Celebrity trainer Kira Stokes created a kit of resistance bands that are both cute and effective.

By Rebecca Norris
November 01, 2019

Resistance bands are easily one of the most underrated pieces of fitness equipment. They're durable, easy to take on-the-go, and they offer a nearly limitless amount of options for your workout.

Just take it from celebrity trainer Kira Stokes, who recently launched her very own trio of mini resistance bands—which, BTW, are as cute as they are effective.

In case you're not familiar with Stokes, she trains stars like Candace Cameron Bure, Ashley Graham, Lindsey Vonn, and Shay Mitchell. After testing her resistance bands with her celeb clients and seeing just how much they enjoyed working out with them, Stokes took the bands to the masses. (Related: The Ultimate Resistance Band Workout)

Stokes says she wanted one detail, in particular, to set her resistance bands apart from the rest: color. "Most of the bands on the market are bright green or hot pink, and if you have them lying around your living room, it's rather unsightly," Stokes tells Shape.

Instead of blindingly bright neons, Stokes opted for a set of neutral-colored bands: a gray Stoked band (light resistance), a soft green Super Stoked band (medium resistance), and a black Super Duper Stoked band (heavy resistance).

"I think the colors are really unique, and the branding—Stoked, Super Stoked, and Super Duper Stoked—are what make them [original]," explains the trainer. "On my site, it says 'Stretch yourself to your limits' and then when you look down and see this Stoked branding stretch while working out, you're kind of like, 'Oh, I'm doing some good work here, I see them, I'm getting stoked—literally.'" (Related: 8 Toning Band Exercises You Can Do Anywhere)

Credit: Kira Stokes

GET STOKED Resistance Bands Kit (Buy It, $13, kirastokes.com)

In addition to the bands (which also come with a cute little bag, so you'll never lose the one you're looking for when you reeeeally need it), Stokes is launching Band Camp, a new section in her fitness app, dedicated solely to resistance-band workouts.

"The beauty of the bands is that the options are endless," says Stokes. "I'm constantly creating new workouts around the bands."

Band Camp will be available on her namesake, Kira Stokes Fit app starting November 1, which is also when her sold-out, celeb-favorite bands officially re-stock. But if you want a sneak peek at some of her banded workouts, below you'll find a sampling of what you can look forward to when Band Camp goes live.

Stokes' Tips for Resistance-Band Workouts

Before you get started, Stokes has a few safety and effectiveness tips worth keeping in mind.

1. Don't ignore muscle groups.

For starters, just like any workout that isolates a specific muscle/muscle group, it's best to change up banded workouts about every other day to avoid fatigue and plateau, she explains. (Related: Plateau-Busting Strategies to Start Seeing Results at the Gym)

2. Choose the proper resistance and work your way up. 

She also recommends starting with light resistance. "Too often, I see people trying to use a really intense resistance and not getting the proper range when they're doing the movement," says Stokes. "It's important to remember that the band should not inhibit your range. It should make it more challenging to get there."

She suggests starting with the Stoked band and working your way up to Super Stoked and Super Duper Stoked as you improve. "If you feel like you've progressed with a band, move it from your knees down to your ankles, and if that's still too easy, then you can move up to the next band and start with it around your knees," explains Stokes.

3. Always maintain the tension.

"The biggest part about band work is to maintain constant resistance while stepping out, punching out, or pushing out," says Stokes. "That's one of the things I see people doing incorrectly: letting the band slack between reps. Banded workouts are often endurance-based, so you want to keep that tension in your body so that you get the best results." (Related: What's the Difference Between Muscular Endurance and Muscular Strength?)

Lastly, keep in mind that Stokes' resistance bands aren't latex-free. "If you have a latex allergy, they're just not the band for you, to be honest," she says. "It's really hard to find latex-free bands that are really durable."

Lower-Body Resistance Band Circuit Workout

Stokes recently shared this circuit workout on Instagram, explaining that it's all about the glutes—specifically, your gluteus medius (a muscle on the side of your glute responsible for externally rotating your hip), abductors (outer thighs), and quads (front of your thighs).

"Your gluteus medius is partially responsible for stabilizing your low back/hips when you run, walk, cycle, and just move through life," Stokes wrote in the caption. "So it's important to give your gluteus medius proper attention." (Related: Is It Possible to Do Too Many Butt Workouts?)

For each exercise, place the band around your thighs, just above the knees (the band should feel taut when standing with feet hip-width apart). For best results, Stokes recommends performing the below circuit a total of three times.

Chair Position/Gluteus Medius Press

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips and bend knees to lower into a squat, aiming to drop until thighs are parallel to the ground.

B. Holding this position, pulse knees out to the sides, focusing on rotating through the hip joint not the knee.

Do 20 reps.

Gluteus Medius/Abductor Tap-Outs

A. Hinge at the hips and softly bend knees.

B. Keeping weight in your standing, stable leg, step right foot out wide to the side, tapping toe to the ground. Step foot back to center, and quickly shift weight to repeat on opposite side, tapping left foot out wide to the side. (That's one rep.) Continue alternating sides.

Do 10 reps on each side.

Lateral Squat

A. Start by hinging at the hips, and bending knees to come into a deep squat, maintaining tension on the band.

B. Step out to the left, shifting your weight so it's evenly distributed in both feet; maintain that low, deep squat the entire time. Bring right foot in so feet are hip-width apart again; without standing, repeat on opposite side, stepping out to the left. (That's one rep.) Continue back and forth, keeping the band taut the entire time.

Do 10 reps on each side.

Upper-Body Circuit Resistance Band Workout

While this circuit centers around shoulder stabilization, it undoubtedly strengthens your core too, says Stokes. (Related: The Arms and Abs Workout That You Can Do Anywhere)

Keeping the resistance band around your wrists, Stokes suggests performing the below circuit a total of 3-4 times, flowing from one move right into the next. That means you'll only do one rep of each move below before going directly to the following move, repeating until you've completed all rounds.

Quadruped Plank Tap-Out

A. Begin on all fours in a table-top position, with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Maintaining a flat back, lift knees two inches off the ground to hover.

B. Tap right hand out to the side, then bring it back to center. Tap left hand out to the left side.

High Plank Tap-Out

A. From quadruped plank (knees hovering), hop feet back and extend your legs to transition to high plank, maintaining a flat back throughout.

B. Tap right hand out to the side, then bring it back to center. Tap left hand out to the left side.

Triceps Push-Up

A. Start in high plank, bringing palms just narrower than shoulder-width apart. Engage your quads and core.

B. Inhale and bend elbows straight back to lower entire body simultaneously toward the floor, with triceps right next to ribs. Pause when chest is just below elbow height, hovering above the floor.

C. Exhale and press into palms to push body away from the floor to return to starting position, moving hips and shoulders at the same time.

Downward Dog/Bodyweight Triceps Extension

A. Start in high plank, pressing into palms to push body away from the floor. Tuck toes under, lift hips high, and press up and back into downward-facing dog.

B. From here, bend at the elbows to tap forearms to the floor. Press through palms to extend elbows and return to downward dog.

Y(ass) Resistance Band Circuit Workout

This banded floor circuit mainly targets your glutes and thighs—but thanks to the way you have to hold yourself up throughout each workout, you get bonus obliques benefits, too. "Stay lifted through the shoulder (do not sink into your neck)," Stokes suggests in the caption. (Related: The Hardest Obliques Workout Your Abs Will Ever Experience)

Come down onto your mat, and loop the resistance band around your thighs just above your knee. Perform the circuit all the way through on one side before moving on to the other side.

Full Clamshell

A. Lie on right side and prop upper body up on right elbow with knees bent and hips stacked.

B. Bring left hand to left hip, flex feet, and brace abs. Externally rotate top hip so knee opens, pressing into the band, and keeping inside edges of feet together. Lower back to start.

Do 20 reps. 

Clamshell Pulses

A. Hold hip open at the top of your clamshell. Pulse up.

Do 10 reps. 

Full Clamshell

A. Repeat the first exercise for 20 reps.

Straight-Leg Pulse

A. Extend top leg long, foot flexed. Bottom knee remains bent on the floor.

C. Pulse left leg up about one inch.

Do 20 reps.

Micro Bend and Extend

A. Keep left leg lifted and straight; foot flexed.

B. Bend the knees very slightly before pressing out, extending leg straight again.

Do 10 reps.

Straight-Leg Pulse Up and Back

A. With left leg lifted and straight, pulse up, then pulse back. (That's one rep.)

Do 10 reps. 


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