6 Resistance-Band Exercise Moves to Boost Overall Strength
If you're ever stranded on a desert island, a resistance band should be your first choice of workout equipment. First, it can travel anywhere. A band can also add a strength challenge to your go-to bodyweight moves. It's versatile enough to work for beginners and pros, and there are certain exercises you can only do with this tool—including three of the muscle-builders here. Nike Master Trainer Flor Beckmann designed this combination of exercises to hit every major muscle group, which will help improve your overall strength and better your range of motion.
When you're choosing your band, know that these big loops typically come in different colours to indicate varying levels of tension, though thickness is an easy giveaway: the thicker the band, the more tension it gives. And if you only have one band to work with, no sweat. Adjust your grip (moving your hands closer together or further apart) or anchor point (moving the anchor higher or lower) to find more or less resistance.
Do these six moves from Beckmann as a warm-up to any strength session, or knock out 2 or 3 sets of 10 reps for a quick do-anywhere workout. Don't have a big loop? You can sub in a handled resistance band.
1. Squat Muscles worked: shoulders, arms, glutes, hips, abs, quads, hamstrings, calves
To start, stand on one end of a large resistance loop with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the other end of the band so that it is taut, with both hands at chest height and elbows bent. Squat until your hips are lower than your knees. Stand. That's 1 rep.
2. Bent-over Row
Muscles worked: shoulders, arms, upper back, lats, glutes, hamstrings
Double-up the band and hold each end, then step one foot on the centre of the band, and step your other foot behind you. Hinge forwards from your hips at a 45-degree angle with your back flat. Extend your arms straight below your shoulders, with palms facing in, and slightly bend your knees, to start. Bend your arms to pull your elbows straight back until your fists reach your torso. Lower to return to the start. That's 1 rep.
Muscles worked: glutes, hips, quads, hamstrings, calves
Stand on the band with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Then, cross the band in front of you to make an "X" shape. Hold the other end of the band with both hands so that it is taut, with your arms bent at hip height, to start. Take two steps to one side, then switch sides and repeat. That's 1 rep.
4. Pull-apart Muscles worked: shoulders, upper back
Hold a section of the band with your hands shoulder-width apart and arms extended in front of you at chest height. Bring your shoulder blades down and squeeze them together as you pull your hands apart, until your arms are at your sides (or as wide as you can go under the band's tension). Slowly return to the start. That's 1 rep.
5. Extended Rotation
Muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, lats, obliques, abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves
Loop the band around a fixed anchor point at chest height, then clasp your hands around one end of the band. Stand perpendicular to the anchor with your feet hip-width apart, and arms extended forwards at chest height. Step away from the anchor until you create just enough tension to withstand the pull from the band. Slowly rotate your upper body 90 degrees to one side, pivoting on the other foot, then slowly rotate to the opposite side. That's 1 rep.
6. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Muscles worked: lower back, glutes, hips, hamstrings, calves
Double up the band and hold an end in each hand. Then, lie face-up, with your legs bent and feet hip-width apart and flat. Press one foot into the centre of the band, then extend that leg straight up, to start. Press through your grounded foot and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Slowly lower to return to the start. That's 1 rep. Do all reps on one side then switch sides and repeat.