Whether you’re working out at home or just looking to ditch the gym machines and dumbbells, resistance bands can come to the rescue.
Thanks to these stretchy little saviors, you can make your own resistance band chest workout. Get ready for the best pecs of your life.
Best 9 resistance band chest workouts
Ready to put your chest to the test? Here’s a roundup of nine of our fave resistance band chest exercises to incorporate into your routine:
Resistance bands can wear out over time. You really don’t want to be on the receiving end of a band when it snaps.
Here are a few safety tips to avoid any accidents:
- Check the bands and handles regularly for any signs of wear and tear.
- Don’t release the band at high tension (that’s asking for trouble).
- Avoid any fast, jerking movements.
- Start exercises slowly to test the strength of the band.
- Never stretch a band to more than 2.5 times its length.
- Avoid placing the handles (if the band has any) over your feet — they’re more likely to slip off.
It’s also important to use proper form any time you’re exercising. If you’re not sure how to do a workout safely, you can work with a certified personal trainer until you’re ready to go it alone.
Get ready to say goodbye to free weights and hello to resistance bands… or at least to mix things up a little. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
One review suggests that resistance training with elastic bands can provide similar strength gains to training with dumbbells or weight machines. Here’s how to get the best chest workout out of your resistance bands.
1. Banded floor press
No heavy weights needed here. This floor press isolates your chest and triceps while minimizing stress on your shoulders.
- Sit on the floor with knees pointing up and feet flat on the floor.
- Holding one handle (or one end of the band) in each hand, place the resistance band across your back, under your shoulders.
- Lie down on your back.
- With palms facing the ceiling, push up until your arms are straight.
- Gently return your arms to the floor.
- Try 10–12 reps.
- Keep those wrists straight to avoid injuries.
- Move your hands closer together at the top of the movement.
2. Resistance band fly
Who doesn’t love a little twist on a classic? This exercise isolates your pectorals for a super-focused workout.
- Find something sturdy to wrap your resistance band around, like a pole or a fence post.
- Hold the handles or the ends of the band, facing away from the pole.
- Widen your stance. Hold arms out to the sides at chest level.
- Keeping a slight bend in elbows, pull your arms out in front of you.
- Return your arms to the wide position over a 3-second count.
- Try 8–12 reps.
Tip: Keep your elbows below your shoulders.
3. Resistance band push-up
It’s like a push-up but harder. This move works your chest and triceps to improve upper-body strength.
- Wrap the resistance band around your back, under your shoulders.
- Get into a plank position.
- Maintaining the plank position, lower your body until it’s just above the floor.
- Push back up. (You should feel the tension of resistance band at the top of the movement.)
- Try 8–12 reps.
- If you’re feeling brave, you can add a knee tuck for an extra core workout.
- You can add a side knee tuck, too, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
4. Straight-arm pulldown
Strong back and shoulder muscles help support your chest during pressing movements.
This exercise works your latissimus dorsi (aka lats) and serratus anterior muscles and helps with scapular (shoulder) stability.
- Secure the middle of the resistance band on something a little higher than your head. (Anything stable, like a door, will work — just make sure the door stays closed.)
- Grab the ends of the band and take a few steps back, keeping your feet hip-width apart.
- Lean torso forward and keep a slight bend in knees. Place arms at a 45-degree angle in line with your ears.
- Keeping arms straight, pull the band down to your thighs and squeeze your lats.
- Pause at the bottom, then slowly release.
- Try 10–12 reps.
- Try a resistance band door anchor. If you’ll be doing this move a lot, it’s definitely worth the small investment.
- Pull your shoulders slightly down and back and try not to let them roll forward or shrug up toward your ears throughout each rep.
5. Resistance band row
Another great lat-focused move, this exercise also helps support great posture.
- Sit with your legs out in front of you (like a rowing position).
- Place the resistance band around your feet and grab both ends.
- Engage your shoulder blades by squeezing them together, then pull elbows back until hands are near your torso.
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
- Try 10–14 reps.
Tip: Sit up tall and straight by engaging your abs.
6. Standing incline chest press
Using an anchor point can be super effective, but it’s not always possible, especially if you’re working out on vacay or your basement doesn’t have any good options.
This simple inclined chest press doesn’t need an anchor point, so it’s great for a home workout routine.
- Place the center of the band under your left heel.
- Step right foot forward so your legs are offset, with the band under your back foot.
- Holding one end of the band in each hand, place hands near your shoulders.
- Push forward and up at a 45-degree angle. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
- Try 8–12 reps.
Tip: If the band is rubbing against your shoulders or arms too much, adjust the angle of your press slightly up or try leaning your torso forward just a bit more.
7. Wide-stance low crossover
Feel the squeeze on your inner chest muscles with this focused low crossover.
- Place the band under both feet and move your legs out wide, holding the handles near your hips. (The wider you go, the harder you’ll work your chest.)
- Keeping a slight bend in your elbow, pull one handle up and in front of you, across your body, to about chest height.
- Repeat on the other side, then continue alternating sides.
- Try 8–12 reps.
- Keep your abs engaged.
- Pause for a second at the top of the movement to really feel the burn.
8. Standing high crossover
This is just like a real-deal crossover machine at the gym, but all you’ll need is your handy resistance band.
This is similar to a low crossover, but you’ll anchor the band higher.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Place the resistance band at about shoulder height or a bit higher on a pole (or you can use a door anchor).
- Facing away from the anchor point, pull the handles down and toward one another, keeping a slight bend in elbows.
- Hold at the bottom for a couple of seconds, then slowly release.
- Try 8–14 reps.
Tip: You can cross your arms at the end of the range to work your chest even more.
9. Resistance band pullover
Pullovers don’t just target your pecs — that big extension also hits your lats and triceps as you move through the exercise.
This works best with a flat resistance band. Handles would just get in the way with this one.
- Secure your resistance band to a secure point low to the floor. A sturdy table could work if you’re trying this at home.
- Lie on the floor with arms extended over your head, grabbing the band with both hands.
- Keeping those arms straight, bring hands in front of your head to line up with your chest.
- Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
- Try 8–10 reps.
- Make sure to give your pecs a good squeeze so your chest gets the full effect of the exercise.
- Keep your hands close together for maximum gain.
Now, it’s time to turn these awesome exercises into a full resistance band chest workout routine.
It’s super simple: Just pick your favorite three exercises and you’ll be on your way to a full chest workout with no dumbbells in sight.
If you’re just starting out, try fewer reps and sets. Building strength can take time, but you’ve got this.
Remember to include a warmup and cooldown to avoid any unwanted pains or strains. Here’s an example to get you started.
Warmup: 10 minutes
- Regular push-up (feel free to kneel if you need to): 3–5 sets of 8–10 reps
- Resistance band row: 3 sets of 10–14 reps
- 2–3 mins rest before starting exercise 1
Resistance band push-up: 8–10 minutes
- 3–5 sets of 8–12 reps
- 2–3 mins rest before starting exercise 2
Banded floor press: 8–10 minutes
- 3–5 sets of 10–12 reps
- 2–3 mins rest before starting exercise 3
Standing high crossover: 8–10 minutes
- 3–4 sets of 8–14 reps
Cooldown: 5 minutes
- Stretch your arms and chest.
- Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.
Getting a great workout doesn’t always mean heading straight for the weight machines. Resistance bands can be a useful tool to use at home or even to replace weights when you’re at the gym.
Building your own routine is fun and easy. And mixing it up with new exercises and workout equipment like resistance bands can help you reach those fitness goals.