10 Resistance Band Exercises for a Total Body Home Workout

A regular exercise program strengthens the body, clears the mind and provides stamina, energy and feelings of well being.

Most people think they need to join a gym in order to have access to free weights and weigh machines to get into peak physical shape. Although a gym is a good place for completing a well-rounded strength training program, it can be both time consuming and expensive to go to a gym on a regular basis. For those of you who cannot join a gym for some reason or you can’t make it on a regular basis, you can still get a full-body workout by using resistance bands at home.

Strength training is about resistance. Lifting weights is simply resistance of those weights against the tension of your muscles which causes them to grow. Therefore, you can get many of the same benefits from a resistance band workout because the bands are providing similar resistance against your muscles.

In order to get a good total body workout at home (or at the office or hotel room when traveling), you should invest in a good set of resistance bands. A good set will include various fitness tubes which are rated at different weights, a door anchor, ankle straps for lower body workouts, and instructions. Avoid resistance bands that are simply labeled “light, medium, or heavy” as you won’t be able to gauge your weight strength.

You can achieve a total body workout by doing the following workouts with resistance bands

  • intermediate level – complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions
  • advanced level – complete at least 3 sets of 15 repetitions

In order to get the best results, do your resistance band workout at least 2 or 3 days a week.

Lower Body

1. Glute Extension

Get onto all fours and, while holding the resistance band handles, wrap the band around one foot. Push the leg out until it is straight and squeeze your glutes as you extend the leg. Return and repeat.

2. Squats

While standing on a resistance band with feet spread out and even with the shoulders, hold the resistance band handles about waist level. The arms should be in a 90° position and directed slightly out to the sides (not directly in front of you). Go into a squat while pulling on the bands to add tension. Do not allow your knees to go past the plane of your toes. Return to the starting position and repeat.

3. Side Steps

Standing straight up, tie each end of a fitness tube around each ankle (don’t tie to your bare leg). You should have several inches of band extended between your legs. With controlled motions, step sideways a full step and slowly bring the other leg back to the starting position. Repeat for a total of 10 steps then step in the opposite direction for the next set.

Upper Body

4. Bicep Curls

Stand in the middle of a resistance tube, holding the handles in each hand. Your arms should be at a 90° angle with forearms out in front of you and with palms facing up. Pull the band to your shoulders to complete the curl and then slowly lower and repeat. For more tension, move your feet farther apart on the band.

5. Triceps Extension

This exercise can be done from either a standing or sitting position. Hold a section of the fitness tube with one hand, arm extended straight out in front of you. Grasp the band with the other hand, holding the upper arm out to your side and with the forearm facing front to form a 90° angle. Keep the extended arm straight and pull the band with the bent arm until it is straight out to your side. Repeat and then switch arms.

6. Chest Press (Alternating or Normal)

 Wrap the resistance band around a pole or other sturdy object about chest level. With you back to the object, hold the handles with palms down. Begin with one arm and press the band out, keeping your arm parallel to the floor and the other arm steady. Slowly come back and repeat with the other arm until you have completed 10 reps with each arm. You can get greater resistance by doing a normal chest press which involves pressing the band forward with both arms at the same time.

7. Overhead Press

While standing on the center of a band, begin by holding the handles in each hand at shoulder level, elbows out and forearms up. Extend your arms into the “field goal” position (straight up) while keeping your abs tight and contracting your shoulders. Release and repeat.

8. Rear Flyes

From a position on all fours, hold a portion of the resistance band with one hand on the floor. Grab the handle of the other end with the other hand and pull the band back and up until your arm is parallel with the floor. You can adjust the tension by either grabbing more tube closer to the extending hand (greater tension), or holding the tube closer to the opposite handle (less tension).

9. Rear Delt Flyes

This exercise can be done from either a standing or sitting position. Start by holding the resistance band in the middle with both hands and arms out in front of you. Pull with both arms until they are straight out to your sides. Slowly allow the resistance to pull you back to the starting position and repeat.

10. Lat Pulls

This exercise can be completed from either the standing or sitting position. Hold both arms straight up and directly over your head grasping the middle section of a band. Move your hands out and away from your body while bringing your elbows into your sides. In a controlled manner, allow the tension to bring your arms back to the starting position and repeat. To adjust the tension, either move your hands closer together (for more tension), or farther apart (for less tension).

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