose: 1 minute
  • Cobra Stretch: 30 seconds
  • Cat-Cow Stretch: 1 minute
  • Shoulder Stretch: 30 seconds on each side
  • Triceps Stretch: 30 seconds on each side
  • Wrist Flexor Stretch: 30 seconds on each side
  • Wrist Extensor Stretch: 30 seconds on each side

Why Combine Push-Ups with Resistance Bands?

A woman holding a resistance band

I advise combining push-ups with resistance bands to add resistance to traditional training, enhancing upper body strength, muscular endurance, and emphasizing your body's physique.

Here are the key reasons:

  1. The bands provide extra resistance throughout the push-up movement, which, according to ResearchGate, increases muscle engagement and stimulates muscle growth [3].
  2. You can adjust the band’s thickness or how it's positioned to increase intensity.
  3. Resistance bands promote stabilizing muscle activation in the shoulders, chest, and core, which leads to better overall muscle development.
  4. Bands let you add variety to your workout, preventing plateaus and continuously challenging your muscles.
  5. The bands can reduce the stress on your joints compared to weighted push-ups, as they provide resistance without adding extra weight.

“The push-up is widely used by fitness professionals to" develop upper-body strength, power, and local muscular endurance. Although the load during a push-up is limited by an individual's bodyweight and anthropometry, many biomechanical variations of the exercise can be performed.”

- Bret Contreras & Brad J Schoenfeld, Strength & Conditioning Journal

Benefits Of Using Resistance Bands

A person holding resistance bands

Resistance bands amplify the effectiveness of push-ups.

Here are the benefits that show you that resistance band pushups work:

  1. Resistance-band push-ups work harder than traditional push-ups. Hence, you’re increasing muscle mass faster.
  2. They engage the entire body, emphasizing core stability and proper alignment.
  3. Bands can be adjusted in tension to match all fitness levels.
  4. The bands promote correct form by keeping the body straight throughout the motion.
  5. The resistance band's elasticity provides lower-impact resistance, reducing joint stress.
  6. They are affordable, space-saving, and perfect for home or travel workouts.

Related Articles:

Common Mistakes When Training with Resistance Bands

A woman working out with a resistance bands

I want to highlight the common mistakes you should avoid when training push-ups with resistance bands:

  1. Starting in an Incorrect High Plank Position: This limits the range of motion in resistance band push-ups.
  2. Poor Body Positioning: Avoid sagging hips or elevated butt. These shifts focus on target muscles.
  3. Not Extending Arms Completely: This places force in a weaker position and reduces engagement in resistance band push-ups.
  4. Using Only Weight Plates: Weight plates miss the benefits of resistance bands, which emphasize different muscle groups for balanced growth.
  5. Incorrect Resistance Band Tension: It affects push-up effectiveness.

Integration with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Resistance band push-ups really amp up HIIT workouts, beefing up strength and cranking up heart health and fat torching.

Slipping them into your HIIT mix makes things tougher, thanks to the band firing up more muscle action in your chest, arms, and core. This extra oomph pushes your muscles harder than standard push-ups, ramping up strength.

Plus, the zippy pace of HIIT, mixed with the band's challenge, gets your heart racing and calories burning like crazy.

By switching between these intense push-ups and chill breaks or easier moves, you're not just burning fat but also building stamina, making your workout top-notch.


Can I Replace Weights with Resistance Bands In My Push-Up Workout?

Yes, you can replace weights with resistance bands in your push-up workout. Resistance bands offer adjustable resistance and target muscles similarly to weights.

How do Bands Help with Push-Ups?

The frequency of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts depends on several factors, including your fitness level, recovery ability, and overall training program. As a general guideline, it is recommended to include HIIT sessions in your routine 2 to 3 times per week. This allows for sufficient recovery between sessions while reaping HIIT's benefits.

How do Resistance Bands Improve Push-Up Exercises?

Resistance bands improve push-up exercises by increasing intensity in training. They also allow you to try push-up variations, engaging different muscle groups and enhancing overall upper-body strength.


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About The Author

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
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Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
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Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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