20 Band Exercises to work your upper body, anywhere!

Resistance bands can be one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment for at home, as well as vacation workouts. Here’s a database of fundamental upper body band exercises to help you mix up and progress your bodyweight workouts. 

See HERE for lower body band exercises 

See HERE for band exercises to work your core 

Push-ups are a staple bodyweight exercise, but once you’re hitting high double-figures they become a little redundant as a tool to build strength and muscle – or at least better used as a high-rep finisher rather than a key lift. When you don’t have a choice, though, adding. Band to your push-ups can take them up a notch to become a key part of your workouts. For more push-up workouts to build strength and size see HERE

Doing tricep pushdowns in this way is a solution to not being able to hang a band from anywhere. Try these as a superset with some close-grip banded push-ups to really hit your triceps from anywhere!

Face pulls are a staple exercise for building shoulder strength and health. Throwing them in to nearly every workout wouldn’t be a bad idea either. You can read more about why HERE

Adding a pull-apart to your face pulls is a way to increase the difficulty and mix it up. These will also hit your rear delts and rhomboids a little more.

If you have limited access to equipment it’s pretty darn hard to get in an effective back workout. Sure, you can head down to the local park and use the monkey bars for pull-ups, but when you want to stay at home or confined to a hotel room some resistance bands offer a solution. Seated rows with a band requires very little setup, will hit your mid-back and help improve posture. Try superseding these with banded push-ups to blast your entire upper body.

If standard seated band rows are too easy, then up the ante by adding some intensity techniques. Isometric holds and squeezes are awesome, as is the 1.5 repetition method.

Overhead pressing options are somewhat limited when you have little equipment available. A favorite of mine are doing pike push-ups, but these are right up there too. You’ll enjoy the shoulders pump these’ll give you.

If your band is a little light, try setting it up like this to really put a cap on your delts. Just be sure not to pick a band that’s too heavy!

Let’s be honest, you’re more likely to do bicep curls with your bands than your are pushdowns. But making up about two-thirds of your upper arms you’ll not want to sacrifice working your triceps if bigger arms are your goal. If you have something to hook a band up high with then try this variation. 

Straight arm pulldowns isolate your lats. Use these as an assistance exercise to your upper body workouts. They’d also work great superseded with the exercise below (either pre- or post-fatigue).

Horizontal pulling variations are limited the you’re working out at home or hotel room. A 1-arm lat pulldown is one of your best choices if you have the ability to hook a band up high. A TRX door attachment would be your best friend here.

Adding a pull-apart to your pulldowns are a good way to vary a regular pulldown, and a good band exercise for hitting your lats, traps and rhomboids – depending on your angle of pull. 

Don’t forget about your mid-back. Bent over rows are an easy way to get some volume through your mid-back, while done with a band will allow you to focus a little more on the squeeze at the top.

If you have a post to loop your band around-standing rows can be a good way to target your mid-back and scapular retractors. Just be sure to let your shoulder blades do their thing and glide around your rib cage for full range of motion.

Tricep kickbacks are arguably the best way to hit the long head of your triceps in their fully shortened position. Even more so when the band resistance is greatest here too.

Hammer curls are a staple biceps builder. If you’re after an intense biceps finisher try doing this with two bands – once you reach failure drop one band and keep going. Good luck!

This is a simple biceps curl variation using a band. There’s a lot you can do from this position – try adding in some isoholds, some 21’s or 28’s or any other intensity technique to mix it up.

A palms down curl hits a little more forearms and neglected coracobrachialis muscle which forms part of your upper arms. Doing curls with a palms down grip can be the missing link in your biceps development.

Raise-aparts combine a shoulder front raise with a pull-apart. These’ll hit your entire shoulder complex, and a good choice of exercise to get some blood in to your shoulders.

If you’re looking for something to finish off your chest and triceps then look no further. Enjoy the pump!

See HERE for lower body band exercises 

See HERE for band exercises to work your core

To find out about Online Strength and Physique Coaching click HERE.

4 thoughts on “20 Band Exercises to work your upper body, anywhere!”

  1. Great exercises! I’m just wondering – would you say they would work well combined and used as a rotating set of 14 exercises one by one, repeated 4 times with 12 reps per one exercise?

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