Resistance bands are very light, yet they can take the place of heavy weights and become practical, portable tools for strengthening your body. The bands work on the same principle as any other resistance tool. But instead of fighting gravity while you lift heavy weights, the resistance is provided by the band itself as you stretch it to its limits. You’ll find resistance band exercises to strengthen practically any part of your body, including your mid- and upper-back muscles.
Secure a long, two-handled resistance band to a fixed object and pull on the band to work your back muscles. Perform exercises such as rows, lat pulldowns or reverse flyes. To target your upper back, for example, sit on the floor in a position where you can hold the band horizontal with your arms extended. Extend your legs in front of you with your knees slightly flexed, while keeping your upper body vertical. Exhale as you pull the handles to your chest without moving your legs or torso. Inhale and return slowly to the starting position.
Stretch a short band without attaching it to any object. You can work your upper back by simply standing erect while holding a short band horizontally in front of your chest in both hands. Exhale as you pull your shoulder blades together and stretch the band to the side with both arms. Inhale and return to the starting position. Want to work your middle back? Simulate a lat pulldown by holding the band overhead with your hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Exhale and bring the band down as you spread your hands to your sides at shoulder height. Inhale and gradually resume your starting position.
Step on the band to secure it against the floor, then pull on the band to work the appropriate muscles. For example, step on the band with your right foot and grasp the handle with your right hand. Take a step back with your left leg, keep your knees flexed and bend forward about 45 degrees from your hips. Holding the handle at about knee level, exhale as you pull it up to the right side of your chest, below the armpit. Your elbow should be pointed up at the top of your movement. Inhale and lower the band slowly until your arm is extended. Repeat the exercise with your left arm.
- If an exercise is too difficult, add a little slack to the band to reduce the resistance. Looking for a greater challenge? Reduce the slack at the start of the exercise to increase the resistance.
- Perform at least eight repetitions of each exercise and try to work up to three sets.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.