Summer is season of leisure; yet many clients find themselves busier than usual, which translates into logging fewer workouts. In preparation for the coming season, I have been testing out some quick upper body resistance band routines to introduce to my busy summer clients who find it hard to get to the gym.

Summer Bodies Are Made All Year Round

Traveling or taking care of kids on school vacation are some of the reasons clients don’t work on their “summer body” in the summer. But you can change that by arming them with a few resistance band exercises to get a workout in a pinch. 

Resistance bands are light weight and easy to keep handy. These can be done anywhere you can imagine: living room, hotel room, a garage, a park or beach.


Here are five moves that hit the major upper body muscles in one routine:

1.Bicep curl to overhead press

-Start with feet on the band; wider more challenging, narrow less challenging.

-Hold the band so the hands are shoulder-width distance without resting the elbows on the ribcage.

-Hands begin at the end range of motion by the thighs.

-Curl up then press the band overhead.

-Reverse directions with control.

2. Pull-apart

-Hands start at chest-height about shoulder-width.

-Pull the bands apart in front of the chest while keeping the shoulders from elevating.

-Squeeze the shoulder blades together.

-Return slowly.

3. Front raises

-Begin with feet on the band and hands down by sides with softly bent elbows.

-Raise the arms straight up in front until they are shoulder-height.

-Lower back down.

4. Bent-over row

-Start with feet on the band, soft bend in the knees, hip hinge forward with back about parallel to the floor.

-Make sure the spine in not rounding forward, shoulders are back and away from the ears while the hands hold the resistance band about knee to mid-shin.

-Pull the band so that the elbows graze the rib cage and squeeze the elbows up towards the ceiling. The higher the hands hit the torso, the more emphasis will be placed on the upper back and traps. Hands lower on the rib cage will activate the lats more.

-Cross the band in opposite hands to intensify.

5. Asymmetrical chest press

-This one requires an anchor point to loop the band around.

-Feet can be hip-width distance to activate the core for stabilization or a staggered stance can be taken to prevent back bending or imbalance.

-One hand on the band starting at shoulder-height facing away from the anchor point.

-Press the hand down straightening the arm in front at about a 30 degree angle.

-Return to starting position.

-Closer to anchor point is less challenging. More challenging step further from the anchor point.


To make these exercises more of a routine, I suggest giving clients some programming. You can go simple and recommend sets and reps, or to get a little more exertion in a short session, prescribe a HIIT protocol; something like an AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible) or EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute). Last week when I did these five movements, I did a ladder set of 10 rounds starting with one rep of each exercise and adding one rep each round until the last round was 10 reps.

These few movements with a quick program will help clients maintain their fitness goals when busy schedules get in the way. Be on the lookout in July for some lower body exercises using a resistance band.

Functional Training Specialist Manual

Theresa Perales

Theresa Perales has an MA in Spanish, and is an ESL teacher at San Diego State University (SDSU). After years of struggling with her weight, she decided to give exercise a try. A passion for health and fitness grew instantly and inspired her to become certified as a personal trainer with NFPT, and as a group fitness instructor with AFAA Group Fitness and Madd Dog Athletics® Spinning. Theresa believes that nutrition and fitness are not about aesthetics but ultimately about feeling healthy and empowered.