The resistance band in one of the most versatile pieces of equipment available in the gym. Although they have their downsides which I will also discuss, having a good knowledge of exercises available to you with your resistance band will help you both progress and maintain you current levels of health and fitness.
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For me personally, the best use of resistance band for stimulating the chest is when I am away on holiday and I do not have access to any form of weights. This is when band resisted press ups are one of the best exercises you will have access to for targeting your chest. Bands are extremely easy to have with you at all times, so they are the perfect tool for training whilst away on holiday.
If you’re someone who has just been using your bodyweight to train, then buying a band will be a good way to add resistance to your current exercises in an affordable, minimalist way. Just using your bodyweight can get a little bit repetitive, if you are looking to add more variety with a band, have a look through our band movement exercise library .
Maintaining strength without a gym was very important for many of us during the pandemic when there was little access to weights due to gym closures. These periods of maintenance can still occur, when for whatever reason we do not have access to a gym. Resistance bands are one of the most effective ways to ensure that we maintain good training practices throughout periods that we do not have access to weights.
As you can see from this list, resistance bands do not add a huge amount of variety to your exercise selection, especially horizontal pressing. This means that yes although they do add some exercise variations that can help you progress your training, they are by no means enough to create an extensive training plan around. If you are building a home gym, I heavily advice getting bands, sliders and kettlebells. This will allow you to build an extensive training programme.
Resistance training can be very effective for maintenance and for making bodyweight training more challenging. That being said, they simply do not provide enough resistance (in most cases) to create long term hypertrophic and strength gains. I suggest that if you are going to be doing a lot of your training with resistance bands, invest in the high tension rogue ones as that will give you a chance to progress over time.
If you do not have a large variety of resistance bands with differing band tensions then you will be unable to apply progressive overload . Progressive overload is when there is an increase in difficulty (through volume and intensity) overtime. This increase will not be able to be applied successfully if you have only one band for example.
The Press Up with Band Resistance is by far the best exercise for the chest with a resistance band. Be sure that the hands are firmly holding down the each side of the band as you will be applying a lot of force through it. Also ensure that the tempo of the press up isn’t increased due to the added band resistance, just because there is a force pushing against you doesn’t mean you should be rushing through the repetitions.
Unfortunately this isn’t in our movement library. This involves being in the tall kneeling position (as seen below), facing away from the fixed point of the resistance band with the band in the hand. Then the hand press away from the chest and away from the fixed point of the band.
The tall kneeling overhead press is not officially a horizontal press movement (chest) but I thought I would add it to this list as it is an excellent upper body pressing exercise that you can use in your training regime. With a high tension resistance band this can be a very effective pressing exercise.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.