6 Resistance Band Exercises for a Total-Body Workout

Routine by Annette Milbers, CPT, PN1  |  Photos by Paul Buceta

As a weightlifter, it can be easy to roll your eyes at the mention of a resistance band. But don’t be so quick to dismiss it. While it may not be the loaded barbell you’re used to, this small-but-mighty fitness tool can be one of the most effective pieces of equipment in your repertoire. Aside from being perfectly portable, bands can actually improve your overall fitness by enhancing range of motion, flexibility, muscular endurance, stability, and yes, strength and power too. And since they can be used in literally hundreds of exercises, bands give you the opportunity to engage in a full-body workout that challenges every muscle.

The Goal:
To challenge your muscles in new ways using only a resistance band.

Why It Works: Besides offering the muscles variety, resistance bands require effort throughout the entire range of motion (unlike free weights which tend to rely on momentum), improving muscle strength and control.

Equipment: 
At least one resistance band.

How to: Perform 20 reps of each exercise. After completing one set of each exercise back to back, perform the Active Rest circuit. Repeat the entire thing for three rounds. If this feels too easy, do four rounds.

Active Rest:

60 seconds each:
• High Knees
• Butt Kickers
• Jumping Jacks
• Mountain Climbers

Squat to Press

Stand on the middle of the band, feet shoulder-width apart, holding an end in each hand at your shoulders, and lower into a squat (A). Come up to standing, pressing the ends of the band straight overhead (B). Return to the squat position and repeat for all reps.

Lying Leg Raise

Lie on your back with the band wrapped under your feet, holding an end in each hand (A). Keeping your legs straight, raise and lower your legs for all reps (B). Pull gently on the band to create extra resistance.

Stationary Lunge with Twisting Pull-Apart

Begin in a split-stance holding the band out in front of you, hands shoulder-width apart (A). Lower into a lunge and twist in the direction of your front leg, pulling your arms out to the sides (B). Return to the starting position and repeat. Complete all reps on this side, then repeat on the opposite side.

Single-Arm Row

Get into a wide split-stance with the band wrapped under your front foot. Hold both ends in the opposite hand down by your knee with your knees bent (A). Keeping your upper body stationary, pull the ends of the band up to your side and straighten your back leg (B). Return to the starting position and repeat. Complete all reps on this side, then repeat on the opposite side.

Push-Up

Get into push-up position with the band placed across your upper back, holding an end under each palm (A). Perform push-ups normally for all reps (B).

Triceps Kickback

Stand on the middle of the band with feet hip-width apart. Hold an end in each hand at your sides with arms bent, making sure there is plenty of resistance (A). Extend your arms straight back, squeezing your triceps (B). Return to the starting position and repeat for all reps.

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