22 Best Upper Body Resistance Band Exercises of All Time

You can do as many as thirty to forty upper body exercises with resistance bands, but I’ll share the top 22 in this article. These exercises work throughout the upper body, from the chest, shoulder, and triceps to the back, biceps, and core, and help you level up your fitness and improve your physique.

Resistance bands are incredible workout equipment that helps build strength, muscles, mobility, and endurance.1Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis – SAGE Open Medicine,2 Effectiveness of resistance exercise using elastic bands on flexibility and balance among the elderly people living in the community: a systematic review and meta-analysis – Journal of Physical Therapy Science They are adaptable, compact, and cost-efficient and provide you with myriad exercise options. You can use them anytime and anywhere, such as at home, the gym, hotels, and the beach.

The best thing about the elasticity bands is that they allow you to adjust the resistance/tension. For example, a primary loop band provides a tension level from 5 lbs to 25lbs. So if you lift only 15lbs, you can grip the band accordingly.

Best Upper Body Resistance Band Exercises to Build Muscles

1. Resistance Band Push-up

Exercise LevelIntermediate
AnchorNo
Target MuscleChest and Triceps
Recommended Reps10 x 3
Resistance Band Pushups

Resistance Band Push-up is a wonderful exercise for strengthening your chest muscles. It also engages your arms, shoulders, and core muscles and helps build muscle, strength, and mobility. You can also integrate banded pushups into your gym workout training

How to do it: Wrap the band around your back and get into a high plank position. Bending your elbows lower your torso until your chest is close to the floor. Push back until your arms are straight.

2. Resistance Band Floor Press

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleChest and Triceps
Recommended Reps12 x 3

The floor press is a great alternative to a bench press. It is an excellent exercise to build strength and muscle in your chest and triceps. This exercise is suitable for every fitness enthusiast, whether beginner or intermediate.

How to do it: Lie flat on the mat and wrap the band around your back. Hold your hands beside your chest with your elbows bent. Keep your core tight and chest up. Squeezing your pecs, press the band over your chest until your arms are extended (or softly bend). Return to the start and repeat.

You can also do the one-arm single press to hit your pecs individually.

3. Resistance Band Chest Fly

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorYes
Target MuscleChest
Recommended Reps12 x 3

The fly is one of the most effective chest exercises and the best alternative to the dumbbell chest fly.3 Muscle Activity in Upper-Body Single-Joint Resistance Exercises with Elastic Resistance Bands vs. Free Weights – Journal of Human Kinetics It works out the entire pectoral muscles and helps develop the muscular upper body.

How to band chest fly:

  • Anchor the band to the door or a pole at an appropriate height.
  • Turn around and grab each end firmly with a neutral grip.
  • Take a few steps forward, stand in the staggered stance, and hold your arms out to your sides with your elbows slightly bent.
  • Contracting your pecs, pull the band until your arms are straight in front of your chest. Pause, return, and repeat.

Alternative exercise: If you do not have a place to attach the band, you can try an upward chest fly instead. The upward fly also works the chest and builds up the upper body muscles.

How to do an upward chest fly: Stand tall with your feet two times wider than hip-width. Wrap the band around your feet and hold the handles firmly with an underhand grip. Then, squeezing your chest, raise your arms in front of you until they reach above your chest level. Pause for a moment and return to the initial position.

4. Resistance Band Overhead Press

Exercise LevelIntermediate
AnchorNo
Target MuscleShoulder
Recommended Reps12 x 3
resistance band upper body workout

The overhead press is one of the incredible resistance band upper body exercises that bolster shoulder muscles. It primarily hits the anterior delt and improves shoulder mobility. It also increases pushing ability which will help you perform compound exercises such as pushups and chest presses efficiently.

How to do it: Stand tall in the shoulder-width stance. Wrap the band around your feet and grab the opposite ends firmly with your palms under the bar. Hold your hands close to your shoulder with your elbows bent. Press the band overhead until your arms are straight. Pause for a second and lower it back and repeat.

5. Single-arm Resistance Band Front Raises

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleShoulder
Recommended Reps12 x 3

The front raise forges the anterior delts and helps build sturdy shoulders. When you feel difficulty performing overhead press, you can substitute that exercise with front raises.

How to do it: Stand tall in the shoulder-width stance. Wrap the band around your right foot, grab the opposite end firmly with your right hand, and keep your arm straight in front of your thigh. Raise the band in front of you until your arm reaches your shoulder height.

6. Banded Lateral Raises

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleShoulder
Recommended Reps12 x 3

The lateral raise strengthen and tone the medial deltoid, the side muscle of your shoulder. The medial delt is the muscle that gives a round appearance to your shoulder.

You can pair this exercise with overhead press or front raises when training your shoulders, but it should not be skipped at any outlay if you want to build rounded delts.

How to:

  • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Wrap the band around your left foot and grasp the opposite end firmly with your left hand with a neutral grip.
  • Keep your arm straight at your side, beside your thigh.
  • Maintaining a soft bend in your elbow, raise the band out to your side until your arm reaches your shoulder height.
  • Hold for a moment and lower the band at the start.

7. Resistance Band Pull Apart

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleTrap and Shoulder
Recommended Reps12 x 3
Resistance Band Pull Apart

The resistance band pull-apart is an amazing exercise for developing the upper body muscles, particularly the trapezius and posterior delt.4Band Pull-Apart Exercise: Effects of Movement Direction and Hand Position on Shoulder Muscle Activity – International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy Having stronger posterior delts provide stability to your shoulder, minimizes the risk of injuries, and enhances the appearance of your back muscles.

How to do it: Standing upright, grab the resistance band with your hands six to eight inches wide and arms straight in front of your chest. Pull the band apart until your arms are out completely to your sides. Pause for a moment and return your arms to the start.

8. Resistance Band Rear Delt Fly

Exercise LevelIntermediate
AnchorNo
Target MuscleShoulder and Traps
Recommended Reps12 x 3

The resistance band reverse fly helps strengthen and sculpt the rear deltoid. Reinforcing the posterior delt helps improve shoulder health and build up strength to perform various pull exercises efficiently, such as pullups, bent-over rows, and facepull.

How to:

  • Wrap the band around your feet and grab the other ends with a neutral grip.
  • Pushing your hips back, lean your torso forward until your chest is parallel to the floor.
  • Keep your core tight, back flat, and arms straight under your shoulders; that’s the start.
  • Raise your arms out to your sides until they are parallel to the floor.
  • Wait for a moment and then return to the start.

9. Resistance Band Shrug

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleShoulder and Traps
Recommended Reps12 x 3

If you want to build your muscles around your neck and upper trap, consider doing a resistance band shrug. Shrug hits the muscles which are often skipped during the other upper body exercises and helps improve strength, mobility, posture, and muscle coordination.

How to: Stand tall, wrap the band around your feet and grab the ends with a neutral grip, arms straight beside your thighs. Squeezing your shoulder blades, pull the band toward your ears. Pause for a second and then relax your arm.

10. Resistance Band Tricep Extension

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleTriceps
Recommended Reps12 x 3

Tricep extension is a great exercise for building muscle in the triceps region as well as improving overall arms strength. Having solid triceps helps increase stability to your shoulders and arms, improves flexibility, and increases range of motion

How to do it: Stand straight with your feet together. Wrap the band around your feet and grab the other ends with a neutral grip. Pull the band and hold it behind your head with your elbows bent. Keeping your elbows fixed, extent your lower arms until you feel the contraction in your triceps. Pause and then return to the start.

You can also do it using one arm at a time to focus on strengthening your arms individually.

11. Banded Triceps Kickback

Exercise LevelIntermediate
AnchorNo
Target MuscleTriceps
Recommended Reps10 x 3

The arm kickback is a helpful exercise that highly contracts the tricep muscles. It requires you to keep your elbows stationary at all times, which helps strengthen your triceps muscles.

How to do it: Place the band under your feet and slightly bend your torso forward. Grab the end of the band with your right hand with a neutral grip. Raise your elbow at your side and keep it fixed. Now, kick your arm back until your elbow is fully extended. Contracting your triceps, hold for a moment and then bend your arm. Repeat for the suggested times on each side.

12. Banded Triangle Pushup

Exercise LevelIntermediate
AnchorNo
Target MuscleTriceps and Chest
Recommended Reps12 x 3

The triangle pushup is a great way to work out your upper body muscles, primarily the triceps and chest. It also helps you develop balance and stability in your core muscles.

How to do it: Wrap the band around your back and get into the up position of the pushup but keep your arms in a triangle shape underneath your chest. Brace your abdominal muscles and maintain a flat back. Now, lower your chest toward the floor and then push back until your arms are fully extended.

13. Resistance Band Bent-over Row

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleBack
Recommended Reps12 x 3
Resistance Band Lat Exercises

The bent-over row is one of the best resistance band exercises for upper body that hits the entire back muscles simultaneously, including your lats, traps, and rhomboids, and helps develop strength, posture, and body composition.

How to do it: Stand in the shoulder-width stance, place the band under your feet, and slightly bend your torso forward. Brace your core and maintain a neutral spine position. Pull the bands at your sides until your hands reach your ribs level. Pause for a moment and then return to the start.

14. Seated Resistance Band Row

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleBack
Recommended Reps12 x 3
Seated Resistance Band Row

The resistance band seated row can be a suitable alternative to seated cable rowing that works out the trapezius and latissimus dorsi muscles. Seated row strengthens and tones back muscles and helps improve posture.

The best thing about this exercise is that you can do it anywhere and anytime without attaching the band to anything.

How to do it: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your toes pointing upward. Wrap the band around your feet and hold the opposite ends firmly with your hands, palms over the band. Pull the band toward your stomach until your arms are close to your body. Pause for a moment and then return to the start.

15. Banded Lat Pulldown

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorYes
Target MuscleBack
Recommended Reps12 x 3

There are only a few exercises that help build V-shaped back, and Lat pulldown is one of them. The banded lat pulldown is an excellent exercise that helps grow latissimus dorsi muscles and improve the shape of the back.

It also engages the biceps and abdominal muscles and builds up overall upper body strength.

How to do it: Attach the band to the top of the door using a hook. Sit on your knees and extend your arms to grab the band firmly with an overhand grip. Pull the band toward your torso as close as possible to your chest. Pause for a moment and then extend your arms and repeat.

16. Resistance Band Superman Pull

Exercise LevelIntermediate
AnchorYes
Target MuscleBack
Recommended Reps12 x 3

The superman pull props your entire back muscles, including the lower back. It also helps improve your posture and provides stability to your spine.

How to do it:

  • Attach the band at the bottom of the door using a hook.
  • Lie prone against the door with your face down.
  • Extend your arms in front of you to grab the band, hands shoulder-width and palms over the bar.
  • Slightly lift your chest off the floor and pull the band toward your chest until you feel the contraction from the upper to the lower back.
  • Pause for a moment and then extend your arms.

17. Standing Banded Bicep Curl

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleBiceps
Recommended Reps10 x 3/side
upper body resistance band workout

The resistance band bicep curl helps increase strength and tone in the biceps. Burly biceps make your arms look attractive and help perform various pull exercises effectively.

How to do one-arm bicep curl: Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and place the band under your right foot and grasp the opposite end firmly with your right hand, palm under the bar. Curl your arm until your biceps are engaged. Pause for a second and extend your elbow.

18. Banded Concentration Curl

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleBiceps
Recommended Reps10 x 3/side

The concentration curl is another great exercise for developing brawny biceps. An ACE study has shown that concentration curl highly activates bicep muscles and helps develop muscular arms. It requires you to put your entire focus on the working muscles that improve muscle and mind connection, the study further suggested.

How to do it:

  • Sit into a squat, put the band under your right foot, and grab the other end with your right hand, palm under the bar.
  • Place the back of your upper arm (the right one) inside your thigh and your left hand on your left knee for support.
  • Curl your right arm until your biceps are entirely contracted. Pause for a second and then uncurl your arm.
  • Do as many sets and reps as needed on each side.

19. Resistance Band Hammer Curl

Exercise LevelBeginner
AnchorNo
Target MuscleBiceps
Recommended Reps10 x 3

The hammer bicep curl is one of the most popular biceps exercises. It targets both the biceps and forearms and helps build brawny arms.

How to do it: Stand tall in the shoulder-width stance and place the band under your feet. Grasp the opposite ends firmly with a neutral grip. Keep your arms straight against your thigh with your palms facing each other. Bring your hands toward your shoulder until you feel the full contraction in your biceps. Uncurl your arms and repeat for the suggested times.

20. Resistance Band Bird Dog Plank

Exercise LevelIntermediate
AnchorNo
Target MuscleCore and Posterior Chain
Recommended Reps5 x 3/side

The bird-dog plank is more than an upper-body exercise. It bolsters various muscles throughout the body, including the core, shoulder, lower back, hamstrings, and glutes, while developing balance and flexibility.

It also helps develop good posture, eases lower back pain, and reduces the risk of low back and ham injury.

So, if your fitness level allows you to do this exercise, you should surely incorporate it into your workout regime.

How to do it:

  • Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips
  • Place the band around your left foot and hold the opposite end with your right hand.
  • Raise your right arm and left leg simultaneously until they are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause for 5-10 10 seconds and then return to the start.
  • Do suggested sets and reps on each side.
  • Your core should be tight and back flat throughout the movement.

You can also try bodyweight bird-dog plank if it feels challenging for you.

21. Resistance Band Side Plank Pull

Exercise LevelIntermediate
AnchorYes
Target MuscleUpper Body
Recommended Reps8-10 x 3/side

The resistance band side plank pull is an incredible upper body exercise that strengthens and tones many muscles simultaneously, such as the back, biceps, abs, and oblique.

How to do it: Anchor the band to the lower section of the door, grab the other end with your left hand and lie on your right forearm with your legs straight and stacked on each other. Brace your core and pull the band as far as possible. Pause for a moment and then extend your arm.

22. Wood Chop (Low to High)

Exercise LevelIntermediate
AnchorNo
Target MuscleCore
Recommended Reps10 x 3/side

Low to high cable wood chop is a great exercise for your upper body. It gets your arms and shoulders moving while working on your core, primarily the obliques. Obliques help rotate and twist your torso as well as provide core stability.

How to do it: Stand upright with your feet two times wider than your shoulder-wdth and place the band under your right foot. Hold the end of the band with your hands and pull upward toward the left shoulder, as high as possible. Pause for a moment and return your arms to the start.

Upper Body Resistance Band Workout Routine

15 Minute Workout to Get Started

  • Suggested reps and sets: 10-12 x 3
  • Rest between sets: 1-2 minute
Push WorkoutPull Workout
Resistance Band Floor PressResistance Band Bent-over Row
Resistance Band Overhead PressSeated Resistance Band Row
Banded Lateral RaisesBanded Concentration Curl
One-arm Tricep ExtensionResistance Band Rear Delt Fly

30 Minute Workout to Build Muscles

  • Suggested reps and sets: 10-12 x 3
  • Rest between sets: 1-2 minute
Push WorkoutPull Workout
Resistance Band PushupsResistance Band Lat Pulldown
Resistance Band Floor PressResistance Band Bent-over Row
Resistance Band Overhead PressSeated Resistance Band Row
Banded Lateral RaisesBanded Concentration Curl
One-arm Tricep ExtensionResistance Band Rear Delt Fly

Related: 30-Minute Resistance Band Workout For 30 Days (PDF)

45 Minute Workout To Maximize Strength and Gain

  • Suggested reps and sets: 10-12 x 3
  • Rest between sets: 1-2 minute
Push WorkoutPull Workout
Resistance Band PushupsResistance Band Lat Pulldown
Resistance Band Floor PressResistance Band Bent-over Row
Resistance Band Overhead PressResistance Band Superman Pull
Banded Lateral RaisesStanding Banded Bicep Curl
Banded Triangle PushupsBanded Concentration Curl
One-arm Tricep ExtensionResistance Band Rear Delt Fly

Download Upper Body Resistance Band Workout PDF

The Bottom Line

From the chest, shoulder, and triceps to the back, biceps, and core, I’ve shared the best resistance band upper body exercises in this article. These exercises are suitable for all fitness levels, from beginner to intermediate. So whether you’re a male or female, if you work out at home, you can use the above exercises to build your strength, muscles, mobility, and physique.

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