Upper Body Resistance Band Workout

You work. You travel. You’re busy. Fortunately, the only equipment you need for a solid upper-body workout is TSA-friendly and weighs less than a pound: a resistance band.


This do-anywhere workout uses a good old-fashioned resistance band with handles, and it hits all your major upper-body muscle groups in circuit format. But not to worry — your lower body does not get a reprise: For each move, you’ll assume a challenging lower-body position and hold it for the duration of your upper-body exercise. This will improve balance, stability and core strength, amp calorie burn, and leave your legs shaking and quaking.

Chair Squat Overhead Press

Stand on top of the band with your feet and knees together. Hold the handles at your shoulders, then bend your knees and hips as far as you can to “sit” in the air, keeping your torso as erect as possible. Hold here as you press the handles up overhead to full extension, then lower slowly to the start.

One-Legged Biceps Curl

Stand with one foot in the center of the band, and lift your other foot off the floor alongside your standing leg. Keep your upper arms stationary as you curl the handles up toward your shoulders. Pause briefly, then slowly lower to the start.

Warrior III Back Row

Stand with one foot on the band and the other extended behind you. Hold the handles at your sides, palms facing inward. Hinge at the hip to fold forward, simultaneously lifting your rear leg, lowering until your torso and leg are parallel to the floor. Hold here as you drive your elbows up and back, pulling the band handles into your flank, for reps.

Stationary Lunge Chest Press

Anchor the band in a doorway or to a stationary object, and get into a wide low lunge with your front knee bent 90 degrees and your rear leg as straight as possible, facing away from the anchor. Hold the lunge as you press the handles straight out from your shoulders to full extension, then return to the start.

Knee-Up Triceps Overhead Extension

Stand facing away from the anchor and hold both handles behind your head, elbows bent. Lift one knee to hip height and hold it there as you straighten your elbows to press the handles overhead to full extension. Slowly return to the start.

Plié Core Rotation

Stand sideways to the band anchor and assume a wide stance — feet outside shoulder width and knees/toes turned out. Hold both handles together straight out from your shoulders. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then hold as you slowly rotate away from the anchor as far as you can while keeping your arms straight. Slowly return to the start.