One resistance band and these 8 easy exercises to build muscle in your entire upper body

Just attach the band to your stairs (or something stable) and get ready to work hard

woman holding looped resistance band
(Image credit: Getty)

Home workouts that genuinely help you build muscle can be hard to find sometimes, especially if you don’t own a pair of dumbbells. That’s where this resistance band workout comes in. Not only are resistance bands an ideal piece of equipment for strength training, but all eight exercises in this workout target your entire upper body and, completed a few times a week, will help you develop lean muscle. 

Although you can develop muscle using bodyweight strength training exercises, for some people this is too easy, or they simply want to add some extra resistance to help speed up the process, as it were. After all, the more resistance you put your muscles under, the harder they have to work, and the bigger they’ll become. Resistance bands are an affordable way to do this, plus they’re easy to store as they barely take up any room. 

For this workout you're going to need to attach your resistance band to your stair banister, so it's like you’re basically creating your very own cable machine, but in your home. There’s eight exercises in total that you’ll complete and you’re aiming for 10 to 12 reps (per side if this is applicable), as this is the optimum number of reps to help build muscle. You want to do three rounds in total. Here’s your workout:

  • Kneeling face pulls
  • Pallof press with a step out
  • Tricep extension
  • Alternating rows
  • Shoulder press
  • Bicep curl
  • Tricep push backs
  • Single arm chest fly

If you can't attach your resistance band to your banister, or don't have any stairs in your home, just loop them around something else that is stable and safe. Maybe a fence, or if you get tube resistance bands these often come with a feature so you can attach them to your door. Make sure it's either a large loop resistance band you get or the tube ones and to avoid 'booty bands', as these will be too small. If you're in need of some more upper body resistance band workouts, then here's one that completely targets your back and, again, uses a loop band.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.