Looking for a chest pump? Quick and convenient workouts with minimal kit? You’re in the right place!

Resistance bands are the ideal piece of kit for those who don’t have much room, don’t have the opportunity to go to a gym, and are short on time.

With resistance bands, they are versatile, flexible, and easy to transport around with you whenever and wherever you may want to do a quick workout.

Additionally, using resistance bands for a chest workout can actually be very effective in building muscle strength, endurance, and mass as you are putting the muscles under constant tension while incorporating explosive pulling and pushing motions that force damage and growth.

Resistance bands provide you with a stimulus that would be a great addition to any free weight and machine-based training program, as bands would promote the small stabilizing muscles to fire up, which aren’t often solely targeted by big compound movements such as the bench press.

Resistance bands are cheap, accessible, lightweight, and portable, and this article shows you how to make the best use out of such a simple piece of kit, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gym-goer!

We will take you through the top 5 chest exercise demos–some simple chest exercises you can do with bands, then we will take you through some example workouts so you can put the knowledge to the test and challenge yourself to do a tough chest workout!

Firstly, a brief look at the anatomy of the chest so you can familiarize yourself with the muscles you’ll be targeting, so you know where to expect to feel the burn!

Chest Anatomy 101

The main dominant muscles in the upper chest are the pectoralis major (better known as “pecs”). This muscle stretches from the armpit up to the collarbone and across the lower chest on both sides. The two sides connect at the sternum, center of your chest.

The pectoralis minor, located under the pectoralis major, is a thin triangle-shaped muscle that runs down the upper ribs.

Other major muscles in the upper torso include:

  • Trapezius, which runs across the top of the shoulders, back, and neck
  • Rhomboid major, attached to the shoulder blade
  • Deltoid, which is what gives the shoulders its round shape
  • Triceps, which are located on the upper back of the arm

There are many more muscles in the upper torso that would be worked during a chest workout, particularly the rotator cuff muscles. However, the above muscles are the ones that will be mostly worked during the following exercises and workouts.

So, expect to feel some burning sensations in the pecs, triceps, and even your shoulders and core during some movements.

You’ll be working a big muscle group in the body, so ensure you’re warmed up, your muscles are primed, and you’re engaging the correct muscles while bracing and checking your form and technique religiously to avoid injury!

Top 5 Resistance Band Chest Exercises

1) Resistance Band Push-Up

Push-ups are a staple chest workout, so including this exercise in this list is a no-brainer! Introducing a band into this classic bodyweight movement works the chest harder, putting the muscles under constant tension.

This movement activates the pecs, arms, upper back, and even abs!

To do this movement:

  • Wrap the loop of the band around the palm of your left hand and pass it behind your back
  • Grab the other end with your right hand
  • Get into a press-up position with the band in between your palms and the floor
  • Legs extended, back flat, abs and glutes engaged
  • Lower yourself to the floor slow and controlled, keeping your elbows tucked into your sides
  • When your chest is near the ground, hold for a moment before pressing back up explosively

2) Chest Press

Another staple chest exercise, the chest press!

Find a pole or bar, anything that you can wrap the band around to grab each end in each hand with the bar behind you.

Then:

  • Take a step forward, bringing your arms parallel to the floor and fists stopping in line with your chest
  • Keep your back straight, core braced
  • Press out the band in front of you while engaging your chest muscles
  • Press out until your hands almost touch when the arms are extended

Tip: Ensure you don’t let your shoulders round or drift forward. Keep your chest open wide with your shoulders pulled back and down, like you’re trying to put your shoulder blades in your back pockets.

Start light with this movement before increasing the weight!

3) Lower Chest Fly

For this move, you may need resistance bands with handles or a closed-loop band due to the amount of stretch required.

For this movement:

  • Run the band under your feet and stand straight and tall
  • Grab each end of the resistance band and hold the ends (handles) at waist height
  • Keep your shoulders back and down
  • Raise your arms straight up, palms facing the ceiling until your arms reach eye level
  • Slowly lower down in a controlled manner

Tip: focus on contracting your chest muscles at the top of the movement and keeping the tension there on the way down

4) Single-Arm Band Crossover

You’d typically see this move being done on a cable machine in the gym, though a resistance band is just as effective!

Find a bar, tree, or pole to wrap the band around and thread through itself, so you have one end to use.

To do this movement:

  • Stand side on to the band with feet hip-width apart
  • Grab the resistance band with the hand closest to the band
  • Take a few steps away to create some resistance
  • Your arm should be out to your side, palm at about head-height and facing the floor
  • Using your corresponding pec, pull the handle down towards the ground while keeping the arm almost locked at the elbow
  • The band should cross the midpoint of your body, flexing your chest as you arrive
  • Go back to the starting position in a controlled manner
  • Repeat the reps on the opposite arm

5) Resistance Band Pullover

You may want to do this one on a soft surface!

Once again, locate a pole, tree, or bar to wrap the band around

To do this movement:

  • Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet pressed into the ground
  • Position yourself so you can reach behind you to grab onto the band
  • There should be resistance, but ensure there is enough length to do the complete move with food form
  • Grab the band with both hands and pull over your head, engaging your chest
  • Your hands should end up directly over your line of sight when looking up towards the ceiling
  • Hold for a few seconds at the top of the move, elbows locked out, before lowering to the starting position in a controlled manner

Resistance Band Chest Workouts

Now that you know how to do the top 5 chest exercises using resistance bands, it’s time to put these moves into a workout.

Here are 2 example chest workouts with a few extra moves thrown in to provide you with a big muscle pump!

Workout 1

  • Band push-ups - 4 x sets of 10-15 reps
  • Chest press – 4 x sets of 10-15 reps
  • Single-arm crossover – 4 x sets of 10-15 reps each arm

Rest 2-3 minutes between each set

Finisher

3 rounds of:

1 minute of max push-ups

Rest 2 minutes between each round

Workout 2

5 rounds of:

  • Resistance band pullover – 10-15 reps
  • Standing lower chest fly – 10-15 reps
  • Chest press – 10-15 reps

Rest 2-3 minutes between each set

Finisher

3 rounds of:

1 minute of max tricep dips (using a chair or bench)

Rest 2 minutes between each round

Take-Home Tips

Don’t forget to warm up before trying these movements and workouts. You are working a big muscle that relies on the optimal movement of the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulders. Ensure these are warmed and primed for you to begin while avoiding injury!

Make sure you’re always checking your form. Keep your core engaged, chest contracted, upright posture when applicable, feet planted into the ground to form a solid base, and pausing at the top of each movement.

Change up the rep ranges as you wish—the heavier the band, the lower the rep range will be. Lower rep ranges tend to target strength gains, mid to higher rep ranges focus more on hypertrophy (muscle building), and muscular endurance. If you want a good pump, we recommend high rep ranges and pushing your muscles to failure!

Adjust your positions bases on your needs. If you need more or less resistance, move your anchor around, or use different weighted bands more suitable for you and the movement.

If you want more of a pump in the arms, check out more workouts that target the triceps.

Ensure you’re fuelling adequately before and after your session to give your muscles the nutrients they need to perform and recover optimally!