6 Easy Resistance Band Exercises to Give Your Whole Body a Workout

You'll be surprised by what a strip of elastic rubber can do for your exercise routine.

woman inside a house wearing exercise clothes holding a green resistance band with arms stretched to the sides
Photo: Getty Images

If you wish to try some new at-home exercises, consider a stairs workout or a resistance band workout—a series of exercises completed with stretchy, elastic resistance bands. Using resistance bands can work arms, legs, abs, and more: Consider it a full-body workout, with only a resistance band (or a few) as equipment.

For those just learning how to start working out, resistance band exercises for beginners—paired with stretching exercises for recovery—can be a great place to start. Resistance band workouts are low-impact, which can protect joints, and resistance bands themselves are affordable, easy to find, and even easier to store.

Working out with resistance bands can include a range of exercises for a variety of body parts, making it an effective workout whether you have a home gym or are using your living room as a workout space. Workout videos can help as you learn to master the exercises, but you can also use these clear, simple diagrams to learn a few resistance band moves to get started. From a resistance band lunge to squats with a chest-working overhead press, these exercises will help you get stronger, one move at a time.

01 of 07

The Resistance Band Routine

woman facing away from camera wearing a tank or sports bra with blond hair in a bun
Elinor Carucci

Think you need a pile of weights to get in shape? Snap out of it and grab an exercise band instead. This portable piece of equipment may even be more effective than a set of dumbbells because it improves strength and balance. Plus, "you work in a full range of motion, so it targets muscles that you can miss with weights," says Lawson Harris, creator of this routine and owner of the Lab, a fitness studio in Brooklyn. Try these exercises three times a week.

02 of 07

Move 1: Lunge With Bicep Curl

illustration of woman doing a lunge exercise with resistance band
Jason Lee
  • (A) Place the center of the band under the instep of your left foot and position your right foot about two feet behind you.
  • (B) With an underhand grip on the resistance band's handles, perform a bicep curl while bending your knees to lower into a lunge position.
  • Complete 20 repetitions. Switch legs and repeat.
03 of 07

Move 2: Hug-the-World Plié

illustration of woman doing an arm and leg plie exercise with resistance band
Jason Lee
  • (A) Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes out. Wrap the band around your back at bra level. Extend arms to sides, slightly curved, while holding the resistance band just shy of the handles.
  • (B) Bring fingertips together and bend knees until thighs are parallel to the floor. Open arms while returning to start.
  • Repeat 20 times.
04 of 07

Move 3: Squat With Overhead Press

illustration of woman doing a squat exercise with resistance band
Jason Lee
  • (A) Stand in the middle of the band with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Hold handles at shoulder height, with palms facing away from you and elbows bent.
  • (B) Squat deeply while pressing your arms directly over your head. Keep your weight on your heels and resist the resistance band as you return to a standing position.
  • Repeat 20 times.
05 of 07

Move 4: Crunch With Lat Pull-Down

illustration of woman doing a crunch ab exercise with resistance band
Jason Lee
  • (A) Loop the band around a stable object, like a doorknob.
  • (B) Lie on your back, gripping the band's handles with arms extended. Raise your legs and bend your knees so your shins are parallel to the floor.
  • (C) Crunch your upper body forward while drawing your arms toward your knees. Roll back to starting position.
  • Repeat 20 times.
06 of 07

Move 5: Side Lunge With Side Raise

illustration of woman doing a side lunge leg and arm exercise with resistance band
Jason Lee
  • (A) Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, one end of the resistance band under the left foot. Grip the other handle with the left hand.
  • (B) Step into a lunge with the right foot; sweep the left hand down toward the right foot.
  • (C) Push off with right foot to return to standing; raise right leg as you perform a lateral raise with left arm.
  • Repeat 20 times; switch sides.
07 of 07

Move 6: Monkey

illustration of woman doing a standing side ab exercise with resistance band
Jason Lee
  • (A) Stand on the center of the resistance band with your feet parallel and wider than shoulder-width apart, knees soft, and handles in your hands.
  • (B) Bend your torso to the right while drawing your left elbow upward. Alternate sides briskly.
  • Repeat 20 times. (And no cheating: Two sides equal one repetition!)
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