The chest press is a great exercise to strengthen your chest. By using a resistance band and the information provided within this article, you will notice positive results in your chest, shoulders and triceps. Another great benefit of using a resistance band for your workouts is that you can train at home, in the office, in a hotel room and virtually anywhere!
Muscles Targeted: The chest press focuses primarily on the pectoralis muscles (chest). The chest press also hits the anterior deltoids (front shoulders) and the triceps (rear upper arms). This exercise is the resistance band version of the free weight chest press, which normally requires the use of a barbell (flat, incline or decline bench press) or a pair of dumbbells.
Exercise Instructions (chest press with band wrapped around door): Wrap the resistance band around a fixed object. In this demonstration, the band is secured around the handle of a door. Take a few steps away from the door to create tension in the band and position one of your feet ahead of the other for stability. The full range of motion of your elbows should be from 90 degrees to about 175 degrees. If you let your elbows rest too far back, then you are putting an excessive amount of strain on the rotator cuff, and if you extend to a full 180 degrees, then you are putting strain on a locked elbow, which you should never do. A good general rule to always keep in mind is to make sure your elbows never dip below being parallel to the ground at the bottom of any repetition. This will maximize the positive stress on the target muscle group and reduce the chances of suffering an injury.
Exercise Instructions (chest press with band wrapped around post): Begin by wrapping the exercise band around a sturdy post or something similar. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and your back to the post while holding both handles of the band. Keep your hands at shoulder level, your thumbs pointed in toward your body and your palms down. Next, simply press your hands outward, making sure that the movement is done parallel to the floor. Slowly return to the start position and repeat.
Things To Avoid: Dangerous anchoring can be an issue. If you’re securing the resistance band on a door knob, then make sure that the door is latched shut and that the band won’t slide off of the handle. If you’re using some other fixed object to secure your resistance band, make sure it is stationary, secure and very sturdy.
- Straining your shoulders. Starting in a position with your elbows up and bent back behind your body can be dangerous for your shoulders. You will achieve optimal results if you stay within the 90-175 degree range, so be sure to remain aware of your range of motion. Again, never allow your elbows to drop below being parallel to the floor.
- Locking out your elbows. It is important to always keep some flexion in your elbows. You never want to fully extend (lock out) your elbows at the top of a repetition. Doing so could cause serious injury, including but not limited to hyperextending one or both of your elbows. Keep your elbows bent slightly and focus on keeping the resistance on your chest rather than your elbows.
- Asymmetry. The last thing we want is one large pec muscle next to an underdeveloped little pec muscle, so always remember to keep symmetry in mind when doing your chest workout. You want both of your hands to be moving at the same pace and meeting in the center each time. Our muscles develop the way that we work them, so keep your exercises symmetrical and your muscles will follow suit.
Reps and Sets: 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps with 60-90 seconds of rests in between sets. You can slightly adjust your positioning so that this rep-set guideline works for you. If you can’t complete 12 reps, try moving slightly towards the door. If 15 reps is too easy, take a small step forward to increase the tension in the band.
Other Exercises To Use: Other great exercises to include in your workout include chest flyes, flat bench dumbbell flyes and the pec deck “butterfly” machine.