Contents

Make Your Own Resistance Band Workout with These Exercises & Tips

Resistance bands are likely the best inexpensive training tool you can get. Whether you are a beginner or already at an advanced fitness level, resistance band exercises can give your muscles a good challenge.

You can use resistance bands for exercises that target any body part without putting extra pressure on the joints. And while the usual strength exercises focus on bigger muscle groups, resistance band exercises can be great for targeting those smaller muscles that function as stabilizers, too.

Types of resistance bands

Resistance bands can differ in shape, size, color, and the level of resistance they provide. Here is an overview of the main categories…

Shape & size of resistance bands:

  • Looped bands: can be shorter and thinner, also called mini bands or thera bands, or longer and thicker.
  • Non-looped bands: available with or without handles.

Color & resistance level:

  • Resistance bands come in many different colors – not every band in the same color will offer the same resistance – it depends on the manufacturer.

Tip:

When buying your band, check to see which other resistance bands/levels are available. For lower body training choose a stronger one, for upper body a lighter one. If you are not sure, green often provides intermediate resistance.

  • Resistance levels vary from light to heavy: thinner, smaller bands normally come in ranges from 1-10 kg (2-40 lbs) and longer, thicker ones from 5-90 kg (10-200 lbs) of resistance.

How to use resistance band exercises to reach your goal

You can use these exercises in two ways:

  • One: as a full strength workout, total body, or for a specific body part, by choosing 3-5 exercises, doing them for 8-25 reps and repeating 2-5 rounds. The repetitions and rounds will depend on your fitness level and the resistance level of the band.
  • Two: as a warm up, to activate a specific muscle group. Example: If you find it hard to really feel your glutes working…do 2 rounds of Fire Hydrants & Side Squats before your next leg workout. Do as many reps as you need to feel your glutes working

Top 11 resistance band exercises

1. Wall Lateral Pulldown

Targeted muscles: Lats, upper back

How to do the exercise:

Stand with your back against the wall. Place the resistance band around your thumbs or wrists and stretch your arms straight up over your head. Pull your arms down and your elbows to the side, bent at a 90 degree angle, while stretching the band and bringing your shoulder blades together. Return to the starting position.

2. Triceps Extension

Targeted muscles: Triceps

How to do the exercise:

Hold the resistance band in your hands with your elbows bent. Put your right elbow over your head with your right forearm parallel to the floor. The left hand should be in front of the left shoulder. Extend your right arm while keeping it close to the head. As the right arm straightens, you should feel the band stretch and the muscles of your right upper arm working. Return to the starting position.

Want to feel your triceps really burn? Check out 7 bodyweight exercises for strong triceps.

3. Bicep Curl

Targeted muscles: Biceps

How to do the exercise:

Sit on a chair, step, or on your heels. Tuck the resistance band underneath your right knee and hold it with your right hand. Pull your hand up towards your right shoulder against the resistance of the band. Your upper arm should stay stationary as you pull on the band, keeping your elbow underneath your shoulder and close to your body. Release the hold and return to the starting position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch to the other side.

4. Shoulder External Rotation

Targeted muscles: Shoulders, upper back

How to do the exercise:

Place a mini band around your wrists. Bend your elbows and keep them close to your body. Move your forearms out to the side to stretch the band. Rotate your palms at the same time, so that they face up once the band is stretched. Return to the starting position.

5. Fire Hydrant

Targeted muscles: Glutes, hamstrings

How to do the exercise:

Start on all fours. The resistance band should be above your knees. Keep your neck, back, and hips aligned. Move your left leg out to the side to stretch the band. The rest of your body should stay in place; don’t turn to the side. Return to the starting position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch to the other side.

6. Donkey Kick

Targeted muscles: Glutes, hamstrings

How to do the exercise:

Start on all fours. The resistance band should be above your knees. Keep your neck, back, and hips aligned. Kick your left heel up to stretch the band. Make sure you keep your hips level and don’t round your back. Return to the starting position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch to the other side.

7. Modified Side Plank Leg Lifts

Targeted muscles: Abs (obliques), glutes

How to do the exercise:

Support your body in a side-plank position. Your right leg is flexed and your left leg straight, so that your right elbow, right knee, and left foot are touching the ground. The resistance band should be placed above your knees. Lift your left leg up against the resistance of the band. Keep your body straight and engage your glutes. Return to the starting position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch to the other side.

8. High Plank Leg Lifts

Targeted muscles: Abs (obliques), glutes, hamstrings

How to do the exercise:

Support your body in the high plank position with your hands and feet touching the ground. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heel. The resistance band should be placed around your ankles. Engage your core and glutes and lift your left heel up against the resistance of the band. Keep your body aligned, don’t round your back. Return to the starting position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch to the other side.

9. Squat with Side Raise

Targeted muscles: Glutes, thighs

Did you know?

This exercise, as well as the Hip Abduction (nr. 11), targets the part of the glutes called the “gluteus medius”. The gluteus medius works especially hard when balancing in a single-leg stance. That’s why strengthening it helps stabilize and improve your running form, too!

How to do the exercise:

Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes parallel or slightly outward. The resistance band should be above your knees. Perform a squat and as you come up, lift your right leg up to the side by squeezing the outer part of your glutes. As you step back, lower yourself into a squat again. You can switch sides with each repetition.

10. Jump Squat

Targeted muscles: Glutes, thighs

How to do the exercise:

Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes parallel or slightly outward. The resistance band should be above your knees. Perform a squat and then rise forcefully into a jump. Land softly on the balls of your feet. You can stand back up in between or continue with another jump.

Check out more squat variations, most of them can be done with a resistance band, too!

11. Hip Abduction

Targeted muscles: Glutes

How to do the exercise:

Stand next to a wall and hold on to it with your hand for support. The resistance band should be placed around your ankles. You can lessen the resistance by moving the band above your knees. Lift your right leg to the side while squeezing your outer glute. Keep your body straight, don’t bend your torso. Return to the starting position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch to the other side.

Need more ideas?

Check out 9 resistance band exercises for the whole body that you can do anywhere for a killer strength workout!

***

18 Resistance Band Workouts – Effective Full Body Exercises For Women Charushila Biswas Hyderabd040-395603080 December 4, 2019

Resistance band exercises are versatile and cost-effective calorie burners (1). The stretchable resistance bands come in different shapes and sizes, with or without handles. They add resistance to a movement and activate the muscle fibers. This, in turn, tones up the body and builds strength (2), (3), (4).

Resistance bands were initially used for rehabilitation purposes. Today, fitness experts swear by the results they have seen on clients after using resistance bands instead of weights. This post lists 18 resistance band workouts for full-body toning and strengthening. Keep scrolling!

Table Of Contents

Types Of Resistance Bands And Their Use

  • Resistance band with no handle – For therapy or rehabilitation
  • Continuous flat loop band – For the lower body
  • Resistance band with plastic handles – For the lower and upper body
  • Short band in the shape of an “8” with handles – For the upper body
  • Resistance bands with velcro ankle cuffs – For the lower body
  • Loop band with two soft handles – For the lower body

Note: Warm-up for at least 10 minutes and talk to your doctor before doing any of these exercises.

Resistance Band Exercises For The Abs/Core

1. Resistance Band Reverse Crunch

Target – Lower abs, middle abs, upper abs, glutes (hips), hamstrings, and quads.

Resistance Band To Use – Ankle resistance band

How To Do
  1. Tie a nylon band at the midpoint of the resistance band. You can either tie it to the leg of a cot or secure it to the lower part of a door.
  2. Wrap the resistance band ankle attachment around your ankles and lie down on the floor, facing the door. Keep your legs hip-width apart, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms by your side, and palms flat on the floor. Make sure there is enough distance between the door/cot and your legs. This is the starting position.
  3. Exhale and lift your feet off the ground. Keeping your knees bent, bring them close to your chest. Keep your back flat on the floor.
  4. Inhale and push your legs away from your chest. Straighten your legs but do not let your feet touch the floor. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

2. Resistance Band Bicycle Crunches

Target – Obliques, abs, glutes, lats, hamstrings, and quads.

Resistance Band Use – Flat loop band

  1. Put the mini continuous loop band on top of your shoes, right on the shoelaces.
  2. Lie down on your back. Keep your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
  3. Hold your head with your fingertips, with the thumbs at the back of your ears and the other fingers supporting the side middle part of your head. Keep your arms open. Lift your head. Do not tuck your neck in. This is the starting position.
  4. Lift both legs off the floor – like pedaling a bicycle. Bring your right leg toward your chest, and keep your left leg extended. As you do this, twist your body toward your right and bring your left elbow close to your right knee.
  5. Extend your right leg. Simultaneously, flex your left knee and bring it close to your chest. Twist your body to your left, and bring your right elbow close to your left knee. Do 2 sets of 15 reps.

3. Resistance Band Russian Twist

Target – Obliques, upper abs, middle abs, lats, and glutes.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with handles

Steps To Do Resistance Band Russian Twist
  1. Sit on the floor and wrap a resistance band around the arches of your feet.
  2. Lift your legs, keeping the knees slightly bent. Pull your hands toward your torso. This is the starting position.
  3. Start by twisting your upper body toward your left and then twist to your right.
  4. Do not keep your feet down on the floor until you finish one set. Do 3 sets of 25 reps.

4. Resistance Band Side Bend

Target – External oblique, internal oblique, serratus anterior, and glute medius.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with handles

  1. Step on the resistance band. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold a handle in each hand. Keep your shoulders rolled back and chest out. This is the starting position.
  2. Bend on your right, and as you do so, pull your left hand up to the side of your chest.
  3. Bend on your left, and as you do so, pull your right hand up to the side of your chest. Do 3 sets of 20 reps.

5. Resistance Band Plank Hold

Target – Abs, lower back, middle back, glutes, and shoulders.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with handles

  1. Wrap the resistance band around your waist. Kneel on the floor, tuck your thumbs inside the handles, and place your palms on the floor.
  2. Supporting your body on your palms and one knee, extend your right leg back.
  3. Extend your left leg back.
  4. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. Do 3 sets of 30-60 seconds hold.

Resistance Band Exercises For The Legs

6. Resistance Band Leg Lifts

Target – Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and lower abs.

Resistance Band To Use – Tube resistance band with handles

  1. Sit on a mat with your legs extended in front. Wrap a resistance band around your feet and hold a handle with each hand.
  2. Lean back and raise your feet off the floor, with the knees slightly bent.
  3. Pulse your legs up together. Lean back as your feet go down and come up as you raise your feet. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

7. Resistance Band Hamstring Curls

Target – Hamstrings, quads, and glutes.

Resistance Band To Use – Tube resistance band with an ankle attachment

  1. Tie the resistance band to the leg of a cot and strap the ankle attachment on the right ankle.
  2. Lie down on your belly, cross your arms, and place your chin on your hands. This is the starting position.
  3. Lift your right leg and stop when your shin is perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Slowly, bring your leg back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat it with the other leg. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

8. Resistance Band Lunges

Target – Glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with handles

  1. Place the band underneath the curve of the right foot. Take a step forward with your right foot. Keep both knees slightly bent, elbows flexed, and hands near your shoulders. This is your starting position.
  2. Lunge down. Make sure your right shin is perpendicular to the right thigh.
  3. Get back up to the starting position and lift your left leg behind you.
  4. Place your left foot back on the floor and lunge down.
  5. Repeat this with your left leg. Do 2 sets of 12 reps.

9. Resistance Band Donkey Kicks

Target – Glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower abs, and shoulders.

Resistance Band To Use – Loop resistance band

  1. Wrap the loop resistance band around your feet. Get on all fours, relax your shoulders, keep your spine and neck in the same line, and engage your core.
  2. Lift your right leg off the floor. Without extending your right leg, push your right foot up toward the ceiling.
  3. Bring it back to the same position.
  4. Complete one set of 12 reps and do the same with your left leg. Do 2 sets of 12 reps.

10. Resistance Band Abduction

Target – Inner thighs, outer thighs, and hamstrings.

Resistance Band To Use – Wide loop resistance band

  1. Place the loop band right above your knees and sit down on the floor with the knees bent, and heels on the floor. Place your hands beside you, and the palms flat on the floor.
  2. Open your legs by moving your knees apart. Feel the resistance.
  3. Hold it for a moment and then slowly bring your legs back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Resistance Band Exercises For The Hips

11. Resistance Band Squats

Target – Glutes, hamstrings, quads, and lower abs.

Resistance Band To Use – Flat loop resistance band

  1. Place the loop resistance band on your thighs. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Push out your hips and get into a “sitting” position. Make sure your knees don’t shoot beyond your toes.
  3. Hold the pose for a moment.
  4. Get back up in the standing position. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

12. Resistance Band Hip Flexion

Target – Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and lower abs.

Resistance Band To Use – Ankle resistance band

  1. Wear one ankle attachment on your right leg and tie the other end to the leg of a table or cot.
  2. Turn around so that the table or cot is behind you. Also, make sure that the distance between you and the cot/table is enough so that you feel the resistance.
  3. Put your left foot ahead, bend your knees a little, flex your right elbow, and bring the right fist close to your chest. Your left arm should be extended and behind you.
  4. Lift your right leg, flex your right knee, and kick up. Flex your left elbow and bring your left arm toward your chest. Extend your right arm behind you. This will help you complete the movement with stability and precision.
  5. Lower your leg and bring it back to the starting position.
  6. Do the same with the left leg as well. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

13. Resistance Band Single Leg Deadlift

Target – Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and lower abs.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with handles

  1. Place the band underneath the arch of your right foot sneaker. Hold the handles of the resistance band with both hands. Keep your feet hip-width apart, shoulders rolled back, and chest out.
  2. Lift your left foot off the floor, let your hips act as the hinge. Bend your right knee slightly, keep your back straight, and bend your upper body to make it parallel to the ground. Stop when your hands should go right below your right knee.
  3. Hold this pose for a moment and get back to the starting position.
  4. Do it on the other side. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Resistance Band Exercises For The Chest

14. Resistance Band Staggered Chest Press

Target – Pectoralis major, deltoids, lats, and biceps.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with plastic handles

  1. Anchor the resistance band to a door anchor. Hold the handles and walk away from the door. When you feel the resistance, put your right foot in front of the left.
  2. Flex your elbows and bring your forearms close to your chest. Your elbows should point back, and palms must be facing the floor. Keep your knees soft. This is the starting position.
  3. Push your arms in front of you so that they are fully extended.
  4. Come back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this by placing your left foot in front of the right. Do 2 sets of 12 reps.

15. Resistance Band Chest Fly

Target – Pectoralis major, deltoids, lats, and triceps.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with plastic handles

  1. Anchor the resistance band to a door. Hold a handle in each hand and walk away from the door. Extend your arms and join the palms together. This is the starting position.
  2. Open your arms laterally. Use controlled motion to do so. Squeeze your shoulder blades.
  3. Bring them back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Resistance Band Exercises For The Arms

16. Resistance Band Tricep Extension

Target – Triceps, lats, deltoids, and rhomboids.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with plastic handles

  1. Hold the handles and step on the band with your right foot. Place your left foot a step ahead.
  2. Extend your left arm up, with your elbow directly above your shoulder, and the resistance band at the back of your shoulder. This is your starting position.
  3. Flex your left elbow and lower your left forearm behind your head.
  4. Pause for a moment and bring your forearm back to the starting position.
  5. Do this with the other hand as well. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Resistance Band Exercises For The Back

17. Resistance Band Lateral Raise

Target – Deltoids, lats, and chest.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with plastic handles

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Step on the resistance band and exchange the handles so that the band crosses right in front of your shins. Pull the resistance band away from your body, bend your knees a little, roll your shoulders back, and keep your chest up. This is the starting position.
  3. Pull your hands up and stop when your arms are parallel to the ground.
  4. Lower your arms slowly back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

18. Resistance Band Seated Row

Target – Lats, chest, rhomboids, and triceps.

Resistance Band To Use – Resistance band with no handle

  1. Sit down on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Wrap a therapy resistance band underneath the curves of your feet. Keep your back straight, chest out, and shoulders rolled back. This is the starting position.
  3. Flex your elbows and draw them back. Squeeze your shoulder blades. Do not lean back.
  4. Slowly, extend your hands and bring them back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Conclusion

Resistance bands are cost-effective and good for strengthening and toning the entire body. You must also eat healthy food, stop nighttime binging, get 7-8 hours of sleep, and reduce emotional fatigue by meditating or spending time with yourself. Do these, and you will regain your physical and emotional strength. Good luck!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Do resistance bands actually work?

Yes, resistance band exercises are very effective when it comes to toning and strengthening the body.

Can you lose weight with resistance bands?

Yes. Resistance bands can aid fat loss. You will build lean muscle mass and body strength and improve balance and stability with resistance band exercises.

Do resistance bands build muscle?

Resistance band exercises help build lean muscle mass. These exercises won’t help you build muscle for, say, a bodybuilding competition.

Is it OK to use resistance bands every day?

Yes. Target different body parts on different days to prevent muscle fatigue and soreness.

Are resistance bands better than free weights?

Resistance bands are mainly used for rehabilitating an injury. The chances of getting injured with resistance bands are less compared to free weights. These exercises are easy to learn, the bands are lightweight and portable, and you can do any of these exercises anywhere, at any time!

4 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Biomechanics of Elastic Resistance in Therapeutic Exercise Programs, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.
    https://www.jospt.org/doi/pdf/10.2519/jospt.2001.31.1.16
  • Adapted Resistance Training Improves Strength in Eight Weeks in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis, Journal of Visualized Experiments, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4781707/
  • Effects of elastic band exercise on lean mass and physical capacity in older women with sarcopenic obesity: A randomized controlled trial, Scientific Reports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5797161/
  • Effects of elastic band exercises on physical ability and muscular topography of elderlyfemales, Journal of Physical Therapy Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5851356/

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  • Strength Training And Endurance – A Beginner’s Guide
  • Wall Sit Exercise – How To Do And What Are Its Benefits?
  • Top 15 Triceps Exercises For Women

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.

How to Use Resistance Bands

Different Types of Resistance Bands

Take a peek around your gym and you may or may not see some resistance bands lying around. (None to be found? NBD-you can grab affordable ones on Amazon, and since they’re compact and lightweight, they’re easy to tote with you in your gym bag.) Here are the five main types of resistance bands, so you can invest in and use the best type for your goal (and favorite fitness moves).

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Tube Bands with Handles

Also called “handled bands,” tube bands basically look like jump ropes made out of cylindrical rubber. On each end, you’ll find heavy-duty pulley handles made of nylon or plastic for a secure grip. Most commonly, these bands are used for moves like shoulder presses and biceps curls. But “you can get a really good upper-body, lower-body, or full-body workout using just these bands,” says Pignataro. (Need proof? Check out Lacey Stone’s 20 Minute Upper-Body Resistance Band Workout)

Buy It: 12-Piece Fit Simplify Resistance Band Set ($20, amazon.com)

Large Loop Bands

Exactly like they sound, these bands form a large, closed loop like a rubber band, usually about 40 inches long. Typically, they’re flat and thin, which is why they are sometimes called “flat and thin bands” or sometimes “superbands.” These bands are best known for assisting with pull-ups (learn how to do a banded pull-up here), but they can be used for a variety of workout moves.

“These are my favorite because you can loop these around a pole, doorknob, foot of a couch, towel hook, etc., to do rows, chest presses, upright rows, chest flys, lunges, or triceps kickbacks,” says Kyra Williams, certified trainer and CrossFit Level 1 instructor. “You can also step on them to give yourself resistance doing good mornings, lateral band walks, squats, overhead presses, biceps curls, or lateral raises.”

Buy It: Set of 6 Serious Steel Resistance & Stretch Bands ($110, amazon.com)

Mini Bands

Think large loop bands, but make them bite size. Just like with giant loop bands, these come in a variety of thicknesses and can be used in some seriously creative ways for an insane workout. And you’ve probably seen them on your Instagram feed as a glute workout tool, because you can get a serious peach pump when you put them around your ankles, says Jeffers. (Just check out this mini band butt workout from the LIT Method to see why.)

But they don’t *just* go around your ankles. Mini bands can also go around your knees, thighs, wrists, and upper arms. (For a quick ab burner try these three moves that use a mini band, or try these mini resistance band exercises to build hip strength).

Buy It: Perform Better 4-Pack of Mini Exercise Bands ($18, amazon.com)

Figure-Eight Bands

Figure-eight bands are typically made of the same cylindrical rubber as tube bands, but form (surprise!) the shape of an 8. Usually these bands have a built-in handle on each loop, making them great for upper-body workouts.

Buy It: Figure 8 Toner Resistance Exercise Tube Band Set of 3 ($14, amazon.com)

Therapy Bands

Therapy bands are the same material as large loop bands, but usually thinner and don’t form a loop. “I like to use these resistance bands for shoulder pre-hab and rehab of the shoulder, to increase the stabilization of the rotator cuff-these muscles that are so often torn in people,” says Folden.

While they’re typically used in physical therapy for mobility, they can also be used for fitness reasons. (See these barre exercise that use a therapy band).

Buy It: TheraBands Resistance Bands Set of 3 ($13, amazon.com)

Convinced resistance bands are the shizz? Try any of these resistance band workouts to get started.

Try some of the resistance band moves below using a therapy band.

Opposition Jacks

A. Stand with feet together holding onto both ends of a folded resistance band. Extend arms out to sides, pulling ends of band as far apart as possible, drawing band in towards chest, and squeezing shoulder blades together.​

B. Quickly jump feet apart and bring arms together in front of chest, shoulder-width apart (arms stay at shoulder height).

Resisted Boxer

A. Anchor band securely (to a doorknob, wall, or pole) and stand facing away from it, holding the handles or ends of band with elbows bent by sides. Step right foot forward and extend left arm out in front of chest (as if punching forward), palms down.​

B. Quickly switch legs and punch right arm forward. Continue alternating as quickly as possible. Add more resistance by standing further away from the anchor point, or lessen the intensity by standing closer to it.

Squat Hops and Press Backs

A. Stand with feet hip width, facing anchor, holding the handles with arms extended down by sides. Lower into a deep squat, pressing arms back by hips, palms facing backwards.​

B. Quickly jump up, reaching arms in front of chest. Land in squat position, pressing arms back.

(Add these other cardio resistance band exercises for a full workout.)

Strength

Resistance Band Deadlift

A. With band tied in a loop, stand on band with feet hip width, holding onto other side of loop with both hands. Bend knees slightly, hinge forward from hips until chest is almost parallel to the floor, keeping back naturally straight and abs in tight. You should feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.​

B. Maintaining straight spine, engage your glutes to bring body back to start position.

(Like that burn in your glutes? Next up, try these other resistance band booty-builders.)

Squat with Single-Arm Arnold Press

A. Stand on band with feet hip-width apart, holding end in left hand with elbow bent and palm facing front of left shoulder. Keeping core engaged, hinge hips and bend knees, lowering into a squat position.​

B. Extend legs while simultaneously performing a single-arm Arnold press, rotating palm to face forward as left arm extends overhead. Reverse the movement and repeat. Do 10 to 12 reps on left side before switching sides and repeating.

(This move hits almost your whole body; try these other total-body resistance band moves to tone all over.)

Resistance Row

A. Stand in the center of the resistance band, and cross the ends to create an X. Hinge upper body forward from the hips and grab either end of the band or handle.​

B. Hands start low and together, then pull elbows out and back, squeezing shoulder blades together. Bring arms slowly back to starting position. (Standing will work more of the shoulder (and traps), while bending forward will allow the work to focus more on your lats—the largest back muscle.)

(You should feel this one in your back! Do it as part of our 30-day back challenge and your rear view will be sexier than ever.)

  • By Gabrielle Kassel

RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong?

Photo: Pond5

3. Swiffer or Broom
Your DIY: Workout bar
Give your cleaning tools a whole new (way cooler) life by using that broomstick or Swiffer to improve mobility. Grab either one during your warm-up to open up your chest and shoulders (super important if you’re hunched over your keyboard all day). Try this: Stand up and hold the broom, hands hip-width apart. Then, extend your arms straight out in front of you. Next, draw your arms forward by spreading your shoulder blades and then retract them back in. You can also try adding shrugs, upright rows, and “pull-ups,” to loosen up tight shoulders. Once you’re ready to get going, Tamir adds that you can also lay that Swiffer handle on the ground to jump over when doing plyometric movements.

RELATED: Is Your Mobility Holding You Back? 5 Tests to Find Out

Photo: Pond5

4. Belt
Your DIY: Exercise strap
Take your lower body and core exercises to a whole new level by using a belt (yes, the one from your pants), to engage your upper extremities. Gripping the belt at shoulder-height with hands about shoulder-distance apart, hold your arms straight out in front of you, elbows extended, while doing exercises like sit-ups, lunges, and squats. Keep that belt around for your post-workout stretch, too. “We all have different proportions and levels of flexibility,” says VanCleave. “Simply put, straps can provide a little more length to your arms or legs.” Try wrapping a belt made of a pliable material, like rope, around the ball of your foot while stretching your hamstring.

Photo: Pond5

5. Rolling Pin
Your DIY: Ab wheel, foam roller
When it comes to working out at home, less is more (as in, the less gear you have to shove into the coat closet when guests come over, the better). Most of us probably don’t have an ab wheel lying around, even though rollouts are a great way to challenge the entire core. Instead of investing in the $40 gadget, Tamir recommends busting out that good old-fashioned rolling pin. While it’s out, you can also use it as a foam roller — in case you didn’t plan ahead and freeze that water bottle.

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

Photo: Pond5

6. Bag of Textbooks
Your DIY: Weights
Anybody who ever rocked a backpack in middle school knows textbooks can be heavy. Tamir suggests piling one (or more!) into reusable grocery bags (or an old backpack) to create easy-to-lift weights. Hold a bag in each hand for a farmer carry (do a few laps of your yard or block carrying the bags), or use just one for a suitcase carry. Both will improve grip strength, and work your entire body, says Tamir.

Photo: Pond5

7. Bungee Cord
Your DIY: Resistance bands
Unless you’re a serious baller, we doubt you’ve got a rack of free weights (or even resistance bands) lying around. Luckily, bungee cords can provide a great workout, too. Double- or triple-up on cords to increase resistance and make sure you only use the cords for exercises where you’ve got the band pinned down (e.g. one end in each hand, holding the cord down with your foot). Unlike a flat band, the cord can roll around, and trust us, you don’t want it to come whizzing at your face.

Now that you’ve got a bunch of cheap DIY tools to add to your workout arsenal, here are 9 DIY projects for when you’re ready to really take your home gym to the next level.

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The Bottom Line: Heavy resistance bands with handles are a perfect half of a travel gym as they allow us to do resistance band squats and resistance band deadlifts while traveling, without the hassle and cost of a gym

My lower body travel gym that’s small enough for carryon travel: A compact suspension trainer + heavy resistance bands with handles

The travel gym that I always keep with me, consisting of a compact, travel ready suspension trainer and heavy resistance bands with handles (such as the Rogue Fitness Shorty Monster Bands I reviewed) allows me to get in a great, full body resistance & strength workout on the road, to complement a healthy running, calisthenics, HIIT, and mobility regimen.

This set of high resistance mini bands and a minimalist suspension trainer is my travel gym. In any city around the world, in a park, or in a hotel room, I get in the workout I want.

These two pieces of workout equipment enable my Travel Workout Plan that keeps me strong, fast, mobile, and ready for anything that comes.

The suspension trainer lets me get in the essential upper body movements (e.g., pull up, push up, dips, overhead presses, rows, inverted rows, curls, triceps extension) while a pair of short, heavy resistance bands for legs with makeshift handles attached blet me do a resistance band squat or deadlift with up to 280lbs resistance, while still fitting in my backpack.

The Travel Gym: What’s in it and why you need it’

My compact suspension trainers, the Monkii Bars 2, which I reviewed a couple weeks ago, and the DIY suspension trainer I call “the Minimus” both allow me to do all of the essential upper body movements with the resistance I need to stay strong, maintain muscle, and reap all of the benefits above

DIY heavy resistance bands with handles are cheap, easy to make, and allow me to do the essential lower body strength movements, resistance band squats and deadlifts, with enough resistance that I get the same benefit as if I had done squats or deadlifts with free weights in the gym. Because I use short, heavy resistance exercise bands, such as the 12″ Rogue Fitness Shorty Monster Bands (**KF**LINK TO ROGUE BANDS REVIEW **KF**) I can use two bands at once (one on each leg) and achieve resistance equal to 280lbs of free weights in the gym, all with a simple piece of gear that fits reasonably into a carryon backpack

Resistance and strength training is important, even on the road, to burn fat, balance hormones, and build or maintain muscle

Strength and resistance training is an important part of any balanced workout program. Benefits ranging from higher (and healthier) metabolic activity and fat burning, toning and maintaining muscle, increased bone density and health, and more positive hormone balances in the body are all great benefits of a resistance training. Balance also means sufficient lower body resistance exercise just as much as upper body, and not just calisthenics

Did you know after 2 weeks without training, muscle atrophy and strength loss begins? For travelers that spend months on the road (like me) it’s not worth giving in to the demands of travel and giving up hard earned health and fitness gains. Being healthy and fit helps me take on risky adventures (like trekking to Everest Base Camp) or riding a motorcycle through Vietnam and Laos more safely and keeps my body running smoothly.

How to make the resistance bands with handles to do resistance band exercises for Legs

1. Gather the equipment

Two – short, high resistance bands for legs at your preferred resistance level.
I suggest the Rogue Shorty Monster Bands (read the review here) at your preferred resistance level.

Two carabiners: large enough to slide your hand into, such as these carabiners on Amazon. The brand doesn’t matter, as long as they’re durable, rated for climbing, and are large enough for your hands to fit in. These will be our handles.

6 to 8 pieces of cardboard approximately 4″ x 6″: These will form our tiny “platforms” to step on and support our feet when anchoring the resistance bands with our feet.

2 pieces of ~4″ wide strips of cardboard: This will be used to wrap carabiner handles and make gripping easier and more comfortable

Duct tape: This will be used for wrapping or cardboard pieces (platform, handle covers) to add durability. I recommend Gorilla Tape due to its durability. Plus, you’ll only use a few inches which means you’ll have an entire roll of Gorilla Tape afterwards to play with.

2. Attach the carabiners to create resistance bands with handles

  • Take the carabiner and clip a resistance band into it
  • Wrap the carabiner with the ~4″ piece of cardboard to your level of comfort for grip
  • Wrap the cardboard with the duct tape (hopefully gorilla tape) to keep it in place

3. Assemble the cardboard platforms (to be used for supporting the feet)

  • Stack the individual pieces of cardboard 3 or 4 pieces of cardboard high
  • Wrap the stacks of cardboard heavily with duct tape to secure them in place and preserve the cardboard

Note: These cardboard platforms are used as support under your feet when squatting or deadlifting with heavy resistance

How to do the essential resistance band exercises for legs: Resistance Band Squats and the Resistance Band Deadlift

The best resistance band exercises for legs are simple, straight forward, and recreate the movements of the best free weight exercises for legs: the squat and the deadlift.

Resistance Band deadlifts

The first of the essential resistance band exercises for legs is the resistance band deadlift. This movement has a host of benefits, and is essential for anyone that is interested in gaining or maintaining full body strength and building a durable, functional body. Resistance bands with heavy ratings, such as the Rogue Monster Bands, make the deadlift movement possible even without a gym and while traveling.

  • Take one of your resistance bands for legs by the handle and place one of the platforms on the inner portion of the resistance band
  • Step on the platform so that your foot anchors the resistance band and grab the carabiner handles.
  • Setup the body for a deadlift as you would for a deadlift with free weights and commence the exercise

For detailed instructions on how to do the squat and deadlift, checkout the article “How to do the essential resistance band exercises for legs: Resistance Band Squats and the Resistance Band Deadlift”

Essential Resistance Exercises for Legs: Resistance Band Squats

The second of the essential resistance band exercises for legs are resistance band squats. This is a very natural movement that encourages strength and mobility and also includes a host of benefits for more than just the lower body. Once again, the heavy resistance bands with handles mean we can get the benefits of resistance training in the squat movement, while traveling and without a gym

  • Take one of the straps and handles from a minimalist suspension trainer, such as the Monkii Bars 2 or our DIY “Minimus” Suspension Trainer and wrap strap of the suspension trainer around the carabiner handle using a “pipe hitch” knot
  • Take one of your resistance bands and place one of the platforms on the inner portion of the band
  • Step on the platform so that your foot anchors the resistance band and grab the handle of the suspension trainer.

The short length (12″) of the Shorty Monster Bands allows you to anchor the bands with a single foot. No need to hook it on anything or se two feet to anchor a single band.

  • Adjust the length of the suspension trainer strap such that the resistance band will be under tension when you hold the handle up at the bottom of a squat.
  • Repeat the setup process with the other suspension trainer handle and resistance band.
  • Setup the body for a proper squat, starting at the bottom of the squat with hands holding the suspension trainer handles in the racked position with the straps running over the backs of the arm.
  • Commence the squat as you would with a back squat done with free weights and a barbell

Resistance Bands Squats are the best resistance band exercises for legs

For detailed instructions on how to do the resistance band squat and the resistance band deadlift, checkout the article “How to do the essential resistance band exercises for legs: Resistance Band Squats and the Resistance Band Deadlift”

Gear featured in this post

Rogue Fitness Shorty Monster Bands

The Monkii Bars 2

The DIY TRX Suspension Trainer

Carabiners

Disclaimer: Throughout this article I recommend gear and potentially link to affiliate partners for the gear I recommend. Your purchases through these links helps keep me on the road, writing stories of travel, and experimenting with fitness…for that, I thank you! Any gear I recommended in this article I have purchased or would purchase with my own money due durability and reliability (from my experience), value, and functionality. If your experience with any products I recommend differs, please let me know! Thank you!

Other Great Travel Fitness Links

  1. A Review of the Monkii Bars 2 Compact Suspension Trainer
  2. How to setup a suspension trainer indoors or outdoors with the DIY minimalist suspension trainer anchor
  3. 10 Reasons to have a suspension trainer (**Coming Soon**)
  4. How to do the essential exercises with a suspension trainer, in an outdoors or hotel room workout (pull ups, dips, rows, overhead presses, curls, and extensions)
  5. The DIY TRX: How to make your own compact suspension trainer
  6. Heavy Resistance Bands for Legs with Handles: How to Make the Travel Gym for Lower Body Strength and Muscle
  7. How to do the essential resistance band exercises for legs: Resistance Band Squats and the Resistance Band Deadlift
  8. The Travel Gym: How a minimalist suspension trainer and resistance bands for legs can replace your gym (**Coming Soon**)

New resistance bands. Gold’s Gym brand …

I got two different kits to test them out. They were less than $15 each so I figure I got each band for $5 more or less. Cheap enough to see if I like them for some heavier weight replacement at least.
One is a short band kit. Two handles, three bands (one light, medium, heavy), DVD and workout sheet, and a mesh carrying bag. The long band kit is similar except the 48″ long bands each come with a cover on them middle of them. This allows you to step on them with less damage.
Needless to say I’m surprised that when you have all three bands connected how much pull they really have. These things have come a long way from the first generations I used over a decade ago. I was buying them as a reward and I think I may have just bought some of the coolest test gear ever in some ways.
I’m slowly finding sites with free examples of how to use them for exercises. While Spark does have a lot of them , there are tons of variations on the theme. Especially if you can hook them to a door, overhead hook, etc. The range of workouts is rather amazing.
I saw this product and I think it may be my next set depending on how I feel with these:

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The Gold’s branded ones are all plastic, but its hard to say if that is bad. I have some gear made with these types of clips that will support over 800 pounds of force … That being said I’ve also had a lot of high duty fiber plastics like this that couldn’t handle 100 pounds … *shrug*
I did most of the previous resistance band workouts for the swimsuit challenge with weights and a rope. Now I can actually do the things as shown. 🙂
Found a pic on eBay of the long bands. You can see the covering on them.

Athlos Fitness Hip Bands

  • CLOTH RESISTANCE BANDS – glutes resistance band loops made from cloth, these non-slip resistance bands will stay in place and won’t slide or roll making these the perfect workout resistance bands. Fabric booty bands enhance your workout and help tone your legs thighs and butt.
  • QUALITY RESISTANCE BAND SET – loop resistance bands that are all the same size. Unlike other hip band that are different sizes our resistance loop bands are made with different strength levels allowing you to use all 3 loop bands and achieve full range of motion.
  • BOOTY RESISTANCE BANDS – leg resistance bands give you a great workout with 80 day obsession or other beachbody exercises. These glute bands for women will provide light, medium, and heavy resistance bands allowing you to achieve your ideal legs and butt.
  • GLUTE ACTIVATION – hip resistance bands help you warm up properly allowing your legs and glutes to activate prior to any heavy lifting. Quality resistance bands fabric make our fitness bands the best on the market. Thick resistance bands will maintain their tension and not wear out, you will be able to use them for years to come.
  • EASY TRAVEL – our hip resistance band will travel easy so you always have exercise bands for legs and butt no matter where you are. Plus our bootie bands are backed by our no hassle return policy.

Exercise with resistance bands

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