How to Train With Chest Expanders

Written by kimberli nalven
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How to Train With Chest Expanders
Chest expanders are relatively inexpensive at about £15 each. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Chest expanders is a vintage name for a version of today's resistance bands, which resemble the originals but have been upgraded with modern materials for today's strength-training needs. While original chest expanders consisted of two handgrips strung together by 3 or 4 rubber cords or steel springs, today's versions still use multiple cords but are made with non-metal, rubber and plastic materials. According to experts at Old Time Strongman, chest expanders target areas for toning and strengthening that free weights cannot; they allow for a smoother, more consistent resistance than weights and can make more traditional exercises more challenging.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Comfortable gym clothes
  • Chest expander
  • Weightlifting gloves (optional)

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Choose and purchase a chest expander that provides you with a medium resistance. Going for too stiff resistance will make it difficult to get an adequate workout and too light a resistance will not give you long-term use of the equipment.

    How to Train With Chest Expanders
    Chest expanders are relatively inexpensive at about £15 each. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Dress in comfortable exercise clothes and shoes before beginning the workout.

  3. 3

    Begin your workout with a warm-up bicep curl on each arm. Place the ball of your right foot on one handle. Grasp the other handle with your right hand and curl. Curl slowly and controlled for 30 seconds before switching arms and feet.

    How to Train With Chest Expanders
    Hold the curl for a couple of seconds before releasing for a maximum workout. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)
  4. 4

    Move to a tricep extension by holding one handle at chest level, knuckles facing up, and extending the other handle down and back to engage the tricep to a complete extension. Repeat for 30 seconds.

  5. 5

    Holding each of the chest expander handle grips out in front, at chest level, pull the handles away from each other to the furthest extent possible and then relax. Repeat for 30 seconds.

  6. 6

    Raise the chest-level chest expander above your head and repeat 30 more seconds of the opposition pull outlined in step 5.

  7. 7

    Continue through the warm-up series and repeat in 60 second intervals for a fuller workout. Add any additional weight-training exercises you'd normally do with weights, but replace with the chest expander. Moving the chest expander a few inches in any direction can help work additional angles of the same muscle.

    How to Train With Chest Expanders
    The chest expander can replace the dumbbell used in most exercises. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

  • To deliver the combination of a cardiovascular and strength training workout in one session, use less tension on the resistance bands of the chest expanders and increase your repetitions of each exercise. Move from one muscle group to the next without resting in between exercises to keep your heart rate up.
  • Because chest expanders are made from stretchy, rubber bands, they can inflict a painful sting, welt or bruise if the grips slip out of your grasp while using them. Be cautious when working out and consider weightlifting gloves or chalk to prevent hand slippage.

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