For many of us, the chest expander was the introduction to resistance training.
This favourite home exerciser has undergone many advancements over the years with today’s models being better than ever. In this article, I’ll take you through exactly what to look for in today’s models, and our picks for the best chest expanders on the market.
We’ll also show you how to get the maximum use of your chest expander and building those Arnold-esque pecs like you’ve always wanted!
Chest Expander Buyer’s Guide
Do chest expanders work?
While they might look like nothing special or complicated, we’ve found that chest expanders work incredibly well when used correctly.
When shopping for a chest expander, pay particular attention to the following aspects:
- Ability to secure the handles – when you are able to secure one handle to a fixed object, you provide yourself with a huge range of exercise options, including rowing and pressing movements.
- Secure grip/handles – you should look for a chest expander with a solid, secure and ergonomically positioned handle to provide you with a strong grip.
- High spec springs / cables – the reliability and durability of a chest expander depends entirely on the quality of the springs or cables. Look for an expander that provides you with at least a 12 month warranty on the springs in the event of loss of functionality.
- Number of springs – the more springs the expander comes with, the more progressive resistance you have access to. Look for an expander that provides you with 5 or more springs that are detachable so that you can add more as you get stronger.
Reviews – Top 7 Chest Expanders UK
Winline Chest Expander
The Winline Chest Expander provides its expander resistance in the form of natural latex rubber tubes that are very similar to what you get with resistance bands. The set comes with 5 detachable tubes, each of which provides you with the equivalent of 10kg resistance. The unstretched length of each band is 50 cm and they are made from premium quality material that is age resistant and does not produce a pungent odor.
The soft, ergonomic foam handles of the Winline Chest Expander make it easy to securely grip the expander. A protective sleeve covers the bulk of the bands to prevent injury while you are working out. This chest expander allows you to perform a wide variety pulling, pushing and rowing exercises safely and securely. It is an impressively lightweight, compact and portable set that will easily fit into your travel or gym bag.
- 5 detachable bands
- Premium latex rubber bands
- Soft ergonomic foam handles
- Lightweight and compact
- Protective sleeve
KOMODO Chest Expander
The Komodo Chest Expander is a conventional steel spring expander. It provides you with 5 quality springs that deliver a total strength equivalency of 30 kg. Each spring is detachable so that you can progressively add resistance as you get stronger. A carabiner attachment allows you to instantly add or remove resistance as you see fit. The unextended spring length is 27cm.
The handles on the Komodo Chest Expander are made from a durable plastic material and are ergonomically molded to fit your hands. The handle grips each measure 11 x 2.5 cm. The handle design allows you to easily slip a foot through one handle in order to work your legs or perform curling type exercises.
- 5 resistance springs
- Carabiner spring attachments
- 30kg resistance equivalence
- Ergonomic handles
- High spec steel springs
YNXing Adjustable Bench Press Assistance Resistance Bands
The YNXing Adjustable Bench Press Assistance Resistance Bands Removable Chest Expander is a unique device that allows you to perform a version of the bench press using just the bands and your body. The bands loop around your body as you lie on the floor and hold a bar that loops to the other ends of the bands. This allows you to perform a simulated bench press movement.
You get a lot of resistance choice with this system. There are four resistance levels with each level providing your with three options. The resistance ranges from 12 kilograms all the way up to 90 kilograms, making this set suitable for all members of the family. The six resistance bands are all removable, so that you are able to bench with two, four or six bands.
- Simulates the bench press movement
- 12 kg to 90 kg resistance
- Comes with separate bar handle
- Soft foam handles
- Lightweight and compact for travel
A-System Power Twister
The A System Power Twister is a throwback to the old Bullworker of the 1980s. It is comprised of two metal arms that come from a central base to form an A shape. The idea is to grip the handles and squeeze them together.
You are able to adjust the tension to provide progressive resistance as you get stronger. This makes the A System Power Trainer more of an isometric than an isotonic exerciser. That means that it will strengthen your muscles in one position more effectively than through your complete range of motion.
The A System Power Twister has a high tension spring in the central housing which provides smooth, natural movement. This is a solidly made steel device that will last for many years.
- Isometric resistance
- Tension adjustment
- Solid steel construction
- Weighs just 1.8 kg
- Rubber covered handles
Dedeka Arm Machine Workout System
The Dedeka Arm Machine Workout system is a uniquely designed multi use upper body trainer. It features a centrally located spring system that provides adjustable resistance frim 10 to 200 kg. The ergonomic soft grip handles allow for a secure, firm grip and the triangle arm design provides the utmost rigidity.
Resistance adjustment on this device is made by way of a simple twist of the wrist so you can instantly add or subtract weight as needed. You can use this device for everything from the chest press to bicep curls and triceps extensions. And it all folds up to an extremely compact and portable unit that can be thrown into the corner of your travel bag.
- 10 to 200 kg
- Ergonomic soft grip
- Works all upper body muscles
- Compact and lightweight
- Central spring
DOBEN Professional Power Twister
The Doben Professional Power Twister consists of a professional carbon steel spring that has plastic handles on each end. You bend the spring to provide resistance to your chest, arms and forearms. You can choose between 5 spring resistances as follows:
- 20 kg
- 30 kg
- 40 kg
- 50 kg
- 60 kg
The anti-slip ABS plastic handle on the twister provides you with a secure grip. This a lightweight, easy to carry device that will provide an effective isometric contraction to build strength at specific positions of muscular tension.
While these twister models are not quite as versatile as some of the chest expanders reviewed above, they do give you some serious resistance and are an inexpensive way to add some variety to your home gym.
- Carbon steel spring
- 5 resistance levels to choose from
- Anti-slip ABS handles
- Effective isometric strength builder
iHuniu Power Twister Bar
The iHunui Power twister is a straight bar twister that has centrally located carbon high grade steel spring to provide the resistance. The anti-slip handles are made from molded plastic. There are 8 twister resistance levels to choose from ranging from 30 kg to a massive 120 kg.
The iHunui Power Twister comes with built-in hand-straps to ensure that you are getting a solid grip on the bar as you exercise. This is another lightweight, portable device that does a good job of providing isometric resistance at specific points during your muscle’s range of motion.
- 8 twister resistance levels to chose from
- Up to 120 kg resistance
- Built-in hand straps
- Anti-slip plastic molded handles
- Carbon high grade steel spring
Is the Chest Expander a Good Exercise Machine?
As mentioned earlier, many people were introduced to the chest expander early on in their resistance training career. This leads many to believe that the chest expander is a beginner’s tool that becomes redundant when you move on to weight training. While chest expanders will never replace weights, they can be used as an effective auxiliary movement for anyone wanting to develop a more muscular, stronger upper body.
The chest expander will help you to develop functional strength through the ligaments and tendons. At the same time they are able to exercise your pectoral muscles through their full range of motion under progressive tension. This will enable you to place the stress on the muscle cells of your chest that will cause micro tears. When fed with amino acids, your damaged chest muscle cells will be able to grow back stronger and bigger.
Chest Expander Benefits
A chest expander is a low cost way to get a resistance chest workout in anywhere anytime. This simple device is very lightweight and portable, so you can use it anywhere. Chest expanders allow you to give the muscles of your upper body a variable resistance workout that is quite similar to resistance bands. The further the expander moves from the handle, the greater the resistance.
You can use the expander by holding it it front of you with both hands as well as affixing one handle to a fixed object. This will allow you to perform both pushing and pressing movements that simulate what you can do on a cable machine in a commercial gym.
A chest expander will also allow you to hold an extended position isometric contraction. This will allow you to develop strength in that particular position.
Is a chest expander a good choice when you have an injury?
Yes, a chest expander is a good choice if you have an injury. Using a chest expander is a far lower impact form of resistance training than using dumbbells and barbells. This makes it a good stepping stone to transitioning back to exercise if you are recovering from a shoulder, pec, back or arm injury.
Chest expanders also allow you to build isometric strength in specific positions, which can help you on the road to recovery.
Is a chest expander safe to use?
Yes, a chest expander is very safe to use. Unlike barbells or dumbbells, you are not actually having to handle the actual weight resistance. As a result, there is no danger of dropping a weight on your chest (or your toe!). Cable chest expanders are far less taxing on your joints. With a chest expander, you also do not have to stop the downward force of inertia.
How many exercises can you do with a chest expander?
A chest expander can do as many exercises as you can do with a set of resistance bands, depending on the design of the expander. So long as you are able to secure one end of the expander to a fixed object you can perform all manner of rowing and pushing exercises, including seated rowing, chest press, bicep curls and triceps pushdowns.
Are there any dangers associated with a chest expander?
Yes, there are some unique dangers associated with chest expanders. Even though they are generally safe, there does exist the danger of the cable quickly snapping back, which may cause injury to the limbs or torso on impact. You should also regularly check your expander cables to ensure that they are not faulty.
What are the best chest expander exercises?
The best chest expander exercises are those that simulate upper body exercises performed with barbells, dumbbells and cables. These include the chest fly, chest press, bicep curl, triceps extension. press down, lat row and shoulder press. You can create an effective chest expander workout by rotating through these exercises.
When it comes to upper body home exercise equipment, the chest expander is an oldie but a goodie. It will provide you with an effective introduction to upper body resistance training and an auxiliary to your regular gym workouts.
Our top pick for best chest expander on the 2020 market is the Winline Chest Expander, with its 5 detachable latex rubber tubes and soft ergonomic handles. It’s affordable, well made, and should give you that big pump on your chest home workout that you’ve been looking for.
If you prefer the mechanical version, we’d recommend getting the A-System power twister. With a strong metal frame and many adjustable levels of resistance, it is suitable for a large range of chest exercises and arm workouts (see here.)
If you’d prefer the single spring power twister, we’d recommend the DOBEN Power Twister Rod. It’s a heavy duty arm twister at a single resistance, but for the old school iron junkies they’re an old favourite and still extremely effective.
Last update on 2021-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API