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Chest and Back Exercises


Human Resources
Fax: 202-885-2558
New Mexico, Room 350

Edwards, Carol M
Senior Director of Human Resource Service Delivery

Human Resources
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8054

Here are some exercises to strengthen your chest and back. A strong back is especially important in every day activities, and by strengthening it you may also reduce back pain and stiffness.

Chest Press-Band:

Stand with the band around you back and under your arms, holding the handles with your palms facing away and even with your chest. Assume a lunge position, with your knees bent only slightly.

Press your hands directly away from your chest to an extended position. Make sure to keep your hands shoulder width apart and your elbows close your body.

Chest Press Video

Pushup Video


Lie with your abdomen on an exercise ball and walk your hands forward on the floor until the ball rests under your thighs.

Keeping your back straight, lower your upper body to the floor. Push back up so that your elbows are nearly straight, but not locked. Remember to keep your abdominal muscles engaged throughout this exercise.

To increase the level of difficultly, perform this exercise with the ball closer to your feet.

Chest Fly-Band:

Stand with the band around your back and under your arms. Assume a lunge position with your knees bent slightly.

With your arms extended and raised to your sides, bring your palms together. Make sure to keep your arms straight as you bring your hands together.

Chest Fly Video

Seated Row Video

Seated Row-Band:

While sitting on the ground with your legs extended in front of you, position the resistance band so that the tubing runs around the bottom of your feet and up the outside of your legs. 

Grasp the handles with your palms facing towards the floor or inwards toward one another. Pull your hands Backwards until they are even with your body, and then return to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Upright Row-Band:

Stand on the tubing so that it runs under the arch of one foot. Assume a lunge position, with the opposite foot slightly behind. Grasp the handles with your palms facing backwards, and your arms at your sides.

Raise your hands, while keeping your palms facing backwards and slightly less than shoulder width apart. Make sure to lead with your elbows and finish with your hands under your chin.

Upright Row Video

Spinal Extension Video

Spinal Extension-Band:

Lie face down on the ground or a workout mat. Place the band behind your back, under your arms, and grab the band with your hands. 

Place your hands next to your head, and keeping your lower body stationary, raise your upper body using your lower back.

Lat Pulldown-(Band):

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, grab the exercise band at shoulder width and raise your hands above your head. With your palms facing forwards, pull your hands apart and lower your arms until they are even with your shoulders. In a controlled manner return to the starting position.

Lat Pulldown Video