On-The-Go Upper Body Routine
Create your a strong upper body with these six simple resistance-band moves that you can do at home or on the go.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
If you’re on the road regularly — like 12-time Olympic swimming medalist Dara Torres — strength training the recommended three times a week can seem impossible.
That’s why we’ve put together the perfect upper-body routine for all you frequent fliers – all you need to pack are a couple of resistance bands.
Do 12 reps of each of the following moves in order, then rest 90 seconds and start from the top.
Up for a challenge? Repeat the sequence again for a total of three sets per move.
Tip: If your reps don’t feel challenging, upgrade to a thicker band or shorten the length of the band by changing your foot position or wrapping it lightly around your hand.
Bonus: Doing these moves standing incorporates stabilizing muscles in your lower body.
Target Muscles: pectoralis major
Set Up: Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, position the middle of a medium to heavy resistance band on your back just under your shoulder blades. Hold a handle in each hand, wrapping the band lightly around your wrists to shorten it if needed. Bend your arms so your forearms are parallel with the ground, palms facing the floor. [A]
Action: Extend your arms, pressing the handles straight in front of your body, until your arms are straight but unlocked. [B] Slowly reverse to the starting position and repeat.
Target Muscles: latissimus dorsi
Set Up: Stand holding a heavy resistance band with your hands shoulder-width apart, extended above your head as shown. [A]
Action: Keeping your left arm still, bend your right arm and pull your elbow down toward your side until it is at shoulder blade level or lower [B]. Pause, then slowly extend your arm to return to the starting position. Finish your set, then repeat using your left arm.
Target Muscles: biceps brachii
Set Up: Position the middle of a medium to heavy band under the balls of your feet, legs spaced shoulder-width apart. Hold a handle in each hand, arms extended toward the floor with your palms facing forward. [A]
Action: Keeping your upper arms tight to your sides, bend your elbows and curl the handles toward your shoulders. [B] Stop when you can’t flex any further, then slowly lower your arms. Repeat.
Target Muscles: anterior and lateral deltoids
Set Up: Stand on the middle of a medium band with your feet shoulder-width apart or narrower. Hold one end of the band in each hand, bending your elbows and bringing your upper arms slightly lower than shoulder level, wrists directly above your elbows. [A]
Action: Extend your arms, pressing the handles above your head until your arms are straight but unlocked [B] . Slowly reverse the move to return to the starting position and immediately repeat.
Target Muscles: lateral deltoids
Set Up: With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand on the middle of a light to medium resistance band. Crossing the band in front of your body, grasp one handle in each hand, arms extended toward the floor with your palms facing each other. [A]
Action: Raise both arms up and away from your midline until your body forms a T [B]. Slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat immediately.