Whether you're traveling, pinched for time or space, or looking for an affordable piece of equipment to strength train at home, resistance bands are a great, accessible tool.
In addition to being convenient and portable, they also work your muscles in a unique way: Since there is resistance during the concentric and eccentric motion of the exercise, you’re constantly being challenged to maintain proper form and your stabilizing muscles are recruited.
There are a few different types of resistance bands. For this workout you will utilize the bands with handles and also the shorter loop bands. As a personal trainer, I prefer using the longer bands with handles to work the back and arms, and the shorter bands with more tension for legs and glutes. We are not using the thicker resistance bands in this workout — those are usually used for rehabilitation exercises and stretching.
In this full-body resistance band workout, we’ll start with the lower body, get down on the ground for a core move, and then stand back up for the upper body.
You can do this routine every other day, as you would with other strength-training workouts. Perform each exercise in the circuit 10 times and repeat the circuit for a total of three rounds. Remember to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth during this routine.
The lower body exercises work the quads, hamstrings, glutes, stabilizing muscles of the lower body, and the core. Pull the naval in toward the spine to support the low back and to help maintain your balance.
Standing side taps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and the resistance band around your ankles. Shift your weight so that you are standing on your right leg; press down through the heel. Slightly bend your knees. Then, lift the left leg out to the side so that it is completely straight, tapping the toe on the ground. Bring it back to center. Repeat 10 times and then switch to the right side.
Standing glute kickbacks
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and the resistance band around your ankles; bend your knees slightly. Shift your weight so that you are standing on your right leg. Step the left leg back behind you and straighten the leg, reaching through the heel. Then bring it back to center. Repeat 10 times and then switch sides.
This move works both the glutes and the legs by combining the squat with the jumping jack. Place the resistance band around your legs just above your knees. In a slight squat position with your feet hip-width apart, jump both feet out towards opposite sides of the room and then back together. Repeat 10 times.
Core open and close
For this exercise, lie down on your back with the resistance band wrapped around the upper thighs. Reach the legs up toward the ceiling and then lower down to a 45-degree angle. From there, open the legs as wide as the shoulders, feeling the outer hips working against the resistance of the band, and then close the legs back together. Repeat this 10 times, making sure to pull the naval in toward the spine and press the low back into the ground.
Now it’s time to swap bands. Move on to the longer band with handles to work the arms and back.
Hold one handle in each hand and step on the center of the band with both feet hips-distance apart. Slightly bend your knees and pull your abs in. Keeping your upper arms glued to your sides, pull the band up toward your shoulders into a bicep curl, then release back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Bent over reverse fly
This exercise targets the upper back. Hold one handle in each hand and step one foot forward and the other foot back behind you into a high lunge. Anchor the band under your front foot. Bend the front knee at almost a 90-degree angle and keep a slight bend in the back knee as well. Hinge at your waist, leaning forward to a 45-degree angle, and let your arms reach down toward the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, pulling the band out to the sides as high as your shoulders. Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Start in the same position as the last exercise, with one foot forward, standing on top of the band, and the other foot back behind you. Switch your grip, grabbing the handles from underneath so that your palms are facing forward, away from you. Hold the handles at shoulders height. Press the band up over your head, extending both arms fully. Release back down to the starting position and repeat 10 times.
Horizontal rear delt flys
Grab the tubing of the band, hold it in front of your chest with your hands as wide as your shoulders, letting the handles dangle. Make sure there is a little bit of tension on the band from this position; you don’t want any slack. Then, keep the shoulders down and engage the upper back as you pull your arms out to the sides, wider than your shoulders. Come back to center. Repeat this 10 times.