In this paper, spectral efficiency (SE) is investigated for cooperative ultra-wideband (UWB) based on-body area networks (OBANs). To optimize SE for single-relay cooperation, an equivalent generic cooperative model in UWB based OBANs is established first. With the proposed model, joint optimal relay location and power allocation for cooperation is then derived to solve the SE maximization problem. Simulation results show that direct transmission is preferable for UWB based OBANs when the transmitter and receiver are located on the same side of the human body. However, the joint optimal cooperative transmission scheme can achieve a significant improvement on SE compared with direct transmission when the transmitter and receiver are located on the different sides of the human body, which indicates that cooperation is more feasible to be applied in this case due to its robustness to the significant path loss.