The best resistance band exercises

  • 31 Jul - 06 Aug, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly

Sure, bodyweight workouts are great when you're on-the-go and don't have access to a gym. But there's also a very simple way that you can level-up your at-home or travel workout game – and all it takes is one tiny tool: a resistance band.

With practically an endless number of resistance band exercises at-the-ready to spice up your workouts, these simple, stretchy game-changers are both versatile and fun to use. If you grab a few different bands (think a long one with or without handles and a looped mini band), you can work every muscle from head to toe.

Some of the specific benefits of bands: They're good for evening out muscle imbalances and building muscle endurance. Plus, even if you are hitting the weights, bands are a great tool to use to warm up your muscles for big movements.

So, ready to see this piece of equipment in action? We've put together the best resistance band exercises for you to try at home or in the gym. Add a few to your usual routine or put a bunch together to create a full resistance band workout.

Note: Choose three to five moves below. Complete as many reps of each as possible in 30 to 45 seconds (depending on how much time you've got), then immediately continue to the next exercise. Once you've finished all three to five moves, rest as needed, then repeat for three to five rounds total.

Banded front squat

Stand on the middle of the resistance band with feet hip-width apart, holding one end of the band in either hand. Bend arms to bring hands up next to ears, and lift elbows up until triceps are parallel to the floor and narrow. This is your starting position. Keeping arms still, engage core and bend at knees to sink hips back and down until thighs are parallel to floor. Press through feet to extend legs and return to standing.

Lateral walk

Wrap a resistance band around thighs, and slowly sink seat into a half-squat position. Lift right foot and take one step to the right, followed by the left foot. Then, reverse the movement to return to starting position. That's one rep.

Banded single-leg tempo deadlift

Start standing on left leg with foot over the middle of a long resistance band and one end of the band in either hand. Push hips back to hinge at waist while lowering torso toward floor and lifting straight right leg back behind body until both are parallel to floor. Drive through left heel to reverse the movement and return to starting position. That's one rep.

Lateral raise

To start, stand with knees slightly bent, feet staggered, right foot forward and flat on the floor, left back (heel high), with the middle of a resistance band looped underneath the arch of right foot, hands grasping it by the ends, and arms at sides. Raise arms outward to the sides until parallel to the floor. Return slowly to start. That’s one rep.

Hamstring walkout

With resistance band wrapped around thighs, lie down on back, bend knees, plant feet, and lift hips into the air so body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Keep hips still, then lift left foot and step it a couple of inches forward, followed by the right. Repeat until legs are almost fully extended, then reverse the small steps and return to start. That’s one rep.

Plank to bear

Start in a plank position with a resistance band wrapped around feet. Lift right foot and bring it forward until knee is under hips and elevated a few inches off the floor. Repeat on opposite side. Pause, then return to start. That's one rep.

Banded bird dog

Start on all fours with a resistance band wrapped around both feet, left hand under left shoulder, and left leg and right arm both extended straight and parallel to floor. Then, pull right elbow and left knee in to touch beneath torso. Return to start. That's one rep.

Single-leg row

To start, stand on right leg with the middle of a resistance band looped around the arch of left foot, holding on to its ends with hands, arms straight, body should be hinged at hips so torso and left leg are both parallel to the floor. Bend at elbows to pull hands to the sides of rib cage. Pause, then slowly lower back to start. That's one rep.