Upper Body Workout with Resistance Bands – Garage Strength

Upper Body Workout with Resistance Bands

One of the hardest things to do when traveling is finding a place to work out. It is a tough factor, especially in a small hotel room. When we travel, we don’t have the normal space or equipment we are used to. To combat this, we can bring some bands from home and figure out some bodyweight movements through creativity to help maintain gains and lean muscle mass. It also helps that exercising will make the mind and body feel better.

Resistance Bands

At Garage Strength, we are big fans of power elastic bands. When traveling, we love using the bands to get a 25-30 minute workout. Make sure to get a proper warm-up. Don’t get lazy. Get a good warm-up, get a sweat rolling, and feel good.  

Series 1. Squat Press / Good Morning / Squat And Jump

The first movement we recommend is doing a full squat into a press. At the top, try to feel the hands all the way down into the feet. The movement is similar to a thruster, but the bands are behind the body and gripped within the hands. Go ahead and do four or five sets of twenty because the load will not be as heavy in the hotel with bands as compared to the traditional based resistance inside a weight room. 

This movement will give a good quad pump and light the shoulders up as well.

Get the band anchored under the feet nice and secure. Put the band around the backside of the neck and target the posterior chain by performing the good morning. The movement will wake up the hamstrings. The hamstrings will lengthen and the lower back will get a nice pump. This exercise is great when traveling, especially after sitting on a plane or long-hauling it in a car.

Also feel free to start getting creative with the bands, like a squat and jump using the band. We like doing the good morning in conjunction with the squat press. Being that we usually like to go for the most bang for our buck, we throw the squat and jump in as well for a solid three exercise super-set.

Series 2. Split Squat / Pull Back Rows

Make sure to attach the band to something extremely strong. Don’t become a meme.

With that band nice and secure, we like to hit some unilateral work by performing split squats for fifteen to thirty reps on each leg. As we get looser, we will add a row with the band once the single-leg squat is stood up. This will force more stability out of that front leg. It also gets the upper body waking up as the quads and hamstrings fire together. Go ahead and rep out some pull-back rows standing up to finish things off.

Series 3. Overhead Squat / External Rotation

Again make sure the band is secured to something incredibly sturdy. The whole goal of this movement is to wake up the upper back. The object the band is attached to is in front of the body. The arms are extended overhead keeping the bands tight. Hit maybe ten to fifteen squats for four or five sets.

After completing the squats, go ahead and complete some external rotations to finish waking up the upper back. The upper back should be nice and woke right now to smash some upper bodywork.

Series 1. Curl To Forehead / Tricep Kick Backs / Standing Flies

This movement will hit the brachioradialis (most of the bicep as well) and try to get twenty-five to thirty reps before going right into tricep kickbacks to get a good pump. Really try to feel the blood flow into the muscles. The third movement of this series is standing flies. 

At this point, we are feeling nice and strong. The arms will get a pump and the upper body is going to look nice and swole for the beach, that meeting, or whatever else is planned for the traveling adventures.

Bonus Movement: Chinese Side Bends

We stole this movement directly from the Chinese Weightlifting Team. Step on the band, get a little of a wrap with the hands and go side-to-side. It helps the piriformis develop and trains the side-abs, the obliques, and loosens up the back. We will do one to two sets of fifty to one-hundred reps to each side. This will shred the obliques. It is great trunk work!

To make it more explosive, put a little shrug in at the top. This will target the traps as well.


The great thing about this workout is that a full-body routine can be done in twenty-five to thirty minutes. It will get a really good sweat going, have us feeling strong, and burn some calories. The best thing is this workout isn’t super challenging. It also can be performed multiple times a day. 


Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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