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The Best Total-Body Exercises to Try with Every Kind of Resistance Band

Because resistance bands are travel-friendly and easy to use, providing limitless exercise options, it's no wonder trainers (including myself) tout them as one of the best pieces of workout equipment. While mini bands are likely flooding your Instagram feed right now, there are a few others worth adding to your band practice sweat sessions, too. You'll need four major types for these exercises: a resistance band with handles, a pull-up assistance band, a mini band, and a CLX Consecutive Loops by TheraBand. (Related: A Resistance-Band Interval Workout to Speed Up Your Metabolism

Notes on Resistance Bands

  • While your bands are great to bring along when you travel to the beach, be sure to keep your bands out of the heat for extended periods of time. Too much fun in the sun will cause the elasticity to weaken, meaning they could snap...Ouch!
  • Speaking of wear and tear: Like your favorite hair tie, resistance bands lose their holding power over time. So inspect your bands often for tears and holes and replace them as needed.
  • When placing the band under your feet, be sure to always position the band in the middle of your shoes. Having it too close to the heels or toes increases the chances of it flinging off. Also, ouch!
  • Lastly, choose the strength option appropriate for your fitness level and the muscle group you are working. Less elasticity is typically harder and more elasticity is typically easier. However, when using the pull-up band to assist in pull-ups, the opposite is true. 

Total Time: up to 45 minutes

You will need: Resistance band

1. Squat with Overhead Press

A.

Loop a band with handles evenly underneath the middle of your shoes; feet hip-width apart. Lower into a squat and biceps curl the handles toward your shoulders to start.

B.

Engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you press the band overhead and stand.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

2. High Row

A.

Attach a band with handles to something sturdy, like a pole, or have a friend hold it tight in the middle. Stand tall and hold the handles, palms facing down at shoulder height.

B.

Engage your upper-back muscles by drawing your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows, keeping them at shoulder height.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

3. Split Squat with Lateral Raise

A.

Loop a band with handles evenly underneath the middle of your right foot and step your left foot back into a static lunge to start. Hold the handles, palms facing down and arms extended in front of your right knee.

B.

Raise arms to sides to create tension in band while straightening knees. Lower and bring arms forward while bending knees to return to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

4. Resisted Sprinter

A.

Loop a pull-up assistance band around a pole, or have a friend hold it tight in the middle at hip height. Place the other end of the loop across your hips as you drive forward into a sprint.

B.

Continue to pump your arms, engage your core and drive your knees to your chest.

Sets:

3 to 5

Reps:

AMRAP for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.

5. Bent-Over Row

A.

Loop a pull-up assistance band evenly underneath the middle of your shoes; feet hip-width apart. Hinge at your hips and hold the band in each hand. (The closer to your feet, the more challenging.)

B.

Open your chest and engage your core as you bring your elbows back and draw your shoulder blades together.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

6. Assisted Squat

A.

Loop a pull-up assistance band evenly underneath the middle of your shoes; feet hip-width apart. The top of the band will rest across your shoulders and on the outside of your arms. Gently hold the band with your elbows by your side to loosen the resistance slightly.

B.

Lower into a squat with your knees gently pressing against the outside of the band. Engage the core and glutes as you return to standing.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

7. Resisted Long Jump

A.

Loop a mini band around your legs, above the knees. Lower into a squat, using the outer thighs to resist against the band.

B.

Jump forward, engaging the core and land back in a squat position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

8. Balancing Chest Press

A.

Loop a mini band around your wrists, arms extended out in front of you at shoulder height. Take one foot off the ground for an added core challenge.

B.

Engage your core and upper back as you draw your shoulder blades together. Elbows will bend 90 degrees and remain at shoulder height. Engage your chest to return to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12 on each leg

9. Standing Oblique Crunch

A.

Stand with a mini band looped around the middle of your shoes.

B.

Balance on one leg as you engage your obliques and draw your right knee toward your right elbow.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12 on each leg

10. Flying Bird

A.

Find the middle of a CLX Consecutive Loop and place each foot in one loop, skipping a loop in between. Place your hands in the loops on the ends, looping across your palms and around your thumbs for added grip. Then come into a tabletop position, knees under hips and shoulders under wrists.

B.

Engage your core and keep your spine neutral as you extend opposite arm and opposite leg.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12 on each side

11. Boat Pose to Hollow Back Extension

A.

Find the middle of a CLX Consecutive Loops band and place each foot in one loop, skipping a loop in between. Put your hands in the loops on the ends, looping across your palms and around your thumbs for added grip. Then come to a boat pose, sitting on your hips with your chest high and core engaged, drawing your elbows to your knees.

B.

Engage the core and extend the legs out into a hollow back hold. Hold for 1 second before returning to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

12. Moving X-Squats

A.

Find the middle of a CLX Consecutive Loops band and place each foot in one loop, skipping a loop in between. Place your hands in the loops on the ends. Start in a squat with elbows at your waist and hands in front of your shoulders.

B.

Stay in the squat as you step out into a wider squat and extend the arms, forming an "X" shape with your arms and legs.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

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