8 Standing Band Exercises

To build upper body strength in older adults and seniors

Working with resistance bands is a great way to add variety into your exercise for seniors. A resistance band workout allows participants to pick the resistance or strength that suits them and their body, so it's an easy way to accommodate a diverse group of older adults.

The below set of standing exercises target the upper body muscles, and can be combined together to create a great resistance band arm workout for men and women. These are also great resistance band exercises for beginners, so if you have new participants in your class, they will quickly be able to pick up the resistance band exercise and get the benefits of the workout.

Exercise bands offer a heap of benefits to your class, and these exercises can also be done using resistance bands with handles. Technique is critical though throughout every exercise. While participants may not think workout bands are as tough as weights, band exercises can make those core muscles work even harder because you are able to move in so many different directions. Make sure participants start in the right position, and keep control of the resistance band throughout the exercise.

Want to see these exercises in action, and learn more about how to teach them in your class? Watch our demonstration video below.


Starting position: Stand tall with feet apart. Hold hands in under grip wide on the band, with thumbs pointing out.

Movement: Keep arms straight, open arms and take out to the side, leading with the thumbs.

Technique: Shoulders down, engage shoulder blades, and avoid arching the back.

Variation: Perform exercise one arm at a time.


Starting position: Stand tall with feet apart. Hold hands close together on band in top grip, doubling band over if required. Lift arms straight forward.

Movement: Keep arms straight and pull hands apart with a small controlled motion out and in.

Technique: Keep shoulders down, and wrists straight. Use arms to pull band out, not hands.

Variation: Hold arms overhead.


Starting position: Stand tall with feet apart. Hold hands apart on band, with both hands straight forward (double band over if necessary). Stand with one foot in front of the other.

Movement: Keep one arm straight forward, and pull the other elbow back behind body, bringing hand back to the shoulder and rotating slightly.

Technique: Avoid turning hips, and keep hand in close to body.


Starting position: Bend knees slightly and lean forward. Hold either end of band, with arms straight down to floor.

Movement: Pull band apart and lift arms out to side.

Technique: Don't roll shoulders or curl back forward - keep a flat back throughout exercise. Don't lift arms above shoulder level and arch back - increase tension on the band if required.

Starting position: Stand tall with feet apart. Hold hands on band close together, and take arms overhead.

Movement: Pull one hand down to shoulder level, keeping other arm straight overhead.

Technique: Keep shoulders down, squeeze shoulder blades as band comes down to shoulder.


Starting position: Stand tall with feet apart. Hold hands apart on the band, with both hands together at one shoulder. Bend one arm with elbow pointing forward, the other elbow bent and pointing down.

Movement: With the arm pointing down, extend forearm down and behind the body.

Technique: Don't swing arm or elbow, keep it behind the body. Ensure straight wrists at all times.


Starting position: Stand tall with feet apart. Hands apart on band, arms held straight forward.

Movement: Pull hands apart and back, one up on the angle, one down on the angle, so the band is stretched in a diagonal line. Pulse back twice. Alternate in opposite direction.

Technique: Squeeze shoulder blades, but do not arch the back as you pull the band back.


Starting position: Stand tall with feet apart. Hold hands closer together on band with arms straight overhead.

Movement: Bring one arm straight forward, keeping other one overhead.

Technique: Keep shoulders down, don't arch back or use body to generate momentum.

Exercise demonstration

Let's stay in touch!
Do you want to hear the latest on new courses, special offers, and older adults fitness information? We promise we won't bombard you with emails, only when we've got something we think you might be interested in. SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST NOW