The Upper Body Exercise Your Workout Is Missing

Man doing banded pushups
 Photograph by Justin Steele

If you’re knocking out sets of 15 conventional pushups and looking for a challenge, a resistance band is a great next step. “The resistance is more constant throughout the motion because you have to control it on the eccentric—or lowering—portion of the move,” says Tim Crowder, an athletic performance coach in Austin, TX, and a former pro football player. The added pull forces you to keep your core engaged even more. (Some of Crowder’s clients complain this move is harder than a bench press for that reason.)

Beginners should use a lighter band with less resistance, since even a few extra pounds of pressure will feel heavy and maintaining good form is paramount. As you gain strength, you can add resistance by pulling the band taut or swapping in a thicker one. If your gym has them, loop the band around small pushup bars or flat-sided dumbbells and push off them for more control. Start with three sets of five and move up in resistance when you are again hitting sets of 15.