One resistance band and these five exercises for a strong upper body

It'll only take you 15 minutes – what are you waiting for?

Woman doing arm exercises with resistance band
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dumbbells, weight machines and barbells are all great pieces of kit to help you build strength in your upper body, but they’re not essential. In fact, a study has shown you can achieve similar results at home using a resistance band, and this workout will help you do just that. Just grab a resistance band (whether it's a tube band with handles, a large loop band or a therapy band), and your best workout shoes, as you'll need to stand on it, and it won't be comfy shoeless!

Resistance bands are a great starting point for beginners before moving onto free weights, like a pair of dumbbells. Not only do they improve the quality of each exercise, as your muscles are under constant tension throughout the entire movement, but they also promote better form too. This is because you can't use your body for momentum to squeeze out a final rep like you would with dumbbells or machines. Your muscles are therefore working for the entirety of the movement, which will develop your strength further. 

For this workout you've got five exercises to complete, but instead of sets and reps, you'll do each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by a 15 second rest. This will allow you to focus more on your form, control and feeling the muscles that you're using, rather than trying to just hit a number. Once you've completed one round, rest for 30 seconds and then repeat the workout two more times. Not sure how to do some of the exercises below? Watch the video above for a quick demo. Here's your exercises:

  • Bent over reverse fly
  • Bicep curl
  • Upright row
  • Tricep extension
  • Chest press

If your band is light and feels too 'easy', just stand on more of it to shorten it, as this will increase the tension. Resistance bands really are a versatile piece of equipment that you can work your entire body with. Here's a full-body band workout that'll only take you 30 minutes and is perfect if you want to target all your body's major muscles. If it's your lower body you want to focus on, then try this banded leg workout, it's five moves and will take you no longer than 15 minutes.

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.