The 13 Best Resistance Band Exercises

Get a 20-minute toning workout you can do anywhere

Resistance bands are probably the most affordable, portable and adjustable piece of exercise equipment available. Throw one in your suitcase when you travel, take it with you on a walk or run to mix in some strength interval training, this dynamo exercise tool is so easy to use.

These 13 exercises work multiple muscle groups, and use the resistance of the band to target tone all your trouble spots. You don’t need a lot of space (or time) to complete this workout.

For a complete workout, pick a combo of five (or more if you have time) different moves, performing each set of recommended reps and then move onto the next exercise to create your circuit. Do each full circuit three to get in your total body strength training for the day. Do this circuit workout three to four days a week and  for the rest of your workout days, do 30 to 45 minutes of cardio activity (in or out of the gym). The whole workout will only take you about 20 minutes.You should be able to feel and see results in as little as two weeks.

1. Squat to Rotating Overhead Press
How to do it: Stand on band, feet hip width apart, with it looped under feet, holding ends in either hands. Squat down and as you stand press right arm overhead while turning torso to the left. Repeat and reverse to the left. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps.
What it tones: Legs, Core, and Shoulders

2. Staggered Stance Chest Fly
How to do it: Stand with the band around your left foot, and then step your right foot out in front of you (as if you were standing both feet on a balance beam). Hold the ends of the band in each hand, with arms open out to sides at shoulder level. Keeping elbows soft but not bent, ‘hug’ arms together in front of chest. That's one rep. Keep abs tight, and try to keep body as still as possible as arms come in and out. Do 10 reps with the right foot front, 10 with the left.
What it tones: Core, Abs, Shoulders, and Biceps

3. Rear Row Pull and Lunge
How to do it: Loop band under right foot, choke up low on the band for more resistance (higher for less) and hold both ends in right hand. Bring body forward, with chest slightly leaning over thigh. Step left leg back into a lunge. As you come up out of lunge, row with the right arm, pulling the elbow back and the band up towards your ribs. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps on right, 10 on left.
What it tones: Legs, Back, and Core

4. Overhead Triceps Balance Press
How to do it: Stand left foot in the middle of the band, with right foot tapped out in front of you. Grab both ends of the band with both hands, and bring it up behind your back. Lift right foot off the floor, balance on left leg. Bend and lift elbows towards the ceiling, with both hands together behind head. Extend arms up to ceiling and press band up. That’s one rep. Do 10 on the left, 10 on the right leg.
What it tones: Triceps, Core, and Shoulders

5. Cardio Agility Drill
How to do it: Lay band on the ground, vertically, in front of you. In a forward motion (until you reach the end of the band) and then backwards (to move back to start) motion, zig zag over the band (without touching it) with the following footwork:
a. Quick Steps: Step feet 1-2, over the band.
b. Quick Leap Step: Leap and step 1-2, over the band.
c. Quick Jumps: jump with both feet together, over the band.
d. Hops: 1-leg hop, down and back on R leg, down and back on L.
What it works: Improves coordination, agility, and power, while burning calories and improving cardio fitness.

6. Lateral Walk
How to do it: Stand both feet on band, hip width apart, holding either end in each hand. Pull ends of bands to hips or shoulders (gripping lower and pulling up higher for more resistance, vice versa for less). With knees slightly bent, take a wide step out with right foot, and then left, never letting feet get closer than hip distance apart. Take 10 steps to the right and then 10 to the left.
What it tones: Hips, Legs, and Glutes

7. Biceps Airplane
How to do it: Stand with one foot in the center of the band, and choke up high on the ends of the resistance bands with both hands. Pitch body forward, lifting back leg up to hip height, bringing chest parallel to the floor. Curl arms and bring band up towards shoulders. Lower arms halfway (keeping tension on the band), then repeat 10 times. Do 10 reps on one leg, then switch sides and do 10 reps on the other. Make it easier: Keep back leg down, and tap back toe on the floor for balance
What it tones: Core, Back, Biceps, and Legs

8. Resisted Push Up
How to do it: Get into a push up position (either on knees or toes) and wrap band flat across your upper back with either end of the band wrapped under your arms, gripped between your thumb and hand (maintaining a flat palm on the floor). Drop to the bottom of your push up on count one, then slowly rise up away from the floor counts two to four. Do as many in a row as you can without losing your form.
What it tones: Chest, Core, and Triceps

9. Plank Ski Jumps
How to do it: Lay out band in a straight line, vertically, on the floor in front of you. Position yourself in a plank position above the band (with one hand on either side of the band, and both feet on the right side of it). ‘Jump’ feet over to left side of the band, without touching it. Go back and forth as quickly as you can for 20 reps.
What it tones: Core, Arms, Shoulders, Legs, Glutes, and Cardio

10. Rear Delt Pull Back
How to do it: Stand with band outstretched in both hands in front of chest. Pull band open as wide as you can, drawing it in to touch your chest and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Do 15 reps.
What it tones: Rear Delts, Shoulders

11. Booty Buster
How to do it: On all fours, place ends of bands anchored under hands, and wrap end of band around foot. Extend leg back and press out through heel. Do 15 reps on right leg, then 15 left.
What it tones: Glutes, Core

12. Side Lying Plank Kicks
How to do it: In a side left elbow plank, loop band around right foot, while holding both ends with your left hand. Bend both knees slightly in front of body, and then lift hips off the floor as you ‘kick’ out with the right leg. Lower. Repeat 15 times on one side, then reverse.
What it works: Hips, Glutes, Obliques

13. Resisted Hip Lifts
How to do it:  Lying on back, wrap band around feet, holding both ends of band in hands, and extend legs towards ceiling. Tuck tailbone under and lift hips off the floor while drawing abs in tight. Slowly roll through the lower back to gently return hips to the ground. Do 15 reps.
What it tones: Abs


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