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The 15 Best Resistance Band Moves For Building Strength

Unlike weight, resistance bands can be used on every muscle group (and kept in the back of the car).

Resistance bands rules and if you work out regularly and are not using them, you should. For starters, they’re lightweight, storable, portable, inexpensive, and can double in a pinch as a way to secure luggage to the roof of the family station wagon (no further comment on how this was discovered). Moreover, a resistance band’s simple design means all you have to do to make an exercise easier or harder is increase or decrease the degree to which you stretch them. Unlike dumbbells or kettlebells, they truly are a one-size-fits-all workout aid.

There are a seemingly infinite number of ways to use these bands in your fitness routine, some more effective than others. We’ve put together 15 of the best resistance-band moves to give you a superior total body workout. Ready?

Chest Pulls

What it works: Pecs, triceps

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How to: Hold your resistance band loosely near the center, hands about a foot apart. Raise arms directly out in front of you. Squeeze shoulder blades together and open arms out wide, stretching the band. Slowly release back to center.

How many: 10 reps, 2 sets

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Front Row

What it works: Biceps, deltoids

How to: Stand facing a door. Attach one end of the resistance band to the doorknob. Hold the other end in your right hand and back away from the door until there is light tension on the band when your arm is outstretched. Keeping your back straight, knees slightly bent, bend your right elbow and pull your hand toward your chest. Slowly release.

How many: 10 reps on each side, 3 sets

Biceps Curl

What it works: Biceps

How to: Stand on the centerline of the resistance band, feet shoulder-width apart. Hold an end in either hand, palms facing forward, so that there is light resistance on the band when your arms are straight by your side. Bend elbows, flex biceps, and raise hands up toward your chest. Slowly release.

How many: 10 reps, 3 sets

Pushup

What it works: Everything a normal push up does, only harder

How to: Wrap the band behind your back, bend arms, and hold an end of the band in each hand at chest-height (imagine you’ve just wrapped a scarf around your torso). Without changing your grip, get down on the floor and do a pushup, feeling the extra resistance on your arms as you straighten them.

How many: 20 pushups, 2 sets

Side Steps

What it works: Glutes, quads

How to: Tie the resistance band around your ankles so that there is light tension when your feet are about 6 inches apart. Bend knees and take a wide step sideways to the right, feeling the resistance as you do. Bring left foot toward right.

How many: 10 steps to each side, 2 sets

Plank Walks

What it works: Hips, glutes

How to: Tie the resistance band around your ankles so that there is light tension when your feet are about 6 inches apart. Get down in the extended pushup position (arms straight). Take a wide side step to the right, stepping your right arm over to follow. Step left foot and arm over to return to start position.

How many: 10 steps to each side, 2 sets

Reverse Flye

What it works: Rhomboids, deltoids

How to: Stand perpendicular to a door. Attach one end of the resistance band to the doorknob. Hold the other end in your right hand and move away from the door until there is light tension on the band when your arm is outstretched. Keeping feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, bend at the waist so your torso is parallel to the floor. Pull your outstretched arm toward the floor, keeping it straight. Release back to the side.

How many: 10 reps on each side, 3 sets

Lateral Raise

What it works: Deltoids

How to: Stand on the centerline of the resistance band, feet shoulder-width apart. Hold an end in either hand so that there is light resistance on the band when your arms are straight by your side. Bend forward at the waist slightly, keeping your back straight. Keeping arms straight, raise them directly out the sides until they reach shoulder height. Release.

How many: 10 reps, 2 sets

Shoulder Press

What it works: Triceps, shoulders

How to: Stand in a staggered position, right foot about a foot in front of the left. Hook the center of the resistance band under your back (left) heel. Hold an end in either hand so that there is light resistance when your elbows are bent and tucked in at your sides, hands raised to shoulder height. Using your core to stabilize your body, press hands overhead, fully extending your arms. Bend elbows and lower hands back to shoulder height.

How many: 10 reps, 2 sets

Seated Row

What it works: Upper and middle back, biceps

How to: Start sitting on the floor with legs straight in front of you, resistance band hooked around the soles of your feet. Hold one end of the band in each hand so that there is light tension when your arms are stretched out in front of you. Bend elbows out to the side and pull hands toward your chest, keeping your back straight. Release.

How many: 10 reps, 2 sets

Leg Lifts

What it works: Hamstrings, glutes

How to: Tie the resistance band around your ankles so that there is light tension when your feet are about 6 inches apart. Get down in the plank position (resting on elbows). Keeping your back straight, engage your glutes and raise right leg as high as you can behind you. Slowly release.

How many: 10 reps on each side, 2 sets

Side Leg Lifts

What it works: Hip abductors, glutes

How to: Tie the resistance band around your ankles so that there is light tension when your feet are about 6 inches apart. Stand straight with left hand touching a wall for support. Raise your right leg out to the side as high as you can, keeping it straight. Release.

How many: 15 reps on each side, 3 sets

Adductor Squeeze

What it works: Adductors, glutes

How to: Stand perpendicular to a door. Attach one end of the resistance band to the doorknob. Tie the other end around your right ankle and move away from the door until there is light tension on the band when your right leg is outstretched to the side. (Place a chair in front on you for support if necessary.) From this position, squeeze your inner thigh muscles and bring your right leg down and across your midline, keeping leg straight. Slowly release back out to the side.

How many: 15 reps per side, 3 sets

Standing Chest Press

What it works: Pecs, biceps, upper back

How to: Tie the center of the resistance band to a doorknob, leaving equal amounts of band on either side. Facing away from the door, hold an end of the band in each hand so that there is light tension on the band when your elbows are bent and hands are at your chest. Stagger your feet for balance, engage your core, are press both arms forward until they are straight. Bent elbows and release.

How many: 10 reps, 2 sets

Squats

What it works: Quads, glutes

How to: Stand on the centerline of the resistance band, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend knees and drop into a squat position, knees over toes and thighs as parallel to the floor as you can get them. Hold an end of the band in either hand and adjust your grip so that there is light resistance when knees are bent, elbows are bent, and hands are tucked at your chest. Keeping your hands at chest height, straighten legs to standing position. Return to squat.

How many: 10 reps, 2 sets