Resistance Band Workout

Resistance Band Workout

Getty Images/Tara Moore

The resistance band is one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment out there.  With just one band, you can do a wide variety of exercises to work your entire body, including your chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs and core.  It's light, it's inexpensive and it fits right into your suitcase, so there's no excuse to skip your workout if you're traveling.

See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.  Modify any exercise to fit your fitness level and goals.

Equipment Needed
A resistance band, a chair

Warm up: Light-moderate cardio for 3-5 minutes

Workout Options

  • Circuit Style - Perform each exercise for 16 reps, one after the other with little or no rest in between moves.  Complete one circuit and then repeat 1-2 more times for a more intensity workout.
  • Straight Sets - Another option is to do each exercise for your chosen number of sets, resting briefly in between, before moving on to the next exercise.

Let's get started with your first exercise: Chest Presses

Chest Presses with Bands

Paige Waehner

How To Wrap the band around the back of the chair, pulling the band under the armpits and holding the handles in each hand.  Sit very tall with the abs engaged and begin the movement with the elbows at 90 degrees and at shoulder level with the palms facing down.  Squeeze the chest to push the arms straight out in front of you without locking the joints.  Bring the arms back to start, keeping the move slow and controlled.  If you need more tension, you can wrap the band around your hands. 

Reps/Sets/Duration: 1-3 sets of 16 reps

Next Exercise:  Band Rows

Band Rows

Paige Waehner

How To: Center tube under feet and bend forward at the waist, back flat and abs in.  Grab tube close to the feet and bend the elbows to pull the arms up to the torso, squeezing the back.  Lower and Repeat

Reps/Sets/Duration: 1-3 sets of 16 reps

Next Exercise:  Seated High Row

Seated High Row

Paige Waehner

How To: Wrap band around stable object at about chest height and sit (or stand) facing it, holding the handles with arms out in front, palms down. Pull the elbows back until level with torso, squeezing the shoulder blades and keeping arms parallel to ground.  Keep the shoulders down and focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 1-3 sets of 16 reps.

Next Exercise: Band Lat Pull

Band Lat Pull

Paige Waehner

How To: Begin by sitting or standing and hold the resistance band overhead.  Squeeze the lats as you pull the arms down, bringing the elbows towards the ribcage.  Make sure to keep the band in front of you rather than behind the head.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 1-3 sets of 16 reps

Change Intensity:  Change the space between your hands to make the move easier or harder.

Next Exercise:  Rear Delt Fly

Rear Delt Fly

Paige Waehner

How To: On hands and knees, hold one side of the band in the right hand and grab the other end with the left hand.  Keep the right hand in place as you lift the left arm straight up to shoulder level leading with the elbow and squeezing the back and shoulder.  Adjust hand placement to increase or decrease tension.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 1-3 sets of 16 reps

Modification:  Hold the band at different points to find the perfect amount of tension for this exercise.

Next Exercise:  Lateral Raise

One Arm Lateral Raise

Paige Waehner

How To: Stand with one end of tube under foot and the other end in one hand. Keeping elbow slightly bent and fixed, lift the arm out to side, to shoulder level.  Don't let the band pull you out of good form, but really keep the arm locked in that position.  Lower and repeat for all reps before switching sides.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 1-3 sets of 16 reps

Modification:  Change the tension by standing more towards the handle (easier) or towards the middle (harder).

Next Exercise: Overhead Press

Side Squat with Overhead Press


How To: For the side squats with an overhead press, stand on the band and hold the handles just over the shoulders, elbows bent (you'll want a lighter band for this one).  Take a step out to the side and lower into a squat.  Step the feet back together as you press the arms overhead.  Repeat, either moving across the room in one direction or switching sides each time.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 1-3 sets of 16 reps

Next Exercise:  Lunge with Biceps Curls

Modification: If your band is too tight for this exercise, just press up with one arm at a time or take out the overhead presses entirely.

Lunge with Biceps Curls


How To: The lunge with biceps curls begins in a split stance, the resistance band under your front foot.  Criss-cross the band for more tension and lower into a lunge.  At the same time, curl the arms up into a biceps curl.  Stand up, lower the arms and repeat all reps before switching sides.

Reps/Sets/Duration:  1-3 sets of 16 reps

Next Exercise:  Band Kickbacks

Band Kickbacks

Paige Waehner

How To: Stand on the band and bend over at the hips, grabbing the band as low as you need to create tension on the band.  With the torso parallel to the floor, pull the elbows up, as in a row, hold that position and straighten the arms back behind you.  Lower and repeat.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 1-3 sets of 16 reps

Next Exercise:  Crisscross Outer Thigh

Crisscross Outer Thigh

Paige Waehner

How To: Lie on the floor and wrap the band around both feet as you take them straight up in the air.  Crisscross the bands for more tension and pull the elbows down to the floor, holding that position,  Keeping legs straight or slightly bent, open the feet as wide as you can, feeling the outer thighs contract.  Come back to start and repeat.

Reps/Sets/Duration: 1-3 sets of 16 reps

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