Five Upper Body Resistance Band Exercises

This five-move resistance band workout routine can help you work your upper body anywhere.

The absence of weights doesn’t have to mean the absence of a good workout. These five moves can help you craft an upper-body resistance band workout wherever you are.

Resistance bands come in a variety of styles, so finding the best one for your needs may vary. These exercises utilize a resistance tube with handles. However, you can modify each exercise with other band types as well. When choosing a resistance tube, use a weight that is challenging but won’t affect your form.

Mary Lauff, a Health Fitness Specialist of Corporate Fitness who works at the DICK’S Sporting Goods Customer Support Center Health Club, recommends performing three sets for each of these exercises. If your goal is muscle gain, she suggests a heavier weight with four to six reps. Meanwhile, if you want to work on your muscular endurance, she recommends a lighter weight with 12 to 15 reps.

BICEP CURL

Woman Doing Bicep Curl With Resistance Band

A bicep curl is a classic gym move that can help you build and strengthen your bicep muscles. This resistance band exercise for arms works both biceps at the same time.

STEPS:
  • Step on the center of the band with both feet, shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the handles next to your sides with your palms facing up.
  • Slowly curl your hands up toward your shoulders. Make sure to keep your elbows tucked, next to your sides.
  • Slowly release your arms down to the starting position and repeat.

SHOULDER PRESS

Shoulder Press With Resistance Band

With this modified overhead press, you can build and strengthen your deltoids. During a shoulder press, you also engage your core muscles to stabilize your body.

STEPS:
  • Stand on the center of the band with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Grip the handles at shoulder height.
  • Bend your elbows 90 degrees with your palms facing forward. The band should be behind your arms.
  • Press your arms straight up. If you cannot keep your arms straight, try using lighter resistance.
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

TRICEP KICKBACKS

Tricep Kickbacks With Resistance Band

If you’re looking for a move to tone and strengthen your arms, the tricep kickback is for you. This move requires a full range of motion with your arms, so it may be best to start light on the weight.

STEPS:
  • Step on the center of the tube with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Keep your back straight, bend slightly at the knees and lean forward over your toes. Your back should be as flat as possible to avoid unnecessary stress on your lower back.
  • Grip the handles so that your palms are facing behind you and your arms bend at 90 degrees.
  • Keep your elbows tucked at your side and push the handles back until your arms straighten behind you.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

BENT OVER ROWS

Man Doing Bent Over Rows With Resistance Band

Bent over rows are great for strengthening your upper body. They primarily target your back muscles, but you will also use your arms and shoulders.

STEPS:
  • Step on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart to create tension in the band.
  • Bend slightly at the knees and lean forward over your toes. Keep your back flat.
  • With your arms fully extended toward your feet, grip the handles. Your palms should be facing each other.
  • Pinch your shoulder blades together, as you bring your hands to your chest, and push your chest toward the ground. Pull the handles up so that they reach the bottom of your chest. In this position you should bend your elbows behind you.
  • Hold and then slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

WOOD CHOP

Wood Chop With Resistance Band

The wood chop engages muscles in your body ranging from your shoulders to your quads. However, this exercise is primarily performed to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

STEPS:
  • Place one foot in the center of the tube. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  • Grip one handle with both hands, starting near your knees.
  • Bend your knees slightly and pull the handle diagonally across your body. Fully extend your arms so they rise over your opposite shoulder.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, repeat and switch sides.

Need a lower body workout, too? Check out this guide to five lower body resistance band exercises.