How to Use Chest Expanders

Updated April 17, 2017

When you're working out, sometimes you need a deep push to get the results you desire. Chest expanders are used to strengthen and tone muscles, often extending your muscles further than what you can do yourself. Although many brands have created their own rendition of the fitness tool using different designs, lengths and tensions, the standard expander has several cables or elastic cords with grip handles on either side. Don't let their simple design fool you -- using them properly will give you longer, leaner tone with access to a large variety of your muscles.

Select the tension expander that matches the workout you'll be doing first. Decide how tight you need the cable to be, remembering that you can always choose a tighter one if you don't feel the stretch you need after several repetitions.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the expander with a handle in each hand. Place the cables behind your back with your arms stretched out wide. Check your posture to make sure you are standing as if your body was the letter "T." Slowly pull your hands together forward as if you were going to clash them together. Feel your pectoral muscles expand and contract as you move through the routine. Commit to 12 to 15 reps for two to three sets.

Use your tightest cord and rotate the expander directly in front of you with your feet hip-distance apart. Stand with your expander in each hand, with them outstretched wide like the letter "T." Begin your set by pulling your arms backward to pinch your shoulder blades back as if you were squeezing a pencil in place. Do short pumps backward and forward for a complete set; with the tighter resistance, lower your repetitions to 8 to 10 reps for two to three sets.

Stand with both feet on the band using long expander bands. Place the handle underneath your right foot, and your left foot on the cable, hip-width apart. Bend over and pick up the other handle with your left hand. Stand straight up and lift the handle, pulling the handle straight up in line with your shoulder. Lower your arm about 30 degrees away from your hip out to the side. Lower to your waist, then raise your arm up in line with your shoulder again. This completes the first full set. Repeat the series on your left side for 10 reps for one to two sets. Reset the expander on your right side to repeat.

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About the Author

Crystal Green is a marketing and event management consultant specializing in non-profit organizations and small businesses. Green spent the last seven years working for a statewide education association directing their trade publications, writing articles for programs' training teams and other event-related freelance projects. Green hold a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, and is currently working on advanced degrees.