The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of resistance training performed with no external load (NLRT) versus resistance training performed with elastic bands (RTEB) on muscle hypertrophy and functional performance in hospitalized patients. Twenty hospitalized females (age, 59.05±3.2 years; height 163.6±2.5 cm; body mass 70.2±3.6 kgs) were randomly assigned to RTEB or NLRT. Both groups trained three times a week for five weeks. RTEB was performed with elastic bands, while NLRT involved maximum voluntary contractions with no external loads. Biceps brachii, triceps brachii and pectoralis muscle thickness (MT) were measured by ultrasound. Functional performance was measured by the 30s elbow flexion test. MT significantly increased in all muscles tested for both groups, with no differences between groups. Changes ranged from 14 to 38%. Functional performance significantly improved by 42.7% for NLRT and 52.1% for RTEB, with no difference between them. The present results suggest that NLRT might be an efficient, feasible and low-cost strategy to promote morphological and functional benefits in the upper limb of hospitalized patients.