9 Resistance Band Exercises Perfect for Beginners

TThe advantages of working out at home include not having to go to work or comb your hair to squeeze out a sweat session during the day. Working out at home can also be more cost-effective: Online memberships are about the price of a fancy shake. (Or totally free if you head over to YouTube.) length) equipment you can find in the gym. However, resistance bands solve that problem, especially if you’re a beginner fitness enthusiast.

“They come in a variety of lengths, difficulties (light, medium, heavy, extra heavy), colors, and shapes,” says NASM-certified personal trainer Danny Saltos. “You can do a variety of exercises using resistance bands like bicep curls, shoulder presses, chest presses, squats, and many more.” In other words, an affordable resistance band is pretty much all you need to recreate any home gym equipment and get a full-body workout.

If you’re a newbie who wants to try resistance band exercises, read on for their benefits, nine moves for beginners, and tips on how to get the most out of your practice.

Benefits of exercises with resistance bands

1. Gentle on the joints

“Resistance band exercises are a lot like traditional weight-bearing exercises, except they have an anchor point and therefore engage the body more in each exercise,” says Floery Mahoney, founder of Board30, a gym franchise that offers a full body resistance band workout. “Constant gentle tension is so much better for your joints and even helps strengthen your joints, the more you use it.”

2. Increase strength evenly

If you want to ensure a symmetrical workout, resistance bands have your back (and core and arms, you get the gist). “Resistance band exercises increase strength evenly, both concentrically and eccentrically [meaning, when you contract and release]so their muscles are strong but more flexible and less prone to injury,” says Mahoney.

3. Build muscle

Resistance bands may seem flimsy, but don’t be fooled: they can help you build serious muscle. “You can build muscle mass by using resistance bands by increasing the tension and doing fewer reps,” says Mahoney. “You can also incorporate cardio more easily than with weights,” which are bulkier and more difficult to handle.

4. Easy to travel

You may not be traveling much right now, but when you are, resistance bands are a great companion. You literally don’t need any other gear (see the Versatility perk, below). “Put them in your luggage or throw them in your backpack,” says Saltos. “Some can even be bundled together in a small mesh bag.”

5. Versatile

Versatility is another great benefit of resistance band exercises. “You can do just about every gym move from the comfort of your own home,” says Saltos. “You can work your glutes, quads, chest, back, arms, and abs, all with a good set of bands.”

6. Great for all fitness levels

Whether you’re just starting to get into your exercise flow or are a total fitness fanatic, resistance bands work great for people at all fitness levels because they come in a variety of resistances. “Most band sets come in a variety of bright colors,” says Jumps. “This is visually appealing, but it also serves as a way to identify the different thicknesses/difficulties of each band. Lighter bands offer less resistance and heavier bands offer much more resistance.”

9 Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners

1. Squats

Upgrade your squats by adding a resistance band to the mix for an amazing resistance band glute workout.

Use a light resistance band for this. Step onto the band with both feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the ends of the band with one hand on each side. Then squat down. “This added band resistance mimics the same stimulus as using free weights or a cable machine,” says Saltos. Your legs and butt will feel the burn.

2. Chest press

If you want to work on upper body strength, a resistance band chest press will help with that. “Using an anchor point that’s shoulder-high (i.e., fence, sturdy survey, door frame anchor), grab a handle in each hand and walk away from the anchor point,” he says. jumps. “Using a staggered stance, press into the resistance band until your arms are locked out at full extension.”

3. Bicep Curls

A resistance band bicep curl (shown at about 11 minutes in the video above) is another easy exercise for beginners that Jumps and Mahoney recommend. “Stand on your resistance band using an anchor point (your left or right foot) and perform a bicep curl,” says Jumps. Mahoney’s tips for proper execution include bending your elbows as you curl, keeping your spine straight, and keeping your knees slightly bent.

4. Center kick

To do a center kick, sit on a mat and wrap your resistance band around one foot and hold the ends with both hands. “Keep your foot with the resistance band in the air and lean back at 45 degrees,” says Mahoney. “Bring your knee to your chest, then press for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.” In the video above, you can see a variation of those moves with both legs hooked into the resistance band.

5. Back Rows

You also don’t need weights or a rowing machine to get you in the back row. To do this, grab your resistance band and sit on the floor. “Wrap the band over both feet as your anchor,” says Jumps. “Sit up nice and tall, and pull both hands back into a paddle with a neutral grip.” This will help regain strength, flexibility, and endurance.

6. Lateral shoulder raise

Target your shoulders and abs with a lateral shoulder raise supported by your handy resistance band. Start by standing on your resistance band using one foot as an anchor. “Raise your right and left arms until they’re parallel to the ground so your body resembles the letter T,” says Jumps. “Lower [your arms] and repeat.”

7. Tricep press

To keep your triceps looking nice and toned, try a resistance band tricep press. “Stand up on your resistance band,” says Mahoney. “Bend 45 degrees at the waist. Bring your elbows into your ribcage with a 90 degree bend at the elbow. Press back with your hands to engage your triceps. It’s important to keep your head in line with your spine and your elbows. steady.”

8. Shoulder Press

Give your shoulders some love with a resistance band shoulder press. He starts by standing straight on his resistance band. “Holding the resistance bands, bring your hands up to shoulder height with your elbows out to your sides,” says Mahoney. “Press both hands up from the shoulder.” If you need to modify it, do one arm at a time instead of both.

9. Quad Press

To work on your quads, while standing, loop your resistance band about one foot apart. “Hold on to the ends of the risers,” says Mahoney. “Bring your knee toward your core, and then press down and forward at a 45-degree angle. Make sure you have a slight bend in your supporting leg and a straight spine.” In the video above, you can see a variation performed while lying down.

Exercise tips for beginners with resistance bands

Test the resistance level

Before you start doing reps, Mahoney recommends testing the resistance level of the band first. If the resistance is too much or not enough, he can adjust it as needed.

look at your shape

As with any other style of exercise, Mahoney says that watching your form is key. “Engage your core to protect your spine and don’t lock your joints,” she says. If something doesn’t feel right, Leaps says it’s a sign to check her form. A quick Google search can help with that.

start slow

While these resistance band exercises are great for beginners, you should take them slow (and slow) when you’re just starting out. “Start by exercising for 30 minutes three times a week,” says Saltos. “You can slowly build up to 45 to 60 minutes of training over time.”


Make your resistance band workout interesting by experimenting and finding what feels right. “Play with different modalities, like higher reps using lighter bands and lower reps using heavier bands,” says Saltos. “You can also do exercises for time, which is a great way to challenge your muscular endurance.”

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