Photo by: Airman 1st Class Octavius Thompson
Who Has Time to Go to the Gym Anymore?
OK, so as of March 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic, we don't have a choice because we are in Lockdown and all the gyms are closed! So let's just pretend that we don't even need the gym, because in fact, it's true. This site is all about home fitness, so read on if you are lost without your gym and need to continue your fitness program at home.
Let's be honest; we could all use a little more exercise. We all wish we could be healthier and more fit. Sometimes, though, it's just hard. And sometimes, especially if you're just starting out, it can all seem so overwhelming. Most of us have multiple responsibilities. We have full-time jobs, kids, college coursework, chores to do and more.
Just the thought of trying to make time within that already packed schedule to get ready, drive to the gym and work out is exhausting. If you add in trying to find a babysitter or having to cook dinner, it just seems like too much.
If this sounds like you, we actually have some good news for you. It's something you already know deep down, but we're going to remind you of it now.
You Don't Need A Gym To Exercise!
In fact, you don't even have to leave your house. You don't need the latest in great exercise technology. You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on state-of-the-art weight-lifting equipment. You don't even have to invest in a treadmill if you don't want to do so.
All you need is a stretchy piece of elastic and the drive to push yourself a little further past your limits each day.
We're talking about resistance bands, of course. Resistance bands are a relatively inexpensive, yet incredibly effective, way of working out, burning calories and getting in shape. They won't replace your weights, so if you're looking to get huge muscles, resistance bands might not be for you.
However, if you're looking to increase your strength, add small amounts of lean muscle, increase your flexibility, improve your heart health and, most of all, burn a ton of calories, resistance bands are the way to go. They're small, lightweight and extremely portable.
They're the best option for a quick workout on-the-go. Whether you're at home binge-watching your favorite show, in a hotel room on a business trip or taking a 15-minute break from work, you can simply pull out your bands and get in a quick workout.
You may be wondering what you can do with resistance bands other than simply pulling on them. Well, we're here to help you with that. We got together with Ben Fildes, the "Let's Band" master trainer, and asked him what types of workouts we could do with our resistance bands. He obliged by giving us a full-body workout routine that takes only 15 minutes of your time.
Types Of Resistance Bands Required For These Workouts
There are two main types of resistance bands - looped bands and straight bands with handles. Within these two types, though, you can find a wide array of strengths and sizes of bands.
Most companies color-code bands to easily alert you to their strength and resistance levels. There are a few brands that don't do this, so always check the package to be sure you're getting the correct strength for your needs. However, for the companies that do, the color breakdown is usually as follows:
- Yellow bands are the weakest and offer the least resistance
- Red and green bands are stronger than yellows, but they're only mid-way on the resistance ladder
- Blue and black bands are the toughest. These offer the most resistance and require the most strength to use appropriately. Unless you're exceptionally strong when you begin your resistance band training, you shouldn't start with these bands.
The resistance band workouts we've outlined for you in this article requires the use of two different bands. One of these is a smaller looped band. This type of band is perfect for use with leg training. You can easily step into it and slide it near your knee.
When it comes to these smaller bands, you can usually pick up a multi-pack for a little of nothing. Most packs cost under $20 or less. The INMAKER brand is a favorite of ours because their products are well-made and durable, and they usually come with carrying cases. These smaller bands aren't optimal for doing squats and other exercises that require larger bands though.
For larger bands, you'll almost always have to buy them individually. They don't usually come in multi-packs. AmazonBasics sells some high-quality, reasonably-priced large resistance bands. Again, be sure to check out the resistance level on each band before you purchase it. While the AmazonBasics bands sell for a good price, there's no sense wasting money on something that's the wrong size.
10 Best Resistance Band Exercises For The Chest [Video]
Alright. Now that you know where to find the bands, let's get to the workout itself!
Ten Best Resistance Band Workouts To Do At Home
The following is a 10-step resistance band workout that you can comfortably do from just about anywhere.
1. One-Arm Bicep Curl
Repetitions: 12-15 with each bicep
For this exercise, you'll want to stand with your feet placed atop the band and shoulder-width apart. Hold the end of your band in one hand, beginning with your arm at your side. Your palm should face outwards.
Using the arm holding the band, bend your elbow and curl your arm in toward your shoulder. You'll feel the contraction in your bicep. Once you do, slowly lower your arm back into its original position. Continue to do this between 12 and 15 times before moving onto your other arm, which you'll exercise the same way.
With the band held in both your hands, lift your arms as high as your chest and stretch them out to your sides. In this position, your band should be behind your body. Slowly bring your arms in towards each other in front of your body. Your arms should stay extended fully, with your elbows locked and facing upwards.
As you pull your arms in together, you should feel your chest muscles squeezing together, as well. Once your arms are touching in front of you, slowly move them back into their original positions, never bending your elbows. Then repeat the exercise 12 to 15 times.
3. Front Squat
For this exercise, you'll start by standing on the band. Your feet should be spread wider than your shoulders, but only slightly. Pull the band up until it's on your shoulders, then do a squat, keeping your chest and back straight and your knees bent directly over your feet.
Slowly stand back up into the original position. Repeat eight to 15 times.
4. Side-Lying Hip Abduction
Repetitions: 10-12 with each leg
As you can probably tell from the name, this exercise requires you to lie down on your side. Your should bend both your knees and your hips at a 90° angle. The band should be looped over the area slightly higher than your knees.
Lift the leg that's on top, pulling apart your knees and contracting your glute muscles for about three seconds before moving back into your original position. You should do this between ten and 12 times on one side before turning over and doing the other side.
5. Glute Bridge
With the band looped slightly higher than your knees, lie with your back to the floor, knees bent at a 90° angle and feet resting on the floor. Raise your toes from the floor.
Then lift your hips, letting your knees open just a little to put pressure on the band, so that you're a horizontal line from shoulders to knees. This will contract your glute muscles. Repeat ten to fifteen times.
With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly and use both hands to hold a section of the band (also shoulder-width apart) in front of you. Your arms should be as high as your shoulders and straight.
Slowly pull your arms apart from each other, pulling the resistance band. Once you feel the contraction of your shoulder blades, gently move your arms back into their starting points. Repeat eight to ten times.
7. Lateral Walk
Repetitions: 8-10 steps in both directions
With one band looped slightly higher than your knees and a second looped around your ankles, lower yourself into a half-squat. Your feet should remain aligned with your shoulders in order to create maximum tension in the resistance bands.
Holding this position, step sideways, holding the same amount of tension while moving. Take eight to ten steps moving one way, then take eight to ten steps back the way you came.
In the plank position, lay the band across your shoulders/upper-back area. Keep both ends grasped firmly in each hand. Lower your chest to the floor, contracting your glute and abdominal muscles; then push yourself up again to the maximum extension of your arms.
Repeat at least five times, preferably 15.
9. Squat-to-Overhead Press
Standing atop the band, move your feet to align with your shoulders. Lift your hands, palms up, to the height of your shoulders. Hold the band tightly and lower yourself into a quick squat before pushing yourself back up once more.
As you do this, extend your arms as far as they'll go and lift the band over your head. Squat once again, this time more slowly. Repeat eight to ten times.
10. Band Pull-Apart
Standing with your feet apart about shoulder-width. Holding your resistance band with both hands, keep your hands about shoulder-width apart. Push your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height and stretch the band apart in a "going in for a hug" gesture.
Stretch the band as far as you possibly can, preferably until you feel the blades of your shoulders touch one another. Then release the tension in the band and move your hands together once more. Repeat ten to 15 times.
Resistance Band Workout For Shoulders [Video]
Our very own Fitness Coach, Luke Keating recently published his own Resistance Band Video focussing on shoulder exercises. The video is above and the full transcription is below:
"OK this is a short shoulder mobilization warmup so the firmer you hold, the closer you
hold your hands together, the tougher it's going to be.
So start fairly far away make sure you've got some tension, left hand to the left pocket right hand here and you're gonna come straight up into a lateral raise for five reps try and get a position where you've got tension on the cable (or resistance band) the whole time. Four, five, Arm out to the side, one arm straight, one, two, three, four, five.
Now the same thing but we're going to rotate so you go here. Rotate, one, two, three, four, one more, five.
Now arm up so you're in an 'L' position now. Pull down straight, back up, five reps, two, three, four, five, and now with a little lean. So lean over, pull here, one, two, three, four ,five.
OK, last one. Drawing the sword across the body. So hold here and come out. OK, use the hand further away if you want more tension two, three, four, five.
You start to feel a lot of burn on the posterior capsular, the shoulder.
OK other side. So right hand down, left hand and you keep you're, keep your thumb down facing the floor and lateral raise. One, two, three, four keep your arm locked out, last one, five. OK
Arm just straight out in front of you, pull away, one, two, you can put it here or out here for more tension, three, four, five and now with the rotation. Pull and lean away. One, two, three, four, five.
Straight above the head bring the cable (or resistance band) in front of your face. One, two, three, four, five. Now with the lean. One, two, three, four, five. And cross-body, doing the sword. One, nice diagonal, two, three, four, five.
Ok, this one you can do before any upper body warm up or any upper body workout, or before and after you watch TV, OK, and it will try and bring the shoulders back in this position"
Download the Resistance Band Exercise Chart - Free!
At the top of this page, you can fill in the form and we will send you a link to download a printable version of our Resistance Band Exercises Chart. This chart is the most comprehensive collection of resistance band exercises for a full body workout to do at home.
For each of the numbered exercises above, click each image below to see an illustration of how the exercise is performed.