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Resistance band exercises for a full-body workout

If you want to do a full-body workout at home, but don’t want to invest in weights and other equipment, resistance band exercises are the perfect answer. Versatile, lightweight and easy-to-use, resistance bands can be added to standard workout exercises to make the muscles work harder, which is great for toning and strengthening the body.

The amount of resistance band workouts you can do is wide-ranging and suitable for all levels of fitness, so they’re ideal for everyone.

How to use resistance bands

A resistance band is made from elasticated fabric formed into a loop or a strip. There are many different lengths and tensions; the stronger the tension, the harder the exercise will be and the more your muscles will have to work. To use the band, simply grip it in your hand or loop the band around part of your body such as your legs and pull against the resistance of the stretch.

The exercises described in this article use resistance bands of varying tensions, so we’d recommend purchasing a range of bands to make your workouts comfortable, safe and varied.

Choose three to five of the exercises – a mixture of upper body and lower body is best – and complete 15 to 30 reps of each. To do 15 to 30 reps, simply follow the instructions and repeat the exercise described 15 to 30 times. Once you’ve completed 15-30 reps of the exercises you’ve chosen, do the three to five exercises you chose again two or three times more. This is called a circuit.

Upper body resistance band exercises for arms, back and chest

Bicep curls

Bicep curls are a great resistance band arm workout. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart with your shoulders back. Place the band under your feet and bend your knees slightly. Grip the band at both ends in either hand. Start with your arms by your sides and curl them upwards from the elbow in a curling motion. To make this move harder, open your feet slightly wider.

Bicep curls

Bent over row

Bent over rows are one of many resistance band back exercises you can do. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, bend forward from your hips – making sure to keep your back straight – and bend your knees slightly. Place the middle of the resistance band under your feet and hold either end in your hands. Pull the resistance band upwards until your wrists are aligned with your body and then slowly bring your arms back down.

Bent over row

Cross-body row

Cross-body rows work your shoulders and arms. Plant your feet a few inches wider than shoulder-distance apart. Place one end of the resistance band under one foot and grip the other end with your opposite hand. Bend the knee of the leg that the band is under and bring the hand holding the band down toward that foot. Stand up straight, pulling the band upward towards the opposite side, stopping at the shoulder. Do 15-30 reps on one side and then swap.

Cross body row

Pull apart

Using a light-to-medium tension, grip the resistance band at both ends, holding it out in front of you at shoulder height with your arms straight. Pull the band apart as far you can – keeping your back straight – and hold it for a second, then return. This is one of the easier resistance band chest exercises. To make it harder, use a higher tension band.

Pull apart

Split-stance overhead press

A split-stance overhead press works the triceps, back and shoulders. Start with one foot in front of you and the other foot behind you. Using a light-to-medium tension, loop the resistance band underneath your back foot and hold both ends of the band in either hand. Start with your arms bent at 90 degrees with your hands at shoulder height and then lift your arms overhead until they are nearly touching. Bring them back down slowly to the starting position.

Split stance overhead press

Lower body resistance band exercises for legs, abs, and glutes

Squat

Resistance band squats work the glutes and legs. Start with your feet about shoulder-width apart and loop your resistance band around your legs just above your knees. Bend your legs and push your hips back in a sitting motion – making sure to lift the chest, keep your back flat and tighten your core. Come back to standing by pushing through your heels and squeeze your bum as you reach the top. To change things up, move the resistance band down to your ankles and do the same move.

Squat

Clam shell

Clam shells are a resistance band exercise for legs and glutes. Start by lying on your side so that your hips, knees, and ankles are stacked. Wrap the band around your legs above your knees and bend your legs at a 90-degree angle. Keeping your feet together, lift your left knee upwards, making sure to tighten your core and straighten your back. Slowly lower it back to the starting position. Do 15-30 reps on each side.

Clam shell

Bicycle crunch

Bicycle crunches are a resistance band exercise for abs and legs. Start on your back with your arms by your sides and loop the resistance band around your feet. Lift your legs slightly, then bring one knee toward your chest, keeping your other leg straight. Switch sides.

Bicycle crunch

Standing obliques

Standing obliques work your legs and abs. Stand with your feet a few inches wider than shoulder-width apart and wrap one end of the resistance band around one foot, standing on the other end with your other foot. Bring your hands behind your head. Lift the foot that holds the band toward your elbow, bending the knee, and then slowly lower your foot back down. Do 15-30 reps on each side.

Standing obliques

Lateral walk

Lateral walks are a resistance band exercise for the glutes, legs and core. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Loop the resistance band around your legs just above the knees. Sit into a squat position, keeping your back straight and your chest lifted and step from side to side. Try to maintain tension at all times.

Lateral walk