Resistance Bands
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Resistance Band Exercises and Workouts

Resistance bands are made of strong thin rubber and they allow you to perform resistance training without weights. They come in various strengths to provide more intensity and are usually in bright colours to differentiate the strength of each. 

They are easier on the joints whilst engaging the muscles. You can get a full-body workout with them and as there are various intensities of bands, you can constantly challenge your body. 

They are inexpensive and can be used anywhere, saving you money on the costs of gym memberships or more expensive equipment.

They are easy to store, take up very little room, and are great to travel with.  

To use resistance band, you will need to stand on a portion of the band and grasp the handles (if they are the type of bands that include handles) or other end. When performing the exercises, pull the resistant band up, like lifting a free weight, ensuring you control the negative or eccentric phase on the way down to provide direct resistance to the muscle.

Aim for 12-15 repetitions on each set, this will be a good range to build strength and muscle. If you can go for more reps than that you will need to choose a higher intensity/stronger band to get the full benefits. 

If you can only do 4-5 repetitions you’ve chosen a band that’s too intense to get the best results. Start with a warm up that involves some dynamic stretching, include leg and arm swings as this will help to warm up the muscles and get blood flowing to them. 

Resistance Band Exercises

You can do almost any exercise with resistance bands and they work all the major muscles in the body. You can use them with familiar exercises as they are very adaptable and versatile. You can constantly change your routine with them thus leading to an ever-changing stimulus to the body driving more results and progress. 

Leg Exercises

Squats

resistance-band-squat
  • Keep your feet shoulder length apart while standing on the band. 
  • Hold the handles or place the loop band around your shoulders and push your arms straight up overhead. 
  • Perform a full squat while making sure your hands do not move and return to the standing position. 

Glute Kickback

cable kickbacks resistance bands
  • Start on your hands and knees with the band looped around your ankle and held down by your knees. 
  • Lift your leg extending it back as far as you can while squeezing your glute. 
  • Try to straighten your leg and bring it back under control to the starting position. This is 1 rep and continue to do 12-15 before switching to the other leg. 

Glute Bridge

Resistance band Glute Bridge
  • Start on the floor, on your back, feet flat with the knees up and feet shoulder-width apart. Loop a medium size band around your thighs just above the knee.  
  • Squeeze your glutes and abs and push your hips upwards until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. 
  • Hold at the top for a moment before slowly returning to the starting position. This is 1 rep. 

Lateral Lunge

Lateral Lunge Resistance band
  • Loop a resistance band around both your ankles and stand up straight. 
  • Take a wide step out to the right and when your foot hits the ground, lower into a lunge.  
  • Hold for a second and drive through your foot, pushing off the ground back to the starting position then do the same motion for the left leg. This is 1 rep. 

Forward Lunge 

Forward Lunge resistance band
  • Starting in a similar position as the lateral lungethis time step forward with your right leg and lower down into a lunge positionstop just before your left knee touches the ground. 
  • Hold for a secondpush through your heel back to the starting position and repeat the motion with your left leg. This is 1 rep. 

Lateral Walk 

Lateral Walk resistance band
  • Loop a resistance band around your ankles and get into a quarter-squat position as the starting point. 
  • Take a giant step out and to the right then do the same with your left foot and take 5 steps forward. 
  • Now start stepping backwards, starting with your left foot followed by the right until you are back in the starting position. 

Standing Hamstring Curl

standing hamstring curl resistance bands
  • Stand up straight with a resistance band looped around your ankles and feet shoulder width apart.
  • Pull with your right heel, bringing your leg up as close to your glutes as you can while squeezing your hamstring.
  • Lower under control and repeat with your left leg for 1 rep. You can stand against a wall with your hands placed on it for more support, if needed.

Lying Hamstring Curl

Lying Hamstring Curl with resistance band
  • Using a single length band, tie the band around a solid support and while lying flat on the floor face down, have the other end looped around your right ankle.
  • Pull in with your heel, trying to bring it towards your glute.
  • Squeeze your hamstring for a second at the top and return under control to the starting position for 1 rep. Do 12-15 reps for your right leg before moving on to your left leg, to make up 1 set

Stiff Legged Deadlift

Stiff Legged Deadlift Resistance Bands
  • Take a medium resistance band and stand on it with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Reach down to grasp the band with both hands ensuring your legs and back are straight and stable.
  • Stand up while pulling the band to a standing position, moving your hips forward and keeping your chest up and out.
  • Lower your back to the starting position, under control, keeping the legs as straight as possible to do 1 rep.

Shoulder Exercises

Standing Shoulder Press

shoulder press Resistance Band
  • Use a resistance band with handles. Stand on the band with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Grab the handles with your palms, face forward and start with your hands at shoulder level.
  • Extend up and push your arms overhead, stopping just before your elbows lock out and return (under control) to the starting position, for 1 rep.

Side Lateral Raise

Side Lateral Raises resistance band
  • Using a similar band and starting foot position, start with holding the handles on the outside of your legs.
  • Raise your arms up and bring to parallel making a “T” position.
  • At the top, pause for a second then lower (under control) to the starting position. This is 1 rep

Front Raise

Front Raise with Resistance Band
  • Again, using a similar handled band and the same starting foot position, hold handle with your palms down, starting at the front of your legs
  • Lift both of your arms up together, stopping at eye level
  • Hold for a second and lower under control to the starting position for 1 rep
  • This can also be done in an alternating fashion, starting with your right arm, lift it up to eye level then return it back to your leg. Then, perform the same exercise with your left arm. This is 1 rep

Chest Exercises

Horizontal Chest Press

horizontal chest press resistance band
  • Start with a two- handle band, lying on the ground with the band underneath your back
  • With a handle in each hand, start by pushing the right arm up towards the ceiling, pausing at the top and lower your back to chest level before alternating with the left arm for 1 rep.
  • This can be done with both arms at the same time.

Resistance Band Chest Fly

crossover-chest-fly resistance band
  • Using a resistance band with handles, loop it to something secure behind you, grab handles and start with your arms out in a “T” position with your palms facing forward.
  • Step forward with one leg to create a stable stance and resistance in your chest from the bands.
  • Bring your arms together by meeting the handles together in front of you and squeezing your chest. Hold for a second and return your hands to the starting position under control

Bicep Exercises

Standing Bicep Curl

Standing Bicep Curl resistance band
  • Start with a two handled band, standing on it with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the handles, starting at the side of your legs with your palms facing up.
  • Curl arms upwards, squeezing your bicep at the top for a moment and lower (under control) to the starting position for 1 rep

One Arm Curls

Arm Curl resistance bands
  • Start with a normal looped band whilst standing on the band with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Grasp the band with one hand and your palm facing up.
  • Standing up straight, curl the band upwards, squeezing your bicep at the top and returning your arm (under control) to a starting position for 1 rep. Perform 12-15 reps and switch to your left arm for 1 set.

Triceps Exercises

 Overhead Tricep Extension

Overhead Tricep Extension Resistance Band
  • stand on top of a tube band with handles
  • Grab a handle in one hand and stretch your arm up bending them at the elbow so your hand start behind your neck.
  • With your palm facing up towards the ceiling extend your arm upwards until they are fully extended. Squeeze for a second and lower (under control) to the starting position to make up 1 rep
  • Repeat with the other hand.

Tricep Pushdown

  • Find an object you can loop a tube band above your head.
  • Start by holding the resistance band with your elbows tucked in close to your body and palms facing down with your forearms parallel to the ground.
  • Push your arms downwards until they are full extended. Squeeze your triceps and return upwards (under control) to the starting position for 1 rep.

Back Exercises

Lat Pulldown

pulldowns resistance bands
  • Loop a resistance band over a sturdy anchor above you.
  • Grab the resistance band with your palms, the band should be at around head height.
  • Extend your arms to the ceiling. Keep your back straight and your head up.
  • Pull the band down, pulling your elbows to the back while squeezing your shoulder blades.
  • Slowly extend your arms back to the starting position for 1 rep

Bent Over Rows

Bent Over Rows resistance band
  • Pace your right foot on a band with the left kept at the back and lean forward to a 45-degree angle, keeping your back straight.
  • Pull the band up with both hands to your waist, trying to pull your elbows behind your back whilst squeezing your shoulder blades.
  • Slowly return to the starting position for 1 rep

Seated Row

resistance-band-seated-row
  • Take a normal looped band and start sitting on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you and the band looped around your feet.
  • Keeping your back straight, grab the ban
  • Hold for a second and return your arms back out whilst keeping your back upright and straight for 1 rep with both hands and row backward pulling your elbows as far back as you can and squeezing your shoulder blades.

Abs Exercises

Kneeling Crunches

Abs Crunch resistance band
  • Using a tube band, start in a kneeling position with the band anchored to something secure above you.
  • Bring the bands over your shoulders, grasping the handles at chest level in front of you with your palms down and upper body up straight for the starting position.
  • Keeping your abs tight, bend your torso forward, crunching your abs and holding for a second.
  • Return to the starting position, under control, to make 1 rep

Side Plank & Pull

Side Plank & Pull bands
  • Start in a pushup position with a tube band with handles, your hands holding the handles and spaced shoulder-width apart.
  • Starting with your right arm, pull your arm up towards the ceiling rotating your body until your upper body is facing outward toward the right wall. Lower your right arm (under control) back to the floor and repeat with your left arm reaching up to the ceiling and your upper body turned with your chest facing the left wall.

Ab/Leg Crunches

resistance band leg crunches
  1. Start lying on the ground with your arms by your side. Take a tube band with handles and anchor it around something stable.
  2. Put your feet through the handles and start with your legs straight on the ground.
  3. Starting with your left leg, pull your knee up towards your chest, keeping your abs tight, hold for a second and return to the starting position before repeating with the right leg to make up 1 rep. Make sure to keep your toes pointing up so the handles do not slip off

Resistance Band Workouts

This is a full-body workout using resistance bands. It will start with the bigger muscle groups whilst providing a full-body workout. The goal is 2-3 sets per exercise and around 12-15 repetitions per set. If you can do more reps then you should choose a stronger resistance band. Start with a 5-10 minute warmup to get the heart rate up and increase blood flow to the muscle.

You can do these workouts several different ways. You can perform a few sets per body part before moving on to the next one. Or, you can go through all the exercise in a row for one set, to achieve one full-body round. Then performing a second/ third round.

Leg Workout

Lateral Band Walk

Lateral Walk resistance-band

When performing a Lateral Band Walk, you must loop a resistance band around your ankles and stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your head up and your hands clasped together in front of you. Take 15 steps out to the right and then 15 steps back to the left. That’s one set, you can do 2-3 sets. Remember to:

  • Keep your core tight throughout the walking.
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Rest 45-60 seconds in-between sets.

Banded Squat with Leg Lift

Resistance Band Squat with Leg Lift

Position a small resistance band around your thighs and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Flex at the hip and lower into a deep squat (under control) and as you stand use your hips and glutes to extend your right leg out to the side. Your right foot will return back to the ground to the shoulder-width position and you’ll start the motion again doing 20 reps of this before moving on to the other leg to make up one set. Perform 2-3 sets, ensuring you:

  • Keep your head up and chest out.
  • Keep your core tight.
  • Focus on pushing through with your heels.

Banded Jumping Jacks

Jumping Jacks

Place a small resistance band around your ankles and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Perform a jumping jack kick with your legs as far out to the side as you can, bringing your arms up over your head. Return to the starting position in a smooth motion, keeping this up for around 30-60 seconds for 2-3 rounds.

Chest Workout

Push-up Press

push-up resistance bands

Take a tube resistance band and place it around your back and under your arms. Grasp the band and place your hands on the floor in a pushup position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Have your hands just below your shoulder and start in the upright position. Slowly lower yourself to the ground and stop just before your chest touches the ground. Push up to the starting position and aim for 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets. Rest 45-60 seconds in-between sets and exercises.

Standing Chest Press

  • Take a tube resistance band with handles and loop it around a stable anchor behind you.
  • Start with one leg in front of the other, standing upright and holding the handles with your palms down. Your hands should be at shoulder level and you should be far enough forward to feel some resistance in your chest.
  • Push the bands forward, stopping just short of your elbows locking out. Return the bands (under control) to the starting position and perform 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets.

Back Workout

Seated Row

Seated Row resistance bands

Take a medium-sized band and loop around your feet. To get started, sit with your legs straight and your back upright, grasp the band with both hands, palms facing down.

Extend the arms out to feel a bit of resistance in your back. Keeping your back straight, pull back with your elbows as far as you can, whilst keeping them tucked in by your sides. Squeeze for a second and return slowly to the starting position, without leaning forward.

Do 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets.

Remember to:

  • Keep your abs tight through the repetitions.
  • Imagine a pole between your shoulder blades and squeeze around it when you row backward

Upright Row

  • Use a medium resistance band and start by standing on it with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grasp the band with both hands with your palms facing towards your body. The starting position is standing upright holding the band in front of your legs.
  • Lift up with your arms focusing on pulling your elbows up towards the ceiling. Bring your hands up, stopping just short of your chin and pause for a second before lowering to the starting position.

Aim for 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets.

Arm Workout

Standing Bicep Curl

  • Take a medium band and stand on it like the upright row but holding the band with your palms facing upwards. The starting position is standing upright with hands just outside your legs.
  • Curl the band upwards and squeeze your biceps at the top before lowering under control back to the starting position.

Aim for 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets.

 Overhead Tricep Extension

Overhead Tricep Extension Resistance Band
  • Using a longer resistance band, start by placing one foot behind you whilst standing on the band.
  • Grasp both handles and bring them up straight over your head. Keep your elbows tight to your head and lower behind your head until you feel a stretch in the back of your arm.
  • Extend your arms up overhead, straightening them out to perform one rep.

Complete 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets.

Abs Workout

Lower Abs

resistance band leg crunches
  • Take a tube band with handles and loop it around a secure anchor.
  • Start by lying on your back with your feet through the handles. Bring your left knee up to your chest and return it back to the starting position before following up with the right leg to perform one rep.

Aim for 20-25 reps for 2-3 sets.

Upper Abs

  • Using the same band and anchor, start with grasping the handles at your side and knees bent with feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your abs tight and perform a crunch motion before returning (under control) to the floor, stopping before your back is flat.

This is 1 rep, aim to perform 20-30 reps for 2-3 sets.

Adnan Munye

A certified personal trainer, Adnan specialises in weight loss, muscle building, body conditioning, core strengthening and injury rehabilitation. Adnan comes from a sporting background, where he has played football, badminton, rugby, and swimming all at various levels.

Adnan has always been passionate about health and fitness. He comes from a sporting background playing football, badminton, rugby, and swimming at various levels from a young age.