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Exercise Band Upper Body Workout (with photos)

Daniel Brady | January 12, 2013 in Equipment
Elastic Exercise Band Exercises

This article starts with 7 upper body exercises that you can do with exercise bands. At the end of the article are recommendations for certain bands and accessories that will improve your exercise band workout further. Let’s start with biceps.

7 Upper Body Elastic Exercise Band Exercises

These 7 exercises give you a thorough upper body workout, and if you choose the strongest exercise band that you can handle, then this exercise band workout is comparable to a session in the gym. Personally I use a set of 6 bands ranging from 2 lb of resistance to 40 lb of resistance, you can see the set at the bottom of the article. The 40 lb rating is not an absolute number though, since there is less resistance if you stretch it a little, and more if you stretch it a lot.

Bicep Curls

Warm Up: Use an easy band for your warm up set.
Work Sets: Targeting 5-12 reps with the strongest band you can handle. 3 Sets.
Instructions: Either use the band door anchor at the bottom of a door, or stand on the middle of the band. From here keep your elbows as still as possible while controlling your curls up and down.
Alternative: Chin Ups.
Bicep Curls Before Bicep Curls After

Tricep Extension

Warm Up: Use an easy band for your warm up set.
Work Sets: Targeting 5-12 reps with the strongest band you can handle. 3 Sets.
Instructions: This exercise is best with the door anchor at the top of the door. From here keep your elbows as still as possible while controlling your tricep extensions all the way down and up.
Alternative: Band Resisted Bench Dips.
Tricep Extension Before Tricep Extension After

Pushups (Pectorals / Chest)

Warm Up: Pushups with no band.
Work Sets: Targeting 5-12 reps with the strongest band you can handle. 3 Sets.
Instructions: Place the band under your arms around your back then lay on the ground and put your hands on the band to keep it in place. From here do your pushups with a straight body. At the bottom your triceps should be parallel to the ground, at the top your arms should be reasonably straight (the photo doesn’t quite show the lockout position, keep going). Your neck should be straighter than pictured.
Alternative: Bench Press
Pushups Before Pushups After

Overhead Press (Deltoids / Shoulders)

Warm Up: Use an easy band for your warm up set.
Work Sets: Targeting 5-12 reps with the strongest band you can handle. 3 Sets.
Instructions: Either use the band door anchor at the bottom of a door, or stand on the middle of the band. Lift the band to your chest or shoulders for the starting position. From here, press it over your head to the lockout position, then back down to your chest or shoulders.
Alternative: Lateral Raises
Overhead Press Setup Overhead Press Before Overhead Press After

Lateral Pull Downs (Latissimus / Side Back)

Warm Up: Use an easy band for your warm up set.
Work Sets: Targeting 5-12 reps with the strongest band you can handle. 3 Sets.
Instructions: This exercise is best with the door anchor at the top of the door. Get on your knees a suitable distance from the door to increase the resistance and bend over at the hips. Starting with a wide grip, pull back on the band until it is past your head as if you were putting your chin over the bar while doing a pull up.
Alternative: Pull Ups
Lat Pulldown Setup Lat Pulldown Before Lat Pulldown After

Shrugs (Traps / Neck)

Warm Up: Use an easy band for your warm up set.
Work Sets: Targeting 5-12 reps with the strongest band you can handle. 3 Sets.
Instructions: Either use the band door anchor at the bottom of a door, or stand on the middle of the band. Start with your shoulders relaxed then shrug your shoulders up towards your ears. Keep your arms straight to avoid cheating your reps.
Alternative: Upright Rows
Shrugs Before Shrugs After

Crunches (Abdominals / Abs)

Warm Up: Use an easy band for your warm up set.
Work Sets: Targeting 5-12 reps with the strongest band you can handle. 3 Sets.
Instructions: This exercise is best with the door anchor at the bottom of the door. Holding onto the band behind your head do your crunches. Make sure to use your abdominal muscles to do the crunches rather than throwing your head and neck for momentum.
Alternative: Reverse Crunches
Crunches Before Crunches After

The Best Elastic Exercise Band Set and Accessories

exercise-bands-set-of-6 This is the set of bands that I use. It comes with 6 bands with resistance from 2 lb to 40 lb, a door anchor and a bag. For only $33, it’s good value. The door anchor that comes in the set is really useful. I appreciate these bands when I am unable to do heavier exercises at the gym. Body weight exercises, especially with bands, can be a decent alternative to the gym. They’re rated 4.7/5 on Amazon. The only weakness is the length, they are pretty short, but as you can see in the photos above, they can still be made to work well.

This is the door anchor that I kept mentioning. It comes in the band set mentioned above. The manufacturing quality is good. It has a loop on one end, and a ball inside the fabric on the other end, so it can’t slip out of the door. I’d give the anchor 5/5 on its own. Below is the resistance of each band included in the set. Buy the band set here.
exercise-band-door-brace exercise-band-different-resistance-strengths



Email: danielbrady_89@hotmail.com
Daniel has a strong interest in evidence supported fitness training, preparation and supplementation. His goal is to provide clear information that simply works. He's currently 16 kg of muscle above his starting weight (7kg in the past 12 months), and targeting a continued growth rate of 5kg+ per year.
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