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Band Exercises for Upper Body
Workouts Without a Gym

Band Exercises
Band Exercises

Last week I shared some lower body exercises you can do while traveling or if a gym isn’t available. They require nothing more than exercise bands to provide the resistance. This week I’d like to share a few things you can do to strengthen your upper body.

These exercises all require a larger flat looped band, also known as a sheet or therapy looped band. The heavier or thicker a band is, the more resistance it provides. That means it’s harder to move. Look for a band that allows you to complete your exercise with the proper form. As you grow stronger, you can get heavier or thicker bands to make your workout more challenging.

Here’s how to hit different muscle groups for your upper body.

Bicep Curl

Stand on the middle of the band with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Grab the band slightly wider than shoulder-width. The band makes a square shape from your upper thigh to the floor.

With your palms facing up and arms extended, curl your hands up toward your shoulders, squeezing your biceps. Keep moving until your bicep gets a good contraction. Your elbows should stay close to the side of your body. Once you get to the top, slowly lower your hands back to the starting position. Perform 8-12 reps.

Triceps Extension

Stand with your feet staggered, one foot about twelve inches in front of the other. Loop a band under the foot that’s behind. Stand tall, hold the band behind your head, near your neck with your elbows pointing up to the ceiling. Avoid letting your elbows flare out.

Move the band toward the ceiling until your elbows are straight. Keep your triceps tight throughout the movement. Then return to the starting position. Perform 8-12 reps.

Triceps Extension


Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent. Hold the middle section of the band with your arms straight out and palms facing down. Your hands should be about a foot apart. Double up on the band if you want more resistance.

Keeping your arms straight, slowly pull the band apart. Your arms should move to your sides while staying at shoulder height. Once your arms are fully out and your shoulder blades have contracted, slowly relax and return to the starting position. Perform 8-12 reps.


Chest Press

Lay flat on the ground with the band underneath your shoulders, just below your shoulder blades. Grab each end of the band with your hands. You can increase the resistance by moving your grip and shortening the band. Put your arms straight out from your shoulders with a 90-degree bend at the elbow. Your upper arms should be in contact with the floor.

Push your hands up, exhale and feel your chest contract. Pull the band as you go until your arms are straight up. Relax and inhale as you return to the starting position. Perform 8-12 reps.

Bent-Over Row

Stand on the middle of the band with your feet close together. Grab the band with both hands, one on each end of the loop. Hinge forward at the hips, with your knees slightly bent while keeping your back straight and aligned with your head.

Pull the band up, squeezing your shoulder blades together and keeping your elbows close to your body. At the top of the exercise, your elbow should be past your back, and your arms will make an almost 90-degree angle. Keep your hands under your shoulders, then slowly lower back down. Perform 8-12 reps.

Bent Over Row


Wrap the band around your back and under your arms. To make it more challenging, wrap the band over your arms. Loop the ends of the bands around your hands. Then get into a plank position facing the floor, with your hands resting on top of the bands.

Your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle. Tighten your abs and glutes, then push straight up until your arms are fully extended. The band will tighten and provide resistance as you push up. Once your arms are fully extended, slowly lower your chest back down to the floor, ending with your arms again at a 90-degree angle. Perform 5-20 reps.


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Updated 6/11/2021