Although traditional resistance training workouts -- those with heavy weights and barbells -- can be beneficial, they're not for everyone. After all, if you're not trying to be the world's strongest woman, being able to bench press 300 pounds isn't likely to be high on your priority list. But if you want to get the benefits of resistance training, such as a faster metabolism from muscle gain, you can use less hardcore equipment such as elastic bands. Elastic bands offer enough resistance to tone and build muscle for a sexy upper body.
The muscles of your shoulders drive the motion of your arms -- whenever you throw a ball or pick up a drink, these muscles are in action. Many kinds of elastic band exercises target your shoulders to strengthen them for a variety of activities. For example, you can try the lateral raise, front raise, seated shoulder press and upright row. Your shoulders also play an assisting role in many other exercises, so strong shoulders can improve your performance in many other workouts.
It's not difficult to find activities that involve your arm muscles, so strengthening them is important for that function. But working out with elastic bands can also help you tone your arms and keep them looking tight and sexy, rather than loose and flabby. Instead of using dumbbells and barbells, you can perform many of the same arm exercises with elastic bands. Try the curl, overhead triceps extension and seated row. You can also perform band-resisted pushups by running the band up the outside of your arms and across your back as you perform pushups.
In your chest, the pectorals link together your arm, shoulder and back muscles and coordinate movements between them for enhanced strength. Thus, a strong chest helps you throw and punch harder, among other things. Working your chest with elastic bands is relatively simple. Try the chest press, incline press, bench press and band-resisted pushups.
Your back muscles are important for supporting your core and thus play a major role in posture. Working these muscles can help you stave off lower back pain and provide more force when performing activities such as rowing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a rowing motion with elastic bands is one you can use to strengthen your back -- upright rows and seated rows will help you get a strong back. The reverse fly and pulldown can also strengthen your back, but they will require you to anchor the elastic bands to a fixed object.
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.