30 Resistance Band Exercises To Tone Your Entire Body

You can literally do 'em anywhere.

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Kathryn Wirsing

If you love bodyweight exercises and are looking for a way to level up your current workout situation, you might be interested in this game-changing, muscle-building tool: resistance bands. Like bodyweight training, resistance bands are great for on-the-go exercise or sweating in small spaces. But they’re even more versatile. Wondering how they work, exactly? Keep reading.

For starters, resistance bands use oppositional force to train your muscles, meaning the band will feel heavier the more you pull on it, says personal trainer Kristina Earnest, AFAA, NASM. “This challenges you to maintain the speed and power you use to execute a movement through its full range of motion,” Earnest says. Got that down?

Meet the expert: Kristina Earnest, AFAA, NASM, is a New York-based certified personal trainer, with a decade of training and teaching under her belt. She offers hundreds of on demand classes at Kristina Earnest on Demand.

You can easily adjust your workout intensity by either choosing a band with more resistance, or rather, moving the band to different tension points on the body (such as lower or higher on your legs to increase difficulty), Earnest notes. And BTW, it’s best to have a minimum of three resistance bands on deck—light, medium, and heavy—since different muscle groups might require varying levels of resistance, Earnest says.

Finally, let’s address the last question probably on your mind…

Do resistance bands work for building muscle?

In short, yes, resistance bands are great for building muscle. “The key to helping your muscles grow is tension, sufficient recovery, muscle adaptation, and progressive load,” Earnest says, all of which are feasible through using resistance bands alone.

That said: If you’re an *avid* user of resistance bands (like, you’re banding up every single day), know that in the future you’ll need to up the ante: “Your body will eventually get used to these bands, even the heaviest ones, and you'll want to incorporate weights to further enhance your strength,” Earnest says. It’s all a part of continuing to progress your weight load.

For example, you can do moves like deadlifts, squats, and glute bridges with both a resistance band and a dumbbell to give your workout that extra oomf of tension — resulting in more room for muscle building.

The following are the 22 best resistance band exercises for you to try at home or in the gym, according to expert trainers.


Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Equipment: Resistance band(s)

Good for: Total body

Instructions: For an efficient, full-body workout, select four to five exercises from the below list. Do each exercise for 45 seconds each (with all-out effort), then rest for 15 seconds. After completing one set of the four exercises, you can take extended recovery as needed or continue onto the next set. Complete four sets total. (For extra difficulty, do two rounds of four sets.)

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1
Banded Front Squat

How to:

  1. Stand on the middle of the resistance band with feet hip-width apart, holding one end of the band in either hand.
  2. 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.
  3. Keeping arms still, engage core and bend at knees to sink hips back and down until thighs are parallel to floor.
  4. Press through feet to extend legs and return to standing. That's one rep.
2
Kickstand Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

How to:

  1. Start standing with feet staggered, right foot forward, left foot back resting on the ball of your foot. Put one part of the band around the right foot, and the other part in left hand.
  2. Hinge forward while pushing hips back, keeping back straight, then return to starting position, keeping tension on the band the entire time. That's one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

3
Lateral Walk

How to:

  1. Wrap a resistance band around thighs, and slowly sink seat into a half-squat position.
  2. Lift right foot and take one step to the right, followed by the left foot.
  3. Then, reverse the movement to return to starting position. That's one rep.
4
Banded Lateral Step-Out Squat

How to:

  1. Start standing with a resistance band wrapped just below knees, feet under hips, and hands clasped in front of chest.
  2. Take a big step to the right, then bend knees, sit back, and lower until thighs are parallel with the floor.
  3. Engage glutes and press back up through heels to starting position. Repeat on the other side. That's one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

5
Abduction

How to:

  1. Wrap a resistance band around thighs.
  2. Lower down into a half-squat position.
  3. Without moving feet, press right knee a few inches out to the right. Return to start.
  4. Repeat on left side. That's one rep.
6
Side Plank High Pull

How to:

  1. Start in a side plank with band under left hand on floor, other end in right hand.
  2. Stay in plank as you pull band up with right hand, leading with elbow.
  3. Return to start. That's one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

7
Banded Single-Leg Tempo Deadlift

How to:

  1. Start standing on left leg with foot over the middle of a long resistance band and one end of the band in either hand.
  2. 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.
  3. Drive through left heel to reverse the movement and return to starting position. That's one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

8
Lateral Raise

How to:

  1. 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.
  2. Raise arms outward to the sides until parallel to the floor. Return slowly to start. That’s one rep.
9
Jack With Overhead Press

How to:

  1. Start standing with feet together, hands at chest, and band around thumbs.
  2. Jump feet out as you press arms up overhead, then jump feet in as you pull arms down, keeping tension in the band the entire time. That's one rep.
10
Deadlift

How to:

  1. Start standing with feet hip-distance apart and a resistance band wrapped around arches.
  2. Grab the top of the band with both hands, arms straight, and press hips backward into a hinge position.
  3. Drive down through heels to stand up straight, squeezing glutes at the top. That's one rep.
11
Stay-Low Curtsy Lunge

How to:

  1. Start in a lunge with left foot forward, band around thighs.
  2. Stay low with chest lifted as you step right foot right to a curtsy lunge position.
  3. Return to start. That's one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

12
Lateral Squat To Cross-Body Row

How to:

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Wrap a resistance band around arch of left foot and hold the ends in right hand.
  2. Bend left knee only and sink seat back until thigh is parallel to the floor, extending right hand down toward left foot.
  3. Then, re-extend left leg, bending right arm, elbow wide, and pulling right hand up to chest-height. That’s one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

13
Banded Glute Bridge With Hip Abduction

How to: Wrap a resistance band around thighs and lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor and arms by sides pressing into mat. This is your starting position. Brace core, then press into heels and squeeze glutes to raise hips toward ceiling. Pause, then press knees out wide. Return to start. That's one rep.

14
Clamshell

How to:

  1. Start lying on left side with a resistance band wrapped around thighs, and upper body propped on left forearm.
  2. Bend legs so knees face forward while feet line up with glutes.
  3. Keep hips and feet still while lifting top knee as far as you can toward ceiling, then lower back to start. That’s one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

15
Lying 'V' Tap

How to:

  1. Start lying on back, band around thighs, legs in tabletop.
  2. Place hands on floor (or behind head with the elbows wide and bring chin to chest).
  3. Open legs out into a V as you tap toes to floor, then return to table top position. That's one rep.
16
Split-Stance Banded Shoulder Press

How to:

  1. 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 elbows at shoulder level, bent at 90 degrees, palms facing inward.
  2. Press hands up overhead until biceps frame face.
  3. Hold for one second, then take three seconds to lower back to start. That’s one rep.
17
Hamstring Walkout

How to:

  1. 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.
  2. Keep hips still, then lift left foot and step it a couple of inches forward, followed by the right.
  3. Repeat until legs are almost fully extended, then reverse the small steps and return to start. That’s one rep.
18
Standing Banded Triceps Extension

How to:

  1. 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 extended straight up overhead, palms facing each other.
  2. Keep upper arms still, bend at elbows, and lower hands to just behind head.
  3. Reverse movement to return to start. That's one rep.
19
Bicycle Crunch

How to:

  1. Lie flat on back with a resistance band wrapped around feet and hands on floor at sides.
  2. Curl head, neck, and shoulder blades up to look forward.
  3. Keep lower back connected to floor, then pull left knee in towards chest while simultaneously extending right leg a few inches above mat. This is your start position.
  4. Reverse the position of legs by extending left leg while pulling right knee toward chest. That's one rep.
20
Hollow Body Hold To Crunch

How to:

  1. Loop a resistance band around wrists, and start lying on back with knees tucked into chest and head, neck, and shoulders curled up so gaze is at thighs, and extend arms to frame outside of legs.
  2. At the same time, raise straight arms overhead so biceps frame face while extending and lowering legs to hover a few inches off of the floor.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then return to start. That’s one rep.
21
Football Shuffle

How to:

  1. With band around thighs, start standing with feet slightly wider than hip-width, torso slightly hinged forward.
  2. Run in place as quickly as you can while keeping tension on the band.
22
Banded Plank Tap

How to:

  1. Wrap a resistance band around wrists and start in a high plank position.
  2. Maintain an engaged core, then bring right hand a couple inches forward to tap floor in front of fingers.
  3. Return to start and repeat on the left side. That’s one rep.
23
Banded Bird Dog

How to:

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

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

24
Staggered Leg Lower

How to:

  1. Lie on floor with a resistance band wrapped around ankles, lower back pressed flat into floor, hands at sides, and head, neck, and shoulders curled up so gaze is at thighs.
  2. Lift legs straight up overhead. This is your starting position.
  3. Lower right foot toward floor, followed by left, keeping legs about a foot apart to maintain tension in the resistance band.
  4. Once right heel is just a few inches above mat, return to top. That's one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

25
Speed Repeaters

How to:

  1. With band around thighs, start standing with feet slightly wider than hip-width, torso slightly hinged forward.
  2. Run in place as quickly as you can while keeping tension on the band.
26
Single-Leg Row

How to:

  1. 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, and body should be hinged at hips so torso and left leg are both parallel to the floor.
  2. Bend at elbows to pull hands to the sides of rib cage.
  3. Pause, then slowly lower back to start. That's one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

27
Plank To Bear

How to:

  1. Start in a plank position with a resistance band wrapped around feet.
  2. Lift right foot and bring it forward until knee is under hips and elevated a few inches off the floor.
  3. Repeat on opposite side. Pause, then return to start. That's one rep.
28
Reverse Lunge March

How to:

  1. With band around thighs, start in a reverse lunge, hands in a prayer.
  2. Start to find a pulse in the lunge position, then step back foot in one inch, then out one inch as you pulse.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

29
Penguin Crunch

How to:

  1. Start lying on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor holding a resistance band taught between hands, arms extended straight overhead so biceps frame face.
  2. Keep tension in the resistance band, crunch your upper body to the right, then return to center, and repeat on the left. That's one rep.
30
Plank Row

How to:

  1. Start in a high plank position with one end of a resistance band looped around left palm and the other held by right hand, which is slightly elevated to create tension.
  2. Keep core engaged and hips stable, then pull right elbow back toward right hip. Slowly lower back down. That’s one rep.

Complete 30 to 45 seconds of reps on one side then switch to the other before heading to your next move.

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