Chest Expansion Exercise: How To, Benefits,…

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There are many movements you can add to your workout routine. Discover how to do the chest expansion exercise and what it does.

Chest expansions are an exercise where you stand up straight, hold your arms horizontally, and move them outward and backward.

You can hold the stretched position for a few seconds, potentially with the help of something like a wall, or go for the more dynamic arm crosses exercise.

The chest expansion exercise can be useful as a warmup, to improve flexibility in your chest and front deltoid muscles, and to improve shoulder mobility.

In simpler words, this is more of a flexibility and mobility movement instead of an exercise that really works your muscles a lot.

How to do the chest expansion exercise

Take the following steps to do the chest expansion exercise:

  1. Stand up straight and point your arms forward horizontally. It tends to be smart to pull your shoulder blades back and down.
  2. Move your arms out to the sides and back as far as comfortable while holding them horizontally.
  3. Hold for a few seconds or move them back and forth more dynamically.
How to do the chest expansion exercise

If you are not used to moving your arms in positions like this you want to start slow and controlled.

As you get more warmed up and more flexible you can consider doing chest expansions farther and faster.

Chest expansion exercise muscles worked

Before heading into the details you want to know that the chest expansion exercise “works” different muscles in different ways.

First of all, the chest expansion exercise “works” your chest, front deltoid (shoulder), and back deltoid muscles to move your arms back and forth.

However, since the horizontal movements barely offer resistance, you should not really expect any training progress in these areas.

The main relevant point of the chest expansion exercise is that it can stretch your chest and front deltoid muscles when your arms point back enough.

You can stretch these muscles dynamically by moving your arms back and forth or statically by holding them in a stretched position.

Chest expansion exercise benefits

Most people turn to resistance training but stretching exercises like the chest expansion can offer benefits too. A few of these are:

  1. Injury prevention: It is often smart to warm up the muscles around your shoulder joints before doing intense exercises. Doing the chest expansion dynamically can help with this.
  2. Flexibility and mobility: By challenging your flexibility and mobility with the chest expansion exercise you can improve your skills in these areas.
  3. Improved athletic performance: Dynamically warming up your shoulder muscles and joints with active chest expansions can improve your athletic performance.
  4. No equipment or location required: Getting fitter (and more flexible) does not always require fitness equipment or a gym subscription. You can do the chest expansion exercise without these.
  5. Can improve posture: Having tight chest muscles can make you hunch your back. To avoid this, the chest expansion exercise can help.

Chest expansions are not the only exercise that offers these benefits but they can be a good choice.

Chest expansion exercise alternatives

It is possible that you don’t love chest expansions or simply want to try other movements with similar effects.

In these cases, some of the chest expansion alternatives can be a good choice:

  • Arm crosses
  • Hands behind the back
  • Arm circles
  • Chest opener
  • Arm wall stretch

You can try out these chest expansion alternatives to see which ones you like the most and which ones offer the most results.

Is the chest expansion a good exercise?

The chest expansion can be a good exercise for improving flexibility in your chest and front deltoid muscles, shoulder mobility, and warming up.

If you are currently not that great in these areas yet, you want to start with controlled and likely smaller motions.

People who are not interested in the benefits of stretching likely want to turn to other exercises instead.

And even if you do like the benefits of the chest expansion exercise, you could prefer one of the alternatives that offer similar positive effects.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.