Work your chest, back, shoulders, arms and core with this resistance band upper-body workout from PT Diego Carrete.

Investing in a set of the best resistance bands offers benefits beyond rehabilitation and stretching, as this upper-body workout demonstrates.

Lifting weights uses mechanical tension – where muscles contract strongly when heavily loaded – to build muscle. However, metabolic stress, when the muscle is worked hard for a long time – such as with resistance bands – is equally effective.

Resistance bands are cheaper, lighter, safer and more portable than dumbbells. They’re just as good at targeting specific muscle groups, too.

While there are plenty of exercises for full-body resistance band workouts, this session is aimed at just the upper body – incorporating exercises like rows, shoulder presses, curls and raises for the ultimate upper-body burn.

How to do this resistance band upper-body workout:

Perform each exercise for the time stated. Complete the designated number of sets, with minimal rest between sets. Be sure to note the maximum rest between exercises and try to move between exercises in the same superset with minimal rest.

1. Staggered band row
2. Band shoulder press
3. Band flye
4a. Band lateral raise
4b. Band front raise
5. Band curl
6a. Triceps band extension
6b. Triceps band kickback
7. Band face pull

Keep reading for full instructions on how to perform each exercise in this resistance band upper-body workout:

Man performing start of staggered band row - restistance band upper body workoutMan performing end of staggered band row - resistance band upper body workout
1. Staggered band row

Time: 45 secs
Rest: 45 secs
Sets: 4

How to do a staggered band row:

  • Assume a staggered stance with the band looped under your front foot, and a slight bend in your back knee. 
  • Hinge at the hips to lean forward, grasping hold of each end of the band.  
  • From this position, with braced core, row each side of the band up to your hips. 
  • Lower with control.

Man performing restistance band shoulder press - resistance band upper body workoutMan performing end of band shoulder press - resistance band upper body workout
2. Band shoulder press

Time: 45 secs
Rest: 45 secs
Sets: 4

How to do a band shoulder press:

  • Stand in the middle of the band. 
  • Grab the other end with both hands and bring it to shoulder height. 
  • Screw your heels to the floor and brace your abs, then press the band directly overhead. 
  • Lower with control. 

Man performing start of chest band flye - resistance band upper body workoutan performing end of chest band flye - resistance band upper body workout
3. Band flye

Time: 45 secs
Rest: 45 secs
Sets: 3

How to do a band flye:

  • Loop the middle of the band around a fixed object. 
  • Grab both ends and face away from the anchor point. 
  • Standing tall, bring your arms out the sides and arc your hands in to meet in the middle – in front of your chest. 
  • Squeeze your pecs in the middle, then arc back with control. 

Man performing start of band lateral raise - resistance band upper body workoutMan performing end of band lateral raise - resistance band upper body workout
4a. Band lateral raise 
 

Time: 30 secs
Rest: Go straight into 4b

How to do a band lateral raise:

  • Stand in the middle of the band. 
  • Grab both ends and stand tall.  
  • Raise each end of the band out to the sides, stopping at just above shoulder height.  
  • Return and repeat.

Man performing start of band front raiseMan performing end of band front raise - resistance band upper body workout
4b. Band front raise

Time: 30 secs
Rest: 45 secs, then repeat 4a
Sets: 3

How to do a band front raise:

  • Stand in the middle of the band.
  • Grab both ends and stand tall.  
  • With straight arms, raise the band directly out in front, stopping just above shoulder height.  
  • Return and repeat.

Man performing start of band curl Man performing end of band curl - resistance band upper body workout
5. Band curl

Time: 45 secs
Rest: 45 secs
Sets: 3

How to do a band curl:

  • Stand in the middle of the band. 
  • Grab both ends and stand tall.  
  • With palms facing away from you, keep your upper arms fixed in place, just bending your elbows to curl the band up to around shoulder height. 
  • Contract your biceps at the top of the move, then lower with control.

Man performing start of triceps band extension Man performing end of triceps band extension - resistance band upper body workout
6a. Triceps band extension
 

Time: 30 secs
Rest: Go straight into 6b 

How to do a triceps band extension:

  • Loop the middle of the band around a fixed object on the floor – the legs of a bench work well. 
  • Facing away from the anchor point, hold the band with one hand at shoulder height.  
  • Extend the band overhead. 
  • Fix your upper arm in place and bend at the elbow to lower the band back behind your head.  
  • Lower as far as you can go with that upper arm fixed, then return the band overhead. 

Man performing start of triceps band kickbackMan performing end of triceps band kickback
6b. Triceps band kickback

Time: 30 secs
Rest: 45 secs, then repeat 6a
Sets: 3

How to do a triceps band kickback:

  • Loop the middle of the band around a fixed object on the floor. 
  • Hinge from the hips and grab the band with one hand.  
  • Keeping your upper arm fixed in place, bend at the elbow to bring the band back behind your torso. 
  • Flex your triceps at the top of the movement, then reverse with control.

Man performing band face pull -
7. Band face pull 

Time: 45 secs
Rest: 45 secs
Sets: 3 

How to do a band face pull:

  • Loop the middle of the band around a fixed object. 
  • Stand facing the anchor point and grab both ends of the band. 
  • Flare your elbows out to the sides to bring the ends of the band up to your ears – you should feel this in your upper back.

Need resistance bands? Try the TRX Bandit Resistance Band Kit, which offers a portable and lightweight system that’s esy to get to grips with – even for complete beginners.

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