Build upper-body muscle with just a resistance band using this six-move strength workout

Build muscle all over, improve your hip and core stability, and work on your coordination with this fun full-body workout

Sweat app trainer Britany Williams
(Image credit: Sweat / Britany Williams)

You don't need to spend a lot to vary your home workouts; just a few affordable accessories can help you take your gym-free training to the next level. 

Take this workout, for example, which strengthens muscles across your entire body using just a couple of light dumbbells or a resistance band — you choose. The routine was designed by Britany Williams, a trainer for workout app Sweat

"Adding either a resistance band or dumbbell to workouts increases the amount of resistance or 'load' your muscles are having to work against," she explained. "This is the fundamental building block of getting stronger.

"Muscles will adapt to lifting heavier resistance levels as you progress, so it’s important to include some kind of resistance in your home workouts to achieve strength and performance gains over time."

Adding a resistance band or dumbbells into your training is a great way to challenge your body and build strength, but there are other benefits too. According to Williams, "this session can help improve balance, coordination, strength and muscular endurance."

"Many of the full-body exercises will also help increase your heart rate as you work both the upper and lower body simultaneously. Balance exercises will challenge the core and hip stability too."

Watch Britany Williams' upper-body workout

It's easy to focus on training your favorite body parts. For many people, this is their core, while others might make leg workouts a more regular fixture in their weekly plans. But it's important to adopt a balanced attitude to training.

To do this, Williams' routine gives you the chance to pick six moves from a list of nine multi-muscle compound exercises. Each one will hit your upper and lower body simultaneously, building a balanced body and providing a time-efficient training session.

"Our upper-body consists of much more than just biceps and triceps—the shoulders, chest and upper back are all vital for proper movement in our everyday lives," she explains.

"From being able to lift and hold your kid, to reaching for something on the top shelf, upper-body strength and mobility can support overall health, movement and can help keep you injury free.

"Additionally, many people (myself included) struggle with poor posture. Upper-body workouts can help improve posture, placing less strain on the core and hips, which can alleviate back and knee pain."

Performing upper body exercises to ease knee pain might seem like a counterintuitive approach. But, luckily, Williams is on hand to explain how the two can go hand in hand. 

"The body is a connected chain," she says. "Often people think of it in silos, as if the legs don’t impact the arms and vice versa, but that’s not the case. Muscle imbalances in one area can create issues elsewhere in the body."

If you struggle with aching lower body joints, using exercises for knee pain can help strengthen the surrounding muscles. And adding some of the best joint supplements can also help ease the pain too. 

Sweat Annual Membershipnow $89.99 at Sweat

Sweat Annual Membership | was $119.99, now $89.99 at Sweat

Save 25% off an annual membership to Sweat between 26th June and 11th July 2023, and your membership comes with a 14-day free trial, so you can give it a try. If you enjoyed this routine, there are hundreds more like it, and yoga, barre, and Pilates classes too. Don't miss out on this limited-time deal to save $30. 

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.


Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.