The 6 Hardest Upper-Body Exercises You Can Do With a Mini Band

When choosing a mini band, look for one that has a looser resistance for these arm exercises.
Image Credit: Vladimir Sukhachev/iStock/GettyImages

Quarantine has forced people to get creative with their workout equipment — water bottles instead of dumbbells, couches instead of workout benches, pause reps and pulses instead of adding more weight.

And now, your booty bands (aka mini resistance bands) can pull double duty, too. They're useful for more than just your lower-body workouts; you can also strengthen your upper body using a resistance band and these six exercises, courtesy of certified personal trainer April Whitney, CPT.

1. Lat Pulldown

1. Lat Pulldown
Image Credit: April Whitney/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level Beginner
Activity Resistance Band Workout
Body Part Back
  1. Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Loop one end of a mini band around each wrist.
  3. Raise your arms straight overhead, palms facing forward.
  4. On an exhale, bring your palms down and pull the band apart, just outside your shoulders.
  5. Pause for a moment here, then reverse the motion back overhead.

2. Rear Delt Shoulder Abduction

2. Rear Delt Shoulder Abduction
Image Credit: April Whitney/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level Beginner
Activity Resistance Band Workout
Body Part [ "Back", "Shoulders" ]
  1. Start standing with each end of a mini band looped around your arms right below the wrist.
  2. Bring your palms up to eye level, facing each other.
  3. On an exhale, draw your elbows apart.
  4. Pause with the band extended before reversing the motion.

Tip

Think about using your elbows, not palms to drive this motion. That will help target the rear shoulder muscles.

3. Biceps Curl

3. Biceps Curl
Image Credit: April Whitney/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Begin by kneeling on the ground.
  2. Keeping your left knee in place (toes tucked), bring your right foot flat on the ground in front of you.
  3. Loop one end of the mini band under your right foot and hold the other end in your right hand.
  4. Place your right elbow against your right knee.
  5. Curl the band up to your right shoulder, holding the elbow against your leg.
  6. Reverse the motion and extend your right arm, bringing the band back down.

Tip

To make this move more challenging, lower the band for a 3-second count or pause when the muscle is fully contracted.

4. Tabletop Lateral Arm Abduction

4. Tabletop Lateral Arm Abduction
Image Credit: April Whitney/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
Body Part [ "Arms", "Abs" ]
  1. Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under the hips.
  2. Loop one end of the band around each of your arms, right above the wrists.
  3. Keeping your elbows straight, walk your left palm a foot to the left.
  4. Then, come back to the center.
  5. Repeat the same motion with your left palm.
  6. Alternate right and left.

5. Shoulder Press With Abduction

5. Shoulder Press With Abduction
Image Credit: April Whitney/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
Body Part [ "Arms", "Shoulders" ]
  1. Start standing with each end of the mini band looped around your arms, just above the wrists.
  2. Bring the palms up to eye level, facing each other.
  3. Keeping tension on the band, press your arms up over your head.
  4. Reverse the motion with control and bring the band back to eye level.

6. Triceps Extension

6. Triceps Extension
Image Credit: April Whitney/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Start by looping the band around each of your palms with your thumb sticking out.
  2. Bring your left palm to touch your right shoulder.
  3. Make a fist around the band with your right palm, facing away from your body.
  4. Lock your right elbow in place along the right side of your torso.
  5. With your right fist, press the band away from your right shoulder, extending the elbow.
  6. Reverse the motion to the start.
  7. Do all your reps on this side, then switch.

Tip

Keep your locked elbow in place as you perform this exercise in order to isolate the triceps.