Resistance Band Exercises for the Upper Body

1
Introduction and Resistance Exercise Tips

Triceps Exercise with Resistance Band, pg.5. (c)Lisa Hubbard, licensed to About.com

We are very fortunate to have this upper body workout with resistance band exercises taught by well-known Pilates instructor and model Lisa Hubbard. Here, Lisa has put together a set of exercises that focus in on the arms -- the biceps and triceps in particular, chest and shoulders. Of course, in true Pilates fashion, you will feel these exercises tone your back and abs and engage your whole. you will feel these exercises tone your back and abs and engage your whole.

Note: Please keep in mind that while the resistance band resists you, you need to resist the band. A release is a controlled move, making the entire sequence of a resistance exercise smooth. That is the key to making all of your resistance band exercises really work for you. Also, the exercise band cannot be allowed to pull you out of good posture. Your spine is long, your neck is a continuation of your spine, and you are connecting down into the ground through your sit bones and reaching out through the top of your head. Your ribs, for example, don't pop forward just because you exert your arms and shoulders. Though the focus is an upper body workout, you are still connected to your core and the resistance band exercises engage your whole body. Enjoy.

2
External Rotation with Resistance Band

resistance band exercise
The shoulders, arms, chest, and back work together. (c)Lisa Hubbard, licensed to About.com

  1. Begin kneeling or standing in a neutral spine position with legs parallel and hip width apart.
  2. Hold the band at either sides with the palms facing upward and your elbows at your sides.
  3. Exhale to externally rotate the shoulders, stretching the band horizontally and reaching your forearms out to the sides.
  4. Inhale and resist the band as you return to the start position.
  5. Suggested Reps: Build up to 3 sets of 10 -15 reps

3
Triceps Press with Resistance Band

back of the arm exercise with band
Tone the backs of the arms with triceps press. (c)Lisa Hubbard, licensed to About.com

  1. Sit with your legs extended together and feet flexed.
  2. Place the band across the soles of your feet
  3. Keep your spine straight and hinge forward at the hip, hands at either sides of the resistance band.
  4. Reach your arms back, lifting the elbows upwards with straight arms.
  5. Keep your elbows high and inhale to bend the elbows, resisting the pull of the band.
  6. Exhale extend the arms back.
  7. Suggested Reps: Build up to 3 sets of 10 -15 reps

4
Biceps Curl with Resistance Band

biceps exercise
Tone your arms and abs with this biceps curl. (c)Lisa Hubbard, licensed to About.com

  1. Sit with you legs extended together and feet flexed.
  2. Place the resistance band across the soles of your feet and hands at either sides of the band.
  3. Roll your low back into the mat bringing your arms to a 90-degree angle, elbows at your sides.
  4. Inhale extend the arms parallel to the mat
  5. Exhale to curl back to their start position.
  6. Suggested Reps: Build up to 3 sets of 10 -15 reps

Note: This exercise is not about hanging off the resistance band. Do keep your upper body curl supported with your abs. Pilates mat exercises that will help you build strength for that include chest lift, roll up and the series of 5 ab exercises.

5
Rowing with the Restance Band

rowing arm exercise
Strengthen your back, shoulders and arms with resistance band rowing. (c)Lisa Hubbard, licensed to About.com

  1. Begin sitting, legs extended together and feet flexed.
  2. Place the band across the soles of your feet with your hands at either sides of the band, palms facing inward.
  3. Extend your arms and hinge your spine forward. Exhale and engage the area between your shoulder blades to help pull the elbows back.
  4. Inhale to the start position.
  5. Suggested Reps: Build up to 3 sets of 10 -15 reps

A huge thank you goes to Lisa Hubbard for contributing these upper body resistance band exercises. Lisa is the founder of Rhythm Pilates and has made two Pilates DVDs: Accelerated Pilates with Exercise Band and Total Body Pilates with Mini Ball which was the 2012 winner of the About.com Readers' Choice award for best beginner Pilates DVD. Lisa is also a senior faculty member of BASI Pilates. You might recognize her as a featured model in Pilates DVDs and books by Rael Isacowitz as well as in Pilates Style Magazine.

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