The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners

Sports & Activity

Curious about adding resistance-band exercises to your workouts? Learn what they’re all about and simple moves to try.

Last updated: June 29, 2022
7 min read
The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners

No matter where you’re working out, resistance bands are a light and portable tool to incorporate into your routine. But how do they work? And what sort of fitness goals are they best suited to address? The short answer: a ton. Not only can they increase the intensity of an exercise, they ensure the right muscles are turned on and ready to work, and rehabilitate injuries among other benefits.

How Do Resistance Band Workouts Work?

Instead of invoking resistance in just one direction, like a free weight, a resistance band provides resistance throughout the entire range of motion.

By instilling resistance throughout the full range of motion, muscles are challenged in both the concentric (think: when you push a barbell away from your body during a chest press) and the eccentric phase (when you pull the bar back to your chest). While both moves are important to build strength, it’s been found that eccentric exercises are more effective in building total strength and eccentric strength, meaning those handy little bands can lead to big gains.

RELATED: Cardio vs Strength Training: Which Is Better For You?

What Are the Benefits of Resistance Band Workouts?

  1. 1.Increased Mechanical Tension

    Mechanical tension is the amount of time your muscles are under tension. The more time under tension (TUT), the more force they need to generate to complete the exercise through its range of motion. As such, a higher level of motor units and muscle fibers are recruited. This enhances muscular control and leads to improvements in muscle strength and size.

  2. 2.Sport-Specific Training

    Resistance bands strengthen movement patterns whether you’re a runner, swimmer or powerlifter. They also help you generate force throughout a full range of motion.

    For example, a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that college tennis players who used resistance bands to improve their serves had significant improvement in their serve speed and shoulder strength compared to the control group who did not use the gear.

    If you’re looking to incorporate resistance bands to enhance your sport performance, be sure to chat with your coach, physical therapist or other licensed professional who can shed insight on the best moves for your sport and areas of improvement you might want to target with a band.

  3. 3.Targeted Muscle Activation for Strong Posture

    Resistance bands can serve as a key tool to activate muscles for a variety of reasons. Before you jump into your next workout, resistance bands can foster activation by isolating the muscle groups you intend to work during your sweat session. Alternatively, resistance bands can help address a common postural challenge: Janda Syndrome.

    Janda Syndrome can occur in the full body, Upper Body Cross Syndrome or Lower Body Cross Syndrome, respectively. Incredibly common for folks who sit for a large portion of their days, Janda Syndrome results in the tightening of the anterior body (like your shoulders and hips) and the loosening of the posterior chain (like your glutes, back and hamstrings).

    When this is going on, you might notice you’re in a permanent slouch position, even when you step away from your desk. When this happens, your posterior chain might benefit from a little extra attention before your next workout to ensure movement patterns are as efficient and powerful as possible. Enter the resistance band.

    For example, a 2016 study published in Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that participants who utilized resistance bands to address rounded shoulders and forward head posture (two components of Upper Body Cross Syndrome) reported a significant improvement to their alignment after performing a simple set of specific movements to target the impacted muscles.

    Resistance bands can foster appropriate posture by activating muscles that might get a little neglected throughout your daily routine. Once proper posture is achieved, workouts can improve substantially — you’ll be tapping the appropriate muscles to chip into the work rather than compensating.

Beginner Friendly Resistance Band Workout

Whether you’re on the go, working out in your living room or just want to switch it up, resistance bands are incredibly beginner friendly. Not only can they be used during activity recovery stages in circuit training, they can provide a full workout themselves and come in a variety of intensities ranging from light to high intensity.

Looking to try a resistance-band workout? Check out these moves to get started.

  1. 1.Overhead Tricep Extension

    The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners
    • Tie a small looped resistance band behind you in line with the middle of your shoulder blades.

    • Stand in front of it.

    • Reach overhead to grab the band.

    • Keep your elbows by your ears, shoulders down and pull the band overhead.

    • Slowly bend the elbows to lower the band back behind your head.

  2. 2.Bent-Over Row

    The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners
    • Stand on top of a resistance band with feet hip-width apart and each end of the band in your hands.

    • Hinge at the hip and keep your spine and knees neutral.

    • Squeeze between your shoulder blades to initiate the movement

    • Pull the band towards your ribcage, keeping elbows in by your side as they drive back.

    • Be sure that your chin is straight and your shoulders remain down throughout the full movement.

  3. 3.Lat Pull-Downs

    The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners
    • Tie a resistance band to something higher than your head, like a doorframe.

    • Kneel and grab each end of the resistance band and face your palms away from you.

    • Roll back your shoulders, engage your core, tuck your pelvis and relax your neck.

    • Pull the band down so your hands end at shoulder height, around a 90-degree angle. At the bottom position, your elbow should be pointed to the ground.

    • Slowly release upwards and perform again.

  4. 4.Bicep Curl

    The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners
    • Stand on top of a resistance band with feet hip-width apart and each end of the band in your hands.

    • Tuck your pelvis, stack your ribcage over your hips, shoulders over ribcage, chest should feel proud, neck long and relaxed.

    • Pull the band towards your chest until your hands are in line with your shoulders while keeping your elbows close to your sides.

    • Slowly lower to the starting position.

  5. 5.Banded Forward Glute Walks

    The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners
    • With a resistance band slightly above your knees, squat down.

    • In a squat position, walk your right leg forward.

    • Then, walk your left leg forward.

    • Make sure that your knees remain over your ankles throughout the movement.

    • Keep walking forward, staying in a low squat position.

  6. 6.Banded Lateral Glute Walks

    The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners
    • With a resistance band slightly above your knees, squat down.

    • In a squat position, move your right foot laterally, followed by your left foot.

    • Keep walking to the right, in squat position, maintaining a shoulder-width distance between each foot the entire time.

    • Switch sides and perform the same number of the steps to the left side.

  7. 7.Lying Hamstring Curls

    The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners
    • Lie on your stomach with a resistance band looped around your ankles.

    • Flex your right foot and pull it towards your glute, keeping your left leg on the ground.

    • Keep your right hamstring contracted as you pull towards you and slowly lower.

    • Switch legs.

    For more workouts guided by fitness professionals, be sure to download the Nike Training Club App!

The Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners

Move Daily with Nike Training Club

Get free guidance from trainers and experts to strengthen your body and mind.

Originally published: February 24, 2022

Related Stories

How to Do a Power Clean: 4 Steps for Beginners

Sports & Activity

How to Master the Power Clean: 4 Steps for Beginners

Your Beginner Guide to Tabata Workouts

Sports & Activity

The Beginner Guide to Tabata Workouts

What Is a Burpee? Personal Trainers Explain

Sports & Activity

A Beginner's Guide to Burpees, According To Personal Trainers

What's the Difference Between a Squat and Deadlift — And Which Is Better?

Sports & Activity

What's the Difference Between a Squat and Deadlift — And Which Is Better?

How to Do Sprints Properly

Sports & Activity

How to Get Faster at Sprinting, According to Experts