Resistance bands are an excellent tool for strengthening and toning your whole body, but this is especially true when it comes to working out your back muscles.
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Back workouts that utilize resistance bands are simple, effective, and have a low risk of injury. By strengthening your back and shoulders, you’ll further the risk of spinal injuries or back pain down the line – and it will be much easier to carry groceries from your car, lift boxes or perform other functional, day-to-day tasks without added strain.
No free weights or clunky gym machines needed here. Try this upper body resistance band workout routine to reap the benefits.
1. Standing Two-Arm Row
A popular and simple workout for upper back strength, rows work well using resistance bands, too.
- Begin this upper back workout standing up and facing a double resistance band that has been anchored as chest level.
- Stand at least one foot away from where the resistance band is anchored.
- Grab one of the band handles in each hand.
- While remaining upright and straight, draw your elbows back out behind you, pulling against the resistance bands all along.
- Slowly ease your elbows forward, returning your hands back in front of you.
- Repeat motion 10 to 12 times per set.
2. Bent-Over Row
Take a standard row and add the challenge of gravity for an even better upper body resistance band workout.
- Stand with a resistance band squarely under your feet.
- Bend at your waist, keeping your lower and upper body straight.
- Hold that position and grab one end of the band in each hand.
- Moving just your arms, pull the band up until both your elbows and the band are behind you.
- Relax and repeat four more times.
3. Lying Lat Pull Down
You’ll be surprised by how hard but effective this exercise is!
- Lie down on a mat, face down, with a resistance band stretched out beneath your chest.
- Hold one end of the resistance band in each hand.
- Pull your arms (and the band) out to your sides, raising your chest up slightly.
- Repeat 10 to 12 times for three sets.
4. Lying Pullover
This three-one-move targets your chest, delts and shoulders.
- Anchor resistance bands about ankle height.
- Lay with your head a foot from the bands, facing and away.
- With the rest of your body in one straight line, reach over your head and grab a resistance band in each hand.
- Pull the bands away from the anchor point with your palms facing your feet.
- When you cannot pull any further, hold the position for five seconds.
- Repeat 10 to 12 times for three sets.
5. Lateral Raise
This one is great for shoulder strength. Make sure you don’t shrug your shoulders towards your ears as you do the move.
- Stand with both feet planted on the centre of a long resistance band.
- Grab one end of the band in each hand.
- While standing straight up, draw your arms up and out, away from your body, so that you make the shape of a “T.”
- Pinch your shoulder blades together in order to optimize your workout for upper back strengthening.
- Hold this raised position for five seconds before relaxing.
- Repeat a total of 10 times per workout session.
6. Lateral Pull Down
No need for a fancy gym machine for this one, as your resistance bands do the work for you.
- Anchor the resistance band at least one foot above your head.
- Grab one end of the band in each hand, extending your arms above your head.
- Stand under the band facing away from it.
- Slowly but steadily pull your arms and the band down towards your sides without bending your torso or legs.
- Stop when you feel a strain or when you cannot pull any further.
- Slowly raise your arms back up and rest for five seconds before repeating five more times.
7. Standing Fly
A classic move for a resistance band workout, this exercise engages your arms, chest and upper-and-middle back.
- Select a spot that is at chest height to anchor your double handle resistance band on.
- Face the anchor so that the resistance bands are in front of you.
- Grab a handle in each hand and hold at chest height.
- Stand one foot away from the wall and draw the bands toward your chest.
- Once the bands are an inch from your chest, bend at the elbows to extend your arms out away from your body.
- Once your arms have been extended out from your sides, return them to your chest.
- Complete four additional repetitions.
8. Simple Shrugs
A simple, but effective move, your upper back muscles will thank you.
- Stand on a standard resistance band.
- With one end in each hand, stand up straight.
- Shrug your shoulders, pulling your shoulder blades together.
- Repeat this motion 10 to 12 times for three sets.
The best part of this resistance band workout is that you can adjust the intensity; add slack to the band to make it easier or make it more taut to increase the difficulty.