Looking for a chest workout that you can do anywhere? These 9 resistance band chest exercises are perfect for any fitness level – whether you’re working out at home or while traveling!
We all want flat abs. Most of us wish to have tight booties, too. But, the often overlooked group of muscles when we think about our exercise regimen is the chest. Your chest muscles are part of the four main muscle groups, also which include abs, back, and legs. If your chest is weak, it’s putting undue stress on other muscle groups, which could put you at risk for injury not just during exercise, but everyday tasks.
So, if you’re looking to show a little extra love to this muscle group but don’t have access to weights or gym equipment, these are the best resistance band chest exercises for you!
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What are the Key Chest Muscles?
When preparing to dive into this set of chest exercises, it’s helpful to understand what we are targeting and why. The major chest muscles targeted in these exercises include the:
- Pectoralis major
- Pectoralis minor
- Serratus anterior
As its name implies, the pectoralis major is the primary chest muscle that accounts for most of the muscle mass in this area of your body. It is fan shaped and adduction, or movements toward the midline of the body are the primary function the muscle serves. The pectoralis major is responsible for providing shoulder strength and stability as well.
Next, we have the pectoralis minor. This muscle resides beneath the larger pectoralis major muscle and is shaped almost like a triangle. The pectoralis minor is small but mighty, and is responsible for much of the shoulder’s range of motion such as pulling forward and down.
Last comes the serratus anterior. It’s job is to pull the shoulder blades and muscles forward and around the chest in order for the arm to extend. The serratus anterior is a key muscle to keep health and strong, as it plays a key role in the prevention of shoulder and neck injuries.
Benefits of Resistance Band Chest Exercises
For many of us, the age of technology has resulted in less active settings when it comes to the workplace. As a result, we need to find time to dedicate to fitness as part of a health, active lifestyle. Incorporating resistance band training chest exercises into your routine offers many benefits:
- Versatility: you can not only use these elastic bands to exercise your chest muscles, but there are many different ways to incorporate resistance band exercises that you can do anywhere and anytime. Since the resistance bands are lightweight and easy to pack, you can do these resistance band workouts anywhere – at home, during a break at work, or traveling.
- The use of resistance bands with chest exercises result in overall improvements in health and fitness while making everyday pushing and pulling movements easier.
- They target and strengthen specific muscle groups while being easy on the joints.
- You’re not only targeting the major muscles of the chest, but also arms and upper back too.
- Working these exercises into your routine will result in improved posture.
- You will not only feel good, but look good too!
Resistance bands are also much cheaper and take up less space than weights and machines. They are also very safe, because you are in control of the amount of resistance you use! (Plus, dropping a resistance band on your toe doesn’t hurt at all – but dropping a 20 pound dumbbell definitely does!)
9 Best Resistance Band Chest Exercises for all Fitness Levels
There are plenty of chest exercises ranging from using just your body weight – such as with pushups – to those using free weights, machines, and other gadgets in between. The chest exercises we will focus on all utilize resistance bands.
Of course, this is not the only way to build muscular strength of the chest but I have found this approach most beneficial for exercise and lifestyle purposes.
Maybe you’ve heard of these bands otherwise referred to as elastic bands, rubber bands, tube resistance bands or exercise bands. No matter what you want to call them, they serve the same effective purpose! We like these VEICK resistance bands as they check many boxes for us, but many types of resistance bands will do! These bands come in a set of five and the resistance of the bands ranges from 10 to 50 pounds.
The different resistance levels are great because the intensity of the workouts can be adjusted as you get stronger, and the bands can accommodate any fitness level.
Other goodies are included such as handles for the end of the resistance band, a bag for travel, a door anchor, and ankle straps. You could also use loop bands as well for some of these exercises, but again, I find the resistance bands more versatile.
Now, let’s get started on this sample resistance band chest workout I made for you!
You can see a quick video demonstration of the moves here in my web stories!
1. Resistance Band Standing Chest Press
If you aren’t a gym goer and you don’t have a full on home gym, this chest press exercise is a great alternative to the common flat bench press.
First, choose the resistance band of your liking and secure the band to your anchor (or wrap the band around your upper back). With handles in hand, abdominals engaged, and standing upright, start with one leg forward. Then, extend your arms straight out, keeping them level with your chest. When extended, pause and hold for a moment. For many of these exercises, focus on form, alignment, and keeping your feet shoulder-width and hip-width.
You will want to swap which leg is forward halfway through your reps. This is one of the best and simplest chest workouts because it is a great way to strengthen all three of those major chest muscles.
2. Incline Chest Press
Start by securing the resistance band around your anchor at a height below your waist, or around you at your middle back. Keep the staggered stance the same as in exercise one, and this time, lean back slightly with your chest up. With a good grip on the handles, extend and push your hands from the chest upward at a diagonal.
You won’t need to push your hands straight up, but in an outward motion while lifting your arms no higher than your head. For best results, focus on form, posture, and control.
3. Decline Chest Press
Move your resistance band up on your anchor so that it is positioned about head height. If you started off with your right foot forward in the last move, try starting with the left foot this time.
Extend your arms in a downward position, squeezing the muscles in your lower chest region. Again, pause for one second when your arms are fully extended. Return to the starting position.
4. Resistance Band Chest Fly
Targeting your middle and upper chest, the chest fly is a great upper body exercise. Get in your starting position with one leg stepped forward, a slight bend in your knees, core engaged, and again, wrap the band around your anchor or middle back, holding the handles firmly.
The starting point for your arms will be straight out to your sides, where you are going to bring them forward and inward, meeting them at midline in the front of your chest. Pretend you are giving your strong future body a big hug!
Be sure to keep your palms facing inward toward each other to the middle chest and don’t lock your elbows out straight.
5. Banded Push-up
A variant of the classic push-up, the banded push-up is an effective way to strengthen the chest muscles and it continues one of the best chest workouts. So, take things a step further and feel the burn with the use of the resistance band!
Start in a push-up position. It is ok if you want to go with a modified push up – Listen to your body! Get the band setup once again at the upper/middle part of your back with the handles gripped firmly. If you have a longer band like I do, you can fold it in half and hold the handles with one hand and the loop in the other hand.
Perform the push up as you normally would. The only difference is that you will feel a bit extra resistance to push through as you rise back up.
You’ll notice I don’t have a picture or video to demonstrate this chest exercise. That’s because it’s a little more advanced that I’m able to do right now, after having shoulder surgery plus some recent wrist pain! Hopefully I can get a picture of my husband demonstrating this for you soon. 😉
6. Single Arm Resistance Band Chest Press
Another great exercise to get those pectoral muscles engaged and build chest strength is the single arm resistance band chest press. Any unilateral strength move (that’s a move that you do on just one side of your body at a time) is great for preventing muscular imbalances while also activating your core and improving your balance.
Fun fact: When you’re working your pectorals on the right side of your body, your pectorals on the left are stimulated even though they aren’t moving!
Keeping your hands at the chest level, start again by securing the band at mid-back level, holding the handles firmly. Start with the leg forward position, and extend one arm forward and out tat chest height. Once you cycle through one set of reps, swap arms and target the other!
I find that this move is much easier to do when you use a door anchor (or some other strong object that won’t move) as I am doing in the pictures. You can do this by wrapping it behind you, but using an anchor is my preference.
Just be sure any other family members or roomies know what you’re up to so that the door doesn’t swing open mid exercise!
7. Resistance Band Kneeling Chest Press
We have a lot of options of what this exercise can look like, so choose what works for you! You can choose to use an alternative anchor point or to wrap the band around your mid back, do both arms or one at a time.
The main variation here is you must get down!
Start on your knees, keep one leg down with your foot facing back, and bring your other leg forward with your floor firmly planted so you are creating a 90 degree angle at the knee.
Complete the chest press exercise just like the others, just be sure your knee doesn’t extend past your foot. Keep the weight evenly dispersed through the soles of your feet.
8. Resistance Band Crossover
When I was a personal trainer, I would almost always work in the cable pulley machine because there are several ways to target primary muscles, secondary muscles, and get an overall killer chest workout. The resistance band crossover is an excellent alternative to incorporate into your home workouts that will result in the same outcome of working in effective chest exercises as part of your exercise routine.
With one foot forward, step on the band with your back foot so it’s secure under the heel of your foot. Extend your arms up to chest level, face the palms toward each other, abducting and pulling them inward toward each other.
You’ll feel your shoulders kicking in too!
9. Reverse Grip Fly
I’ve saved one of my favorite exercises for last! Start by standing upright with good posture, and your feet will be shoulder width apart. With the resistance band under both feet, your palms will be facing upward for this exercise, and with a controlled movement, bring your arms upward to shoulder height.
Feel the burn!
Resistance band chest exercise tips
- Don’t forget to warm up! Take the time to do this and your body will thank you! We don’t want to dive in too hastily and have an injury as a result.
- For best results, it is best to focus on quality over quantity. Throughout all of the exercises, keep form in mind. Be mindful of engaging your core, standing upright for good posture, keeping a slight bend in your knees, and keeping your stance even through the soles of your feet along with a wide base. Always pause at the top of the movement in order to increase muscle fiber recruitment.
- You may notice I didn’t specify how many reps for each exercise. The rep ranges will depend on a couple factors including your level of fitness at the onset and which bands you’re choosing to use. As a general recommendation, what works for me is to aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps. However, this is over time and you need to listen to your body and let that guide you to reach the most effective chest workout for you. Even if you start out with 1 set of 10 to 15 reps, then add in more sets, first 5, then 10, and so on, you will still see results in muscle growth and muscle building.
- Make adjustments based on your needs! Step farther away from your anchor to increase the resistance, or move closer to your anchor if you can’t execute the movement with good form. If you’ve been using lighter bands and are ready for a challenge, level up! The heavier bands will mimic the effect of heavy weights so if you’re looking for a more intense workout for a bigger chest, go for it! Remember, it’s not about heavy loads, it’s about the progress that works for you.
I hope these resistance band chest exercises will find their way into your top chest exercises as part of your workout program! Enjoy your workout!
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