Do you want to make your upper body stronger and toned without spending a lot of money on gym equipment? Then try a resistance band workout at home
The resistance bands provide a simple yet effective way to target your arms, shoulders, chest, and back with challenging resistance training.
Resistance bands are very popular because they are easy to use, versatile. It can help you build strength at home or on the go.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best resistance band exercises to shape and define your upper body.
Please bookmark this blog for future reference whenever you need a quick, equipment-free workout at home.
Let’s get started!
- Why Use Resistance Bands For An Upper-Body Workout?
- 1. Ease of use
- 2. Cost-Effective and Portability
- 3. Joint-Friendly
- 4. Increased Muscle Activation
- 5. Safety
- 10 Best Resistance Band Upper Body Exercises
- 1. Standing Band Chest Press
- 3. Resistance Band Fly
- 3. Resistance Band Bent Over Rows
- 4. Bands Lats Pulldowns
- 5. Resistance Band Shoulder Press
- 6. Resistance Band Lateral Raises
- 7. Resistance Band Pull Apart
- 8. Resistance Band Curls
- 9. Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown
- 10. Resistance Band Pallof Press
- Training Plan To Build Stronger Upper Body
- Band Upper Body Workout Plans To Build Mass and Strength
- Upper Body Workout Routine For Beginner
- Band Workout Routine For Intermediate
Why Use Resistance Bands For An Upper-Body Workout?
Resistance bands are an excellent strength training tool specifically for upper body workouts. Bands are a portable, joint-friendly way to shape arms, shoulders, chest, and back.
Read on to learn why using resistance bands is important for building a strong upper body.
1. Ease of use
You can use resistance bands to do many different exercises that work all the major muscles in your upper body. This makes them a good choice for people of all fitness levels, from new to experienced athletes.
You can adjust the resistance level of the band by changing the way you grip the band or by shortening its length. This allows you to increase the difficulty as your strength improves.
2. Cost-Effective and Portability
Resistance bands are cheaper than buying a whole set of weights or a gym membership. They are a good option for people who want to exercise on a budget.
These bands are small and light, so you can put them in a bag and drawer. This portability lets you work out anywhere.
Resistance bands are a low-impact option, which means they put less stress on your joints than weights.
This is especially helpful for people with joint problems or older adults who want to keep their strength without the strain.
4. Increased Muscle Activation
They provide continuous tension on your muscles throughout the entire range of motion. And increase muscle engagement and muscle growth.
Resistance bands are easy to use, even for beginners. You can do many different exercises with resistance bands to build muscle and strength.
This study found that resistance band training was effective in increasing muscle strength and size in older adults.
Whether you are recovering from an injury, just starting out on your fitness journey, or simply looking to strengthen your current routine. Then resistance band is for you.
Resistance bands are usually safe to use. They are also a good option for older adults, as they provide a low-impact workout that helps to improve flexibility and balance.
10 Best Resistance Band Upper Body Exercises
You can target every major upper body muscle group with resistance bands. This equipment-free option allows you to achieve strong, toned arms, shoulders, back, and chest.
Here we detail 10 of the most effective resistance band exercises for your next upper body workout.
1. Standing Band Chest Press
The band chest press is a popular resistance band exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the chest. It is a multijoint exercise, which means that it works multiple muscle groups, such as the shoulders and triceps.
Try another variation of the resistance band chest press.
- Single-Arm Band Press
- Alternating Standing Band Press
- Wide-Stance Standing Band Press
- Kneeling Band Press
How To Do
- Anchor band at chest height. The band should be at chest level.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the resistance band in each hand.
- Maintain upright posture, engage core, keep elbows tucked
- Press both hands forward until arms are straight.
- Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.
- Use full range of motion on each rep
- Perform slow, controlled motions focusing on muscle squeeze.
3. Resistance Band Fly
If you’re looking for straightforward band chest exercises to add to your routine, band flys are a great staple exercise to get you started.
The band fly is a great band exercise that helps isolate the chest muscles. It helps to develop and define the chest muscles specifically the Inner pectoral muscles.
You can try other variations of the band fly to build a bigger upper body.
- The low to high band fly exercise helps develop and define the upper chest.
- The high to low band fly is a great exercise to target the lower portion of your chest.
How To Do
- Anchor a resistance band at chest height.
- Hold a handle in each hand as you stand away from the anchor.
- Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height.
- Keep a slight bend in your elbows as you hug your arms together.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Squeeze your chest at the end of the movement.
- Don’t bounce or jerk the bands.
3. Resistance Band Bent Over Rows
Resistance band bent over rows are a popular back exercise that targets the muscles of the upper back, including the rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi. They are a compound exercise that also works your arms, and core muscle.
Other variations of band bent over rows to build bigger and stronger back at home.
- Single-Arm Resistance Band Rows: The back muscles are trained unilaterally by this variation. Better Mind Muscle Connection.
- Underhand Grip Resistance Band Rows: Switching to an underhand grip targets your biceps and lower lats.
How To Do
- Stand on the resistance band with your feet hip-width apart. Grip the ends of the band in each hand.
- Make sure you bend at the waist and keep your back straight and your torso parallel to the floor.
- Pull the resistance band up towards your abdomen and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.
- Slowly lower the band back to the starting position.
- Maintain a neutral spine.
- Focus on pulling with your back muscles rather than relying on your arms.
- You should keep your elbows close to your body as you pull.
4. Bands Lats Pulldowns
The resistance band lats pulldown can be done anywhere, so it’s a good option for home workouts or while travelling.
It is a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups of the back, specifically the latissimus dorsi (lats) and teres major.
There are some variations of the resistance band pull down to add to your back workout:
- Close-grip pulldown
- Wide-grip pulldown
- One-arm pulldown
How To Do
- Attach the resistance band to a strong point above your head, like a door frame.
- Hold the resistance band in your hands as you face the anchor point.
- Step back to create tension in the band.
- Lean back slightly and engage your core.
- Pull the band down towards your chest.
- Slowly release the tension and return to the initial position.
- Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions of resistance band lat pulldowns.
- Focus on pulling with your back muscles rather than relying on your arms.
5. Resistance Band Shoulder Press
The resistance band shoulder press is an exercise that targets the front and side deltoid muscles in the shoulders. It’s like a shoulder press with free weights, but it uses a band to give you tension.
Resistance bands offer a more seamless and joint-friendly motion in comparison to heavier weights.
How To Do
- Stand on the middle of the resistance band, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Grasp the handles with an overhand grip, palms facing forward.
- Press the handles up until your arms are fully extended.
- Squeeze your shoulders together at the top and hold for a short time.
- Lower the handles back down to get back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the number of repetitions you want.
- Keep tension on the band at all times.
- It is important not to arch your back.
- Lower the band slowly and controlled.
6. Resistance Band Lateral Raises
The resistance band lateral raise is an exercise that works the lateral deltoids, which are the muscles on the sides of the shoulders.
There are many variations of the band lateral raise that will challenge your muscles even more and help build strength and definition of the shoulder.
How To Do
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
- Hold one end of the band in each hand, with your palms facing down.
- Raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the floor.
- Slowly return to the start position.
- Do 10-12 reps, and then switch sides.
- Avoid raising them high.
- Exhale as you raise your arms and inhale as you lower them
7. Resistance Band Pull Apart
This is a movement that can be done on shoulder day, as it targets the rear delts. However, we like to also hit it on a back day as the rear delts often need to double the work each week.
The bands pull apart will work your rhomboids, rear delts, and traps. It’s a great shoulder and upper back exercise.
How To Do
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping a slight bend in the knees.
- Hold the exercise band in front of you with your hands slightly lower than your shoulders.
- Keep your elbows slightly soft to avoid hyperextending the joint.
- Squeeze the shoulder blades together and open the arms to either side.
- Return to start and repeat.
- Focus on really contracting your upper back muscles. S
- Keep your core engaged throughout each set.
- Keep your elbows up so you can work your upper back muscles correctly.
Want To Know More Best Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises
8. Resistance Band Curls
If you’re looking for straightforward bicep band exercises to add to your routine, bicep curls are a great staple exercise to get you started.
Bicep curls with resistance bands keep the muscles in tension throughout the entire movement. This means that you will get more out of each arm exercise.
You can try different variations of the bicep curl to build a bigger arm.
- Band Hammer Curl
- Resistance Band Reverse Curl
How To Do
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in the middle of the resistance band.
- Hold the handles of the resistance band with your palms facing up.
- Slowly curl your hands up towards your shoulders.
- Squeeze your biceps at the top of the curl.
- Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.
- Try to maintain tension in your biceps throughout the exercise.
- Avoid using momentum to swing the resistance band up.
9. Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown
Anyone who wants to build arm mass and strength should do a triceps pushdown exercise. It is a great way to keep your joints feeling healthy, as they are low impact on your elbows and shoulders.
The triceps pushdown targets all three heads of the triceps, which is important for building up your arms.
How To Do
- Anchor band above head and grip band with palms facing down.
- Grab the resistance band with both hands (palms facing in) just below chest height.
- Keep your elbows tight into your side and drive your hands down towards your waist.
- Then stop at the bottom of the movement and slowly go back to the starting position.
- Avoid flaring your elbows out to the sides.
- Control the band speed when your hands come back up.
10. Resistance Band Pallof Press
The resistance band Pallof press is an anti-rotation core exercise that targets the obliques and transverse abdominis.
There are a number of variations of the resistance band Pallof press that you can try, such as:
- Kneeling Pallof press
- Pallof press with rotation
How To Do
- Anchor the resistance band to chest height and stand in a split stance.
- Engage your core muscles and use both hands to push the handle out, so your arms are in front of your chest.
- Hold this position for five to ten seconds and then bring the handle back to your chest.
- Repeat the exercise on your opposite side.
- Don’t let your torso rotate.
- Maintain a forward chest and straight back.
Training Plan To Build Stronger Upper Body
- For muscle endurance: Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps, with a moderate amount of resistance.
- For muscle strength: Aim for 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps, with a heavier amount of resistance.
- For muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size): Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance.
It is always best to start with a lower number of reps and sets, and then gradually increase as your strength improves.
Furthermore, it is important to allow for adequate rest between sets, typically 60-90 seconds.
Incorporating a mix of bodyweight exercises, cardio, and weight training can help to achieve a balanced and well-rounded workout routine.
Band Upper Body Workout Plans To Build Mass and Strength
This workout contains multiple band exercises that are designed to target all the muscles in your upper body and increase overall muscle mass.
This workout plan is a starting point that can be adjusted based on individual fitness levels and goals.
It will be important to perform each set to muscular fatigue. In other words, the last few repetitions should be difficult to perform, but you should be able to keep ideal form, posture, and technique throughout the entire set.
Upper Body Workout Routine For Beginner
|Standing Band Chest Press||3-4||8-10||60-90 sec|
|Band Shoulder Press||3-4||8||60-90 sec|
|Band Bent Over Row||4||8-10||60-90 sec|
|Resistance Band Pullover||4||10-12||60-90 sec|
|Band Biceps Curl||3||8-10||60-90 sec|
Band Workout Routine For Intermediate
|Single Arm Band Press||4||8-10||45-60 sec|
|Band Shoulder Press||3-4||10-12||45-60 sec|
|Band Push Ups||4||8-10||45-60 sec|
|Band Row||3||10-12||45-60 sec|
|Band Bicep Curl||3||8-10||45-60 sec|
|Band Tricep Extension||3||8-10||45-60 sec|
Resistance band exercises are a great way to build a strong and well-defined upper body. They are a versatile and affordable option that can be done at home or at the gym.
You can do many different exercises with resistance bands, so you can find ones that work for you and that you like to do.
When doing resistance band exercises, it is important to use a resistance band that is challenging but not too difficult. You should be able to do 8-12 repetitions of each exercise with good form.
- Lopes JSS, et al. (2019). Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6383082/
- Aboodarda SJ, Hamid MSA, Muhamed AMC, Ibrahim F, Thompson M. Resultant muscle torque and electromyographic activity during high intensity elastic resistance and free weight exercises. Eur J Sport Sci 13: 155–163, 2013.
- Calatayud, J., Borreani, S., Colado, J. C., Martin, F., Tella, V., & Andersen, L. L. (2015). Bench press and push-up at comparable levels of muscle activity results in similar strength gains. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(1), 246-253. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000000589
Manish brings over 10 years of hands-on experience in weight lifting and fat loss to fitness coaching. He specializes in gym-based training and has a lot of knowledge about exercise, lifting technique, biomechanics, and more.
Through “Fit Life Regime,” he generously shares the insights he’s gained over a decade in the field. His goal is to equip others with the knowledge to start their own fitness journey.