Chest Expander – Core Strengthening Workouts to Try Now

   – Chest Expander –

The Chest expander is generally for Strandpulling, which is the general term for the practice of stretching steel springs, rubber cables, or latex tubing, as a form of exercise and as a competitive sport, with many specific movements designed to target different muscles and provide progressive resistance usually, but not always, to the upper body. Let’s get to know this simple but efficient workout equipment.

Chest Expander - Core Strengthening Workouts to Try Now
Chest Expander – Core Strengthening Workouts to Try Now

The chest expander has been used for medical rehabilitation since at least 1851, and they have been used in some formal physical education programs since at least the 1880s.

By the end of the 1800s, they were a common household exercise device, found in many affluent homes in parts of Europe. Strandpulling reached its height of popularity in the early 1900s, although they are still very commonly used as home-based exercise equipment.

The chest expander comprises a pair of handles joined by a variable number of springs or rubber cables. You can make it more challenging by adding it to your treadmill run.

Strandpulling with a chest expander can be done for a variety of fitness purposes, not just building chest muscles. There are several classic strand pulling movements, such as the Front Chest Pull and Lateral raise, and many more totaling well over 30 movements for the upper body alone.

Several of these classic strand pulling exercises have been used for competition, more so in the UK than elsewhere, and as a sport, it has enjoyed considerable popularity from time to time, with some competitors able to perform movements with enormous pull weights.

How to Use a Chest Expander

Ideally, the user holds a handle in each hand and pulls the handles apart against the resistance of the springs or cables. To increase the resistance as the muscles are developed, the user can simply add additional springs or cables. Watch a practical here while we break it down further.

Step 1

Grasp the expander’s handles and extend your arms forward, holding the expander at shoulder height with your palms facing each other. Exhale as you pull both handles sideways, then inhale as you return to the starting position. You’ll always exhale when you widen the expander and inhale when you shorten the device.

Step 2

Reverse your grip on the expander, so your palms face away from each other, then reach over your head and hold the device about shoulder-high behind your back. Exhale as you press each handle outward. Hold the handles higher, behind your head, to focus on your triceps, rather than your back and chest.

Step 3

Hold one handle behind the small of your back, then lift the other handle straight up from your shoulder to perform a shoulder press. Start the exercise with your upper hand behind your head and raise the expander by flexing your elbow to perform a triceps extension.

Step 4

Position the expander behind your back with your arms extended, then lift both arms straight to each side to do a lateral raise.

Step 5

Secure one of the expander’s handles with your right foot and grasp the other handle with your right hand. Pull your hand up to your shoulder to perform biceps curls.

Alternatively, secure a handle with your right foot, grip the other handle with your left hand and pull the expander diagonally to your left shoulder. Repeat the one-arm exercises with both arms. With time you can incorporate it into your indoor workouts like indoor cycling.

Strandpulling Workouts

Portable and relatively cheap, they provide a lightweight workout tool. Chest expanders are versatile, allowing you to perform a wide range of exercises in minimal space. Here are basic workouts you should try with it:

1. Two-Handed Chest Pull

The two-handed chest pull targets your upper back and rear shoulder muscles. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended in front of you.

Position your hands on the chest expander handles so that your palms are facing inwards.

Keeping your arms parallel to the floor and your elbows slightly bent, pull your arms outwards until the chest expander strands are touching your chest. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. This exercise can also be performed in a bent-over position for variation.

2. Overhead Downward Pull

To strengthen your latisimus dorsi muscles in your back and your lower trapezius muscles below your shoulder blades, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands by your sides. With a handle in each hand, raise your arms above your head and position your hands so that they are facing outwards.

Keeping your arms straight, pull your arms out and down until your arms are parallel to the floor and the cables are running behind your neck. Slowly raise your arms above your head and repeat. This exercise provides a good home alternative to the lateral pull-down machine at the gym.

3. One-Arm Biceps Curl

The one-arm biceps curl will develop the biceps muscles at the front of your upper arm. Place one handle under your left foot and hold the other in your left hand.

Keeping your elbow tucked into your side, bend your elbow and raise your hand to shoulder level. Pause in the most contracted position for a second before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions and then change sides.

4. One-Arm Military Press

To strengthen your shoulders and triceps, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the chest expander handles in your hands.

Place your left hand next to your hip and your right hand at shoulder level so that the cables run across your body diagonally.

Keeping your left hand in place, extend your right arm and press it overhead. Slowly return your right hand to shoulder level and repeat. On completion of your set, swap hands, and repeat.

5. Two-Hands Lateral Raise

This exercise will develop your shoulders, especially the lateral or side area. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

With a handle in each hand, position your hands so that they are facing inwards and your arms are in front of your hips. With your arms straight, lift your arms upwards and outwards until your hands are shoulder level. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Lifting heavy weights for a long time of period will bring muscular aches and joint troubles.

Expanders have got maximum or minimum resistance and these items will exercise the muscles from a different angle. Use it to strengthen your core and arms before or after rope skipping.

While still popular with some enthusiasts, steel springs have largely been superseded by rubber cables or tubing, although steel spring sets are still manufactured and sold around the world on a limited basis. The first rubberized versions appeared in 1857.

Modern developments of strand pulling include longer cables which provide a greater variety of whole-body movements, being largely cable-stretching substitutes for weight-training exercises. Many weight-trainers use cables for assistance movements in order to overcome sticking points, and/or speed enhancement.

Chest Expander - Core Strengthening Workouts to Try Now
Chest Expander – Core Strengthening Workouts to Try Now

Strandpulling can provide stand-alone progressive strength and endurance training, and be used as an addition to weight-training and other forms of exercise. Strandpulling is also used for rehabilitation and is generally easier on the joints (elbows, shoulders, etc.) than other forms of resistance training.

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