If you’re looking to tone the upper body but don’t want to go for regular gym workouts, a chest expander might be helpful. Chest expanders are good for toning our chest muscles and building strength in our arms and back. If you use it properly and regularly, you will have a more toned torso and an overall fitter body. Such stretching exercises might also be good for dealing with back pain, especially when paired with massage therapy.
What is a Chest Expander?
A chest expander is a simple piece of exercise equipment consisting of a set of springs or rubber bands attached to two handles. Resistance is felt as the user stretches the handles and the band or spring is stretched. Most chest expanders have expandable cables, and the handles offer a level of grip on both ends. With consistent use, a chest expander can cause the muscle to adapt and become stronger.
Why Should You Get a Chest Expander?
With many people working from home and generally staying inside most of the day, it’s even more important to exercise daily. Some even say that sitting is the new smoking, especially now that we binge-watch shows for entertainment or scroll through our phones whenever we have a spare moment. In addition to being addictive, constantly sitting is also bad for our health, posture, and mental health.
A sedentary lifestyle also means that we should incorporate a stretching routine along with other exercises. This will help prevent any strains or muscle pains after a long day of work. A chest expander is a logical investment here, as it will help us get into the habit of stretching and also help to tone our bodies at the same time.
When you use dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells to exercise, the end of the movement involves less resistance than the start. With chest expanders and other cable exercises, the tension starts off at a mild level but increases at the end of the stretching movement. This gives us several advantages concerning muscle development. For the best results, those who are into bodybuilding would want to combine chest expanders with regular weights.
Benefits of Chest Expanders
Chest expanders cannot replace free weights, resistance machines, or going to the gym. However, they are great exercise equipment that can help you perform effective exercises for building functional strength. Here are some benefits of chest expanders that might make you consider owning one:
1. It offers a lot of benefits for your body.
We all know that exercise is beneficial for living a healthier life, but using chest expanders along with working out can help amplify the benefits for your body. Here are some benefits that chest expanders can offer for your health:
It can help increase the muscle strength of your chest wall.
When you combine breathing exercises and yoga with using the chest expander, your chest’s muscle strength increases. Every time you breathe, your rib cage muscles expand and contract to accommodate changes in the volume of your lungs. Regularly doing exercises to stretch and strengthen those muscles allows your chest wall to expand and contract deeper when you breathe.
It helps increase lung capacity.
Yoga is a practice that includes lots of breathing exercises, and when done with the assistance of chest expanders, it can increase lung capacity and improve respiratory breathing. As the chest wall becomes capable of expanding more, the volume of air you can take in increases. And the more air you take in, the more oxygen is available for circulating in your body. In the end, it can improve your overall respiratory function. The benefits won’t happen with one use of the chest expander, though – you should continue exercising regularly to see results.
It improves blood circulation.
If the lung capacity increases, It also has a positive effect on blood circulation and blood pressure. As you will be able to breathe deeper, your blood pressure can also lower as more oxygen circulates throughout the body. In the long run, you can also experience other benefits, including an increase in energy, improved sleep, a slower resting heart rate, and a decrease in stress.
2. It allows you to perform different exercises, making it a versatile workout tool.
Despite the name, chest expanders work out more than the chest and pectoral muscles. It can work almost every muscle in the upper body, including your biceps, triceps, shoulders, deltoids, traps, and upper back muscles. You can do shoulder presses, bicep curls, and lateral flies on this exercise tool. It can mimic almost any workout you can do using a dumbbell or an exercise machine. Plus, it has the additional benefit of enabling you to work your muscles from any angle.
By looping one handle around the foot and holding another one in your hand, you can use it to work out your legs. You can also attach one handle to a solid, fixed object and perform exercises like you would on a cable machine. Its uses are only limited by your flexibility and imagination.
3. It’s portable.
Not everyone has a designated exercise area within their home, and some might also like to do their exercise outdoors. This is why having portable exercise equipment is a plus.
Chest expanders are very light and portable. It weighs only a few pounds and is compact enough to fit in a bag to take along with you on vacations or trips. Instead of carrying around a weight set that offers the same level of resistance, you can pack some chest expanders with you.
4. It’s cheap.
A chest expander has many advantages over traditional weights like barbells and dumbbells. For one, it’s cheaper. A standard set of chest expanders costs between $20 and $50, and it offers resistance that weights can also offer.
5. It’s safe.
Chest expanders are safer in comparison to high-resistance exercise equipment like free weights and exercise machines. With free weights, you need enough inertia while lifting, which can make it harsh on the joints. It may also lead to issues if not done properly. Meanwhile, the cables on chest expanders are smoother and less unstable. The safety links and handles are designed to prevent accidental snaps of the strings. It poses less risk for elderly adults, which makes it a suitable workout tool for those who are aging but want to remain fit.
However, as with any exercise equipment, accidents may happen. The resistance loads on the elastic tubes can be high, and if the handle unexpectedly snaps back, it will be painful. Chest expanders that use metal springs instead of elastic tubes can be more dangerous to use, as these springs can pinch your skin and get caught in your hair. The best way to avoid these accidents is to learn how to use them properly.
6. Some chest expanders are adjustable.
Adjustable chest expanders will allow beginners to start their workouts at the lowest level of resistance. Once you get used to working out at that level, you can easily adjust to cater to your fitness level. Some expander models even allow us to add more bands to enhance the strength of the chest expander.
7. You can find one that is suitable for your needs.
Chest expanders come in all shapes and sizes, so you have to think about what your end goals are. For women who want to lose their postpartum weight, chest expanders for yoga are the best way to go. These are usually made of soft and safe materials and won’t put too much pressure on the body. At the same time, it’s possible to work your way to a more toned body with the help of such equipment.
Tips for Using a Chest Expander
When working out using a chest expander, here are a few tips to keep in mind for you to maximize the benefits you can get from this workout tool:
- Make sure you have the correct posture and proper body alignment while using a chest expander.
- Take a class with a professional trainer or hire one to ensure you’re doing correct chest expansion exercises or yoga poses.
- Focus on even breathing through the nose while using an exercise or yoga pose with a chest expander.
- Always start out with easy exercises before moving gradually to more challenging workouts to prevent injuries and discomfort.
What Kind of Chest Expander Do You Need?
Depending on your fitness goal, the right chest expander could be made from various materials. There are soft chest expanders that are made of rubber, silicone, and similar materials. Others are made of steel, sometimes with metal springs.
A chest expander is the most attractive option for those who want to perform some advanced weight or strength training without the strain of heavy weights. Trainees and experts in calisthenics will also want to use expanders, especially in the training phase. Going for the soft ones would be best if you’re still a beginner with chest expanders.
There might be a lot of chest expanders to choose from, but we’d usually recommend going for the soft kind if you’re a beginner. This type of exercise is also good for pairing with yoga, which again requires a soft chest expander rather than the more hard-core ones.