Full-Body Resistance Band Workout You Can Do Anywhere
Resistance bands, mini bands, loop bands, therapy bands—whatever you like to call them—are a great fitness tool to have at your disposal. Not only are resistance band workouts easy for all ability levels, but the bands are an inexpensive, portable piece of strength equipment that fits in any small space. They’re great for home workouts when getting to the gym doesn’t fit into your day, or for when you’re on the road; just pack it in your suitcase and get a full-body workout right from your hotel room. The options are endless!
Still not convinced? No problem. Let’s talk about some of the other benefits these exercise bands can offer:
- Increased Stability and Balance: in order to keep the correct form, and keep the band in-line during resistance band workouts, you’ll be forced to activate your “stabilizer muscles.” Basically, what this means is even though you only meant to target one muscle group—like your upper back per say— you’re actually getting an entire body workout because you need to engage your core and lower body to keep balanced. Score!
- Improved Mobility: resistance or loop bands aren’t just for building muscle, they’re also for improving your flexibility and joint mobility.
- Reduce Risk of Injury: resistance band workouts are typically filled with low-impact strength training exercises that you’re able to do alone without a personal trainer or coach. It can be tempting to believe that the only way to build muscle is by lifting heavy weights, but that’s typically when injuries happen. Plus, the best resistance band exercises are also used in rehabilitating injured muscles and joints—no wonder they’re also called “therapy bands.”
- New Spin on Favorite Exercises: variety is the spice of life and it’s no different for your workout routine. If your go-to exercises have been feeling a little stale lately, try mixing it up by performing them with a mini band or loop bands. Not only will it feel different, it will also change the way your body has to work, too!
Essentially, the way most of the best resistance band exercises work is by using the resistance established by putting the band in your hands, below your feet, and sometimes around your body—it really just depends on muscles you target and the type of band you’re using. With all of the different information and content out there about resistance bands, it can be hard and just downright confusing to know which one is best, so we’re breaking down everything you need to know to be able to complete a resistance band workout with confidence:
Sheet bands are thin sheets of latex rubber that are mostly used for rehab, stretching, or warming up. Sheet bands offer the least resistance and are a good option if you’re just getting started or recovering from an injury.
Loop Bands and Mini Bands
Loop bands are enclosed bands that look like a large rubber band. They vary in size, shape, and color. Large, traditional loop bands work well for upper body and lower body exercises, although they can be difficult for beginners since they do not have handles. Mini bands are a form of loop bands, but are much smaller in size; mini bands work best for lower body exercises that would normally be done with bodyweight. Mini bands are a great way to add a challenge to your workout and help build muscle. For example, you could add a mini band to your glute bridge to set your glutes medius muscle on fire! (In a good way.)
Tube bands are made of dense tubes of rubber and are arguably the most popular type of exercise bands because of the handles of the ends of the band. This type of band is great for upper body workouts, like the bicep curl. They also come in different sizes and thicknesses, which translate into various resistance levels.
Okay, let’s pause—that was a lot of information; but when used correctly, any type of band will work for this resistance band workout, although we believe the best resistance band exercises are done with tube bands. If the movement is too easy, shorten the tubing in a variety of ways (typically move your hands, add a foot, or lengthen your stride) to challenge yourself more.
PSA: We recommend performing each movement in a slow, controlled manner. Make sure to wear supportive shoes and get a solid hold on the band before pulling. You wouldn’t want it to spring up and hit you in the face! Choose smooth flooring as well; a rough surface could scratch or wear down the tubing, which will compromise its structure and safety as well. If you are using places in your home, or outside as an anchor point, double check that your band is secure before pulling.
Anywhere, anytime: Give this versatile piece of equipment a try! Here’s a resistance band workout to get you started.
Full-Body Resistance Band Workout
For each exercise, perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions, resting 45 seconds between sets.
1 – Stand upright with your feet hip-distance apart. With your right foot on the center of the band, hold the handles at the ends of the band at your shoulders, with your elbows bent.
2 – Take a step backward with your left foot, dropping your left knee almost to the floor and leaning your torso slightly forward, with your weight on your right leg.
3 – Step your left foot back up to starting position while maintaining your weight on your right leg. Be sure to keep the handles at your shoulders throughout.
4 – Complete all 15 reps with your right leg on the center of the band, and then switch to your left leg.
Bent Over Row
1 – Place both feet on the band, somewhere between shoulder-width and hip-width apart. Bend forward at your waist (don’t forget to bend knees, too), and keep your upper back and lower back flat. Criss-cross the handles so that the band makes an “X” when you hold them.
2 – Lift both handles up to your armpits at the same time, keeping your elbows pointed behind you. Be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades and upper back muscles and pause at the top of the move for an extra bonus.
3 – Lower the handles back to a straight arm position, keeping your core engaged and upper body flat throughout. Repeat!
1 – Get into a traditional push-up position, with your feet together, arms shoulder-width apart and core tight. Pause and make sure you can draw a straight line from your upper body down through your lower body.
2 – Wrap the tubing across your shoulder blades and bring the ends of the band to the inside of your hands. Hold the band tight and secure it under your hands—be sure to keep even pressure in both your right hand and left hand as you lower yourself to the floor. Your elbows should bend to make a 90 degree angle.
3 – Push up to a straight arm position, being sure to keep a slight bend in your elbows.
Recap Overhead Press
1 – To start, stand upright on the center of the band with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the handle with your left hand at shoulder level, and your right hand extended overhead. Your right elbow should be at your ear.
2 – Press your left hand up, while simultaneously lowering your right hand down to shoulder level. Both handles should be moving at the same time, but in opposite directions. Your palms should face in at all times.
1 – Stand upright on the middle of the tubing, with your feet hip-width to shoulder-width apart—there should be a slight bend in your knees. Hold the handles underhanded with your hands down near your hip-area, also known as the gluteus medius muscle.
2 – Raise the handles up to shoulder height, keeping your elbows at your sides, similar to the bicep curl. The difference is that your palms should be facing away from you.
3 – Lower the handles back to a straight arm position.
1 – Stand upright with your feet in the middle of the tubing, placed either hip-width or shoulder-width apart. Hold the handles at your shoulders, with your elbows bent.
2 – Squat down, while engaging your core to keep your upper back and chest up. Sit back and bend knees until your lower body makes a 90 degree angle. Your hands should stay in front of you at shoulder-width apart.
3 – Push up through your heels to return to the start position, keeping your back flat throughout.
1 – Lie on your back and put your left foot in one handle and your right foot in the other. Your hands should be flat on the floor.
2 – Push your feet up toward the ceiling, raising your hips and lower back off the floor, keeping your hands pressed against the floor for balance. Use your core muscles to pull yourself up—do not push with your hands.
Rear Delt Row
1 – Stand in the middle of the tubing with your feet shoulder-width apart—don’t forget to bend knees! If that is uncomfortable, try bringing your feet hip-width apart instead. Criss-cross the handles so the band forms an “X” in front of your lower body. Your left hand should be holding the handle that came from under your right foot and vice-versa.
2 – Fly the handles up and outward to shoulder height, keeping your back flat.
3 – Lower the handles back to the start position in front of your left and right knee.
1 – Get into the side plank position so that your right hand and right foot are supporting your body on the floor. Your left leg should be resting on top of your right leg. Your right elbow should be pointed behind you.
2 – Secure the band under the hand on the floor. Grab the other handle with your left hand and bring it to your right leg or hip.
3 – Pull the handle across your body and up to the ceiling so the stretched band is directly in front of your chest. Slowly lower the handle back to starting position.
4 – Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.