2 Upper Back Exercises For Strengthening With Resistance Bands

Are you looking for upper back exercises?

This Physiotherapist exercise video shows you 2 upper back exercises that help you strengthen your upper back, tone your upper arms and improve your posture.

Suitability: General

Video duration: 4 mins 15 secs

Scroll down for exercise guidelines and tips for avoiding injury with these upper back exercises.

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Prolapse Exercises teaches you how to:

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  • Avoid unsafe exercises
  • Choose pelvic floor safe exercises
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  • Increase your strength and fitness
  • Strengthen your core
  • Lose weight

Why Use Resistance Bands For Upper Back Exercises?

Resistance bands and tubes can provide women with an effective way of upper back strengthening.

Resistance bands are:

  • Ideal for different strength levels (bands and tubes are colour coded according to the resistance provided)
  • Well suited to pelvic floor safe exercises
  • Portable and light weight (great to use when travelling)
  • Well suited to a range of whole body strength exercises
  • Easy to grip with handles
  • Great for training upright posture

Guide To Upper Back Exercises

The 2 exercises demonstrated in this video show you how to strengthen your upper back. The added bonus is that these exercises also strengthen and tone the upper arms and shoulders.

Keep your exercises safe by ceasing any exercise that causes you discomfort immediately; your strength exercises should feel comfortable during and after exercise.

Upper Back Exercise 1: Low Row

Low Row is an ideal exercise to start out with, especially if you’re prone to neck and/or shoulder discomfort.

Start out using light resistance and make sure your technique is correct from the outset before progressing your resistance.

Set Up

  • Fix the middle of the band around a fixed door handle (door closed)
  • Hold the ends of the band or handle in each hand
  • Rotate your wrists so your palms face your sides
  • Move away from the door so the bands have some tension when your arms are outstretched
  • Soften your knees
  • Lift your chest forwards
  • Relax your shoulders back and down

Action for Low Row

  • Pull back on both of the handles slowly using a smooth action
  • Breathe our as you pull back on the bands
  • Your elbows should stay close to the sides of your trunk
  • Raise your chest forwards as you extend the bands
  • Your shoulder blades should move inwards towards your spine and slightly downwards as you pull back on the bands
  • Your shoulder blades move apart around your chest wall as you release the bands

Upper Back Exercise 2: Wide Row

Wide Row is a progression from exercise 1 – make sure you can perform exercise 1 comfortably before progressing to this more advanced exercise.

Wide Row exercises strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades and the back of your shoulders and upper arms.

Set Up

  • Set up as for Exercise 1
  • Raise your elbows away from your sides (no higher than your shoulders)


  • Use the same action already described for Low Row however during Wide Row the elbows are raised away from the sides of the body*
  • Your shoulder blades should squeeze together as you draw slowly back on the bands
  • Your shoulder blades should move apart as you slowly release the bands

*The higher you raise your elbows the greater the potential for shoulder and neck strain; avoid raising your elbows too high from your sides if prone to neck and/or shoulder discomfort

How Many Upper Back Exercises?

  • Start out with the number of exercises that feel comfortable using the correct action
  • Aim to perform 8-12 exercises in a row (1 set)
  • Build up to 3 sets and take a rest break between each set
  • Perform your upper back exercises on 2 or 3 alternate days of the week

Tips for Avoiding Injury

  • Avoid tensing your neck and upper shoulders with these upper back exercises; keep your neck long and raise your chest forwards especially as you pull backwards on the handles
  • Keep your knees soft throughout this exercise to protect your lower back from strain
  • Sit on an exercise ball or chair to provide additional support for your pelvic floor
  • Breathe out with the effort of pulling back the bands
  • Choose the most appropriate resistance band that allows you to keep resistance manageable and avoid strain
  • Progress the resistance of the tube that you use as your strength improves
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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. Dear Michelle,

    I am back again with one question. I have a prolapse and I do daily prolapse exercises as you have indicated in book. They helped me a lot with the bladder control. However, if I do stand up exercises for upper back or other exercises for biceps /triceps in stand up position, I have some issues. Please advise. Thank you.

    I really appreciate your personal time and support in this matter.


    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Liliana
      Yes I suggest you do your upper back and upper body exercises seated on an exercise ball or a bench. Avoid standing where you can. Leaning forward low dumbbell row using a bench to lean on for support may be tolerable for you too, all the best. Let me know any questions …

  2. Hi Michelle,

    I have found the 2 recommended exercises for upper back very useful. Doing this exercises I exhale when pulling the band and inhale when releasing it. But inhaling & exhaling has also impact on the pelvic floor like in regular pelvic floor exercise. I hope this is OK, but I am not 100% sure. it would be nice if you can confirm this point. Thank you.

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Liliana

      This is absolutely correct – exhale with the effort of the lift, lower, push or pull in this case the pull. Cheers

  3. Hello Michele,
    I’d like to purchase one of your videos. I was told that I have a a mild stage 1 prolapse at my last years pap exam. Recently, you mentioned that the abdominal crunches on gym equipment are not good for those with prolapse. Even though I was performing these without any added weight- I am worried. Which video would be best for me? (including both stomach toning and anything to support my pelvic floor).
    Thank you,

  4. I entered my email address again because I haven’t received any updates since sept

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Sharon
      For some reason we can’t use the email address you have supplied. If you email us your email address this will help
      Many thanks

  5. Thanks for the resistant band exercises Michelle, so easy when travelling and unable to have access to weights. Cheers Marg.