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You Only Need A Resistance Band For This Killer Upper-Body Workout

If you've resisted the allure of resistance bands for years, it's time to talk. Typically, when you think of strength-training, dumbbells or weight machines probably come to mind, but we've got news for you — the strength-building benefits of resistance bands are mighty. You can use them to target any part of your body. Below we're sharing how you can get a great upper-body band workout. But first, (in case you still need some nudging) we're going to convince you to add resistance bands to your fitness arsenal.

Muscle benefits aside, resistance bands are convenient. Just try packing dumbbells with you when you travel; that's a one-way ticket to overweight baggage fees! Meanwhile, resistance bands are compact and hardly take up any space, making them perfect for travel or your home gym.

upper body band workout

Do resistance bands work for upper body?

"Resistance bands help with increasing strength, hypertrophy (building muscle) and endurance," says Evan Williams, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer of E2G Performance. The fatigue factor is the biggest gain, he adds. "Bands require you to control the eccentric (lowering) portion of the lift, which increases muscle contraction and activation resulting in a better pump and strength gains."

They're also safer than free weights, adds Andrea Metcalf, CPT, a Celebrity Fitness Expert. "They provide resistance safely without having to use momentum or swinging." In comparison, free weights use gravity to provide resistance.

How do you use upper-body strength bands?

When it comes to choosing a band, both Williams and Metcalf agree that the band you choose mainly depends on strength level (i.e., beginner, intermediate or advanced). For instance, if you're not feeling fatigued at the end of the sets, Metcalf says that the band may be too light.

Choosing a band also has to do with the specific exercise. You may need to use different mads for different moves. "The best thing to do is to buy a set of bands and see which works best for you," Williams tells Lively, and adds that you should be able to get a full set of resistance bands for under $40. 

Now that you're knowledgeable on the benefits of resistance bands, it's time to put in the work! This strengthening upper-body workout, put together by Williams, does just that. 

Build Strength With This 6-Move Upper-Body Band Workout

How to do it: Repeat each upper-body move for the recommended number of reps. Complete 3 to 4 rounds. Rest between exercises as needed. You'll need a resistance band.

upper body band workout

Resistance Band Pull-Apart
Start standing with feet hip-width apart and strong posture. Hold the band in both hands, straight out in front of you at chest level. Extend arms to pull the band outward until it rests on your chest. Focus on extending arms and engaging shoulder blades. Slowly to starting position. Complete 12 reps.

Banded Row
Stand with band placed under both feet. Hinge at hips and brace core. Pull elbows up to 45 degrees and engage shoulder blades. Slowly lower the band to return to starting position. Complete 12 reps.

Resistance Band Push-Up
Place the band around your upper back and hold one end in each hand. Then, get into a high-plank position with hands on the floor, and your wrists, elbows and shoulders all in one straight line. Bend your elbows to lower your chest and head toward the floor. Pause, then press back up to return to starting position.Complete 10 reps.

Banded Biceps Curls

Place the band under one foot and slightly keep knees bent. Holding the band with each hand, hold elbows at your sides. Brace your core and perform a biceps curl by bending elbows to bring hands to shoulders by bending elbows. Slowly lower arms to return to starting position. Complete 12 reps.

For an added challenge, place band under both feet to add resistance.

    Banded Overhead Triceps Extension
    Place the band under one foot with the band in both hands. Take one step forward with the opposite foot. Both elbows should be in a flexed position at head height. Using a neutral grip, extend your elbows up and out. Bring hands back to head height. Complete 12 reps.

    Banded Lateral Raise
    Place the band under one foot and keep knees slightly bent. Hold one end of band in each hand at your sides. Brace your core and raise arms up toward the ceiling, no higher than your shoulders, keeping arms straight. Slowly lower arms down to return to starting position. Complete 10 reps.

    For an added challenge, place band under both feet to add resistance.

    Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.

    Fuel Your Upper Body Band Workouts With Vital Performance™