Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners - Sample Workout Programs

Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners

Resistance band training provides an ideal entry point into the resistance exercise arena. Training with a band will not only allow you to get a challenging workout in, but it will allow you to do so cost effectively and on the go. With just your band and your body, you’ll never be too far from the gym.

While resistance band training is a fantastic transitional tool for those who are new to resistance exercise, it also has a key role in the training mix of intermediate and advanced trainers. In this article, we’ll step you through a series of resistance band training regimes designed for beginners.

Resistance Band Basics

Grip

Depending on the exercise you are performing there are a variety of hand grips when using resistance tube bands.

Underhand Grip

For exercises where you are curling or rowing the band towards your body, such as band curls, use an underhand grip. Fully enclose your fingers around the handle grip.

Hammer Grip

Some exercises call for a palms facing each other grip, otherwise known as a hammer grip.

Overhand Grip

The overhand grip is used for exercises which involve pushing the band away from you body (with the aid of a fixed station) or those that have you pulling the resistance toward you.

Double Handed Grip

Some exercises call for you to grip both handles together with the band looped around a fixed object.

Body Position

Body Position

It is important to have your body firmly set when performing your resistance band workout. When performing standing movements your feet should be shoulder width apart, with toes pointing slightly outward.

You should always have a slightly arched back and tight core. Do not give in to the tendency to round your back when the resistance becomes challenging.

A key principle of resistance training is isolation of the working muscle group. When you are training your biceps, you want it to be doing the bulk of the work. If you use your back by swinging the hips or otherwise utilising momentum to get the resistance up, you will be vastly diminishing the effect of the exercise.

THE EXERCISES

Read our review of Best Resistance Bands available in market.

Safety Considerations

Always inspect your resistance band for wear, rips or holes. Do not use a band that is impaired in this way. If you are placing the band around a tree limb, pole or any other fixed structure, always check the object to make sure that there are no nails, sharp edges or shards of glass that could rip the band.

If an exercise calls for you to place the handles of the band over your feet, make sure that they are securely inserted beyond the forefoot so that they are your mid-foot level.

If the exercise calls for you to use the door attachment accessory that may come with your resistance band system, make sure that it is securely fitted. If possible lock the door while you are using it. If this is not possible make sure that everyone knows not to come through it!

​ABDOMINAL EXERCISES

Oblique Overhead Extension

Oblique Overhead Extension Bands
  • Attach the resistance band to a door frame. Stand six feet away from the door frame and grab the handles with double handed grip. Extend your arms overhead and maintain a light bend in your knees.
  • In a controlled movement, bend to the right to feel the stretch through your oblique muscles. Hold for a 2 count.
  • Return to the start position.

Standing Twists

Standing Twists Resistance Bands

  • Attach the resistance band to a door frame. Stand six feet away from the door frame and grab the handles with double handed grip. Extend your arms out in front of your chest.
  • Keeping your arms straight, pull your arms across and to the right. The handles should be moving towards your right hip.
  • Return to the start position.

Torso Twists

torso twists

  • Attach the resistance band to a door frame. Stand six feet away from the door frame and grab the handles with a hammer grip. Hold the band at waist level, with your elbows at your side.
  • Turn your upper body to the right, keeping your legs firmly planted ahead. Pull the bands toward your right side.
  • Return to the start position.

Oblique Crunch

oblique crunch

  • Attach the resistance band to a door frame. Kneel alongside the doorframe, holding both handles in one hand.
  • Crunch down to the right, tensing the obliques and intercostals. Keep your back straight and shoulder back.
  • Return to the start position.

​ARM EXERCISES

Squat Curl

squat curl resistance bands

  • Stand with the band under your feet, which are about a foot apart. Bend down into a half squat position, resting your elbows on your knees.
  • Pull the handles toward your chest. Squeeze tightly in the top position to feel the contraction in your biceps.
  • Return to the start position.

Seated Bicep Pull-down

Seated Bicep Pull down

  • Attach the resistance band to a door frame. Kneel alongside the doorframe, grasping the handles with an underhand grip.
  • Bend your elbows to bring the handles toward your chest. There should be no movement through the upper torso. Squeeze the biceps at the fully contracted position.
  • Return to the start position.

Bicep Curls

bicep curls

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and the resistance band under your mid feet (wear shoes).Hold the handles in an underhand grip at waist level.
  • Bend at the elbows to curl the handles up to your chest. Keep your elbows in at the sides and forcefully contract your biceps in the top position.
  • Return to the start position.

Reverse Curls

Reverse Curls Resistance Bands

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and the resistance band under your mid feet (wear shoes).Hold the handles in an overhand grip at waist level.
  • Bend at the elbows to curl the handles up to your chest. Keep your elbows in at the sides and forcefully contract your forearms in the top position.
  • Return to the start position.

Lunge Triceps Extension

Lunge Triceps Extension

  • Attach the resistance band to a door-frame. Stand 3 feet away from the door-frame facing away from it. Hold the handles in underhand grip with your arms above your head. Keep your elbows in at the sides of your head throughout the movement.
  • Straighten your arms to extend them at a 30 degree angle. Feel for a deep contraction in the triceps in the fully extended position.
  • Return to the start position, keeping the elbows in at the side of the head.

Triceps Double Overhead Extensions

Triceps Double Overhead Extensions

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and the resistance band under your mid feet (wear shoes). Hold the handles with palms facing the ceiling and elbows bent alongside your ears.
  • Keeping the elbows in at the sides of your head, straighten your arms to extend your triceps.
  • Return to the start position, keeping the elbows in to force the triceps to do all the work.

Triceps Extensions

Triceps Extensions Resistance bands

  • Attach the resistance band to a door-frame. Stand 3 feet away from the door-frame facing away from it. Hold the handles in underhand grip with your arms in front of your face. Keep your elbows in at the sides of your head throughout the movement.
  • Straighten your arms to extend them forward, keeping the elbows in (imagine that you are holding a basketball between your elbows).
  • Return to the start position.

SHOULDER EXERCISES

Standing Shoulder Press

Standing Shoulder Press

  • Stand with the resistance band under your feet, which are shoulder width apart. Hold the handles with an overhand grip and raise the handles to shoulder width, palms facing away from your body.
  • Simultaneously press the bands overhead to touch in the top position. Your arms should move in a slightly arcing position.
  • Slowly return to the start position.

Upright Rowing

Upright Rowing

  • Stand with the resistance band under your feet, which are shoulder width apart. Hold the handles with an overhand grip, with your arms hanging at your sides. Your palms should be facing your body.
  • Pull the handles up to your chin to bring your elbows high and out to the sides. Feel the contraction in your trapezius and rhomboid muscles in the top position.
  • Slowly return to the start position.

Lateral Raises

lateral raises with bands

  • Stand with one foot in front of the other as if you were about to go into a lunge. Place the band under your front foot, holding the handles with an overhand grip. Your arms should be slightly bent and at your sides.
  • Move from the shoulder joint (don’t straighten your arms) to move the handles out to the sides, laterally away from the center of your body as far as shoulder height.
  • Hold the top position for a two second count before slowly returning to the start position.

Front Raises

front raises

  • Stand with one foot in front of the other as if you were about to go into a lunge. Place the band under your front foot, holding the handles with an overhand grip. Your arms should be straight at your sides.
  • Raise your arms directly up and forward, away from your torso until they are parallel with the floor. Do not bend your arms.
  • Hold the top position for a two second count before slowly returning to the start position.

BACK EXERCISES

Lat Rowing

lat rowing exercise

  • Attach the resistance band to a door-frame. Stand 6 feet away from the door-frame facing towards it. Grasp the handles with your arms fully extended in front of you.
  • Row your arms back towards your ribs. Fully contract your upper back muscles, pulling with the last rather than the biceps.
  • Slowly return to the start position.

Bent Over Rowing

bent over rowing resistance band

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and the resistance band under your mid feet (wear shoes). Bend your knees so that you are in a quarter squat position. Make sure that your back is arched rather than rounded. Your arms should be hanging at your sides, with the handles in your hands in an overhand grip.
  • Row the handles toward your ribs, using your lats to initiate the movement. Do not move the position of your torso. Fully contract the lats in the top position.
  • Slowly return to the start position.

Seated Rowing

seated rowing resistance bands

  • Place the band around a fixed structure about 4 feet from the floor. Sit six feet in front of the structure, facing it with knees slightly bent. Grasp the handles in a hammer grip with your arms fully extended.
  • Pull the handles towards your chest, focusing on pulling through the lats. Forcefully squeeze your upper back muscles in the fully contracted position.
  • Slowly return to the start position.

Reverse Flyes

reverse flies bands

  • Attach the resistance band to a door-frame. Stand 6 feet away from the door-frame facing towards it with your knees slightly bent. Grasp the handles with your arms fully extended in front of you.
  • Keeping your arms straight, pull laterally away from the center line of your body. Hold the fully extended position for a count of two, feeling the contraction in your mid back.
  • Slowly return to the start position.

CHEST EXERCISES

Band Flyes

band flyes

  • Attach the resistance band to a door-frame. Stand 6 feet away from the door-frame facing away from it with your knees slightly bent. Position one foot slightly in front of the other. Grasp the handles with your arms extended to the sides in a crucifix position. Your elbows should be slightly bent.
  • Keeping your arms lock in a slightly bent position, move from the shoulder joint to bring the handles together at your mid-chest. Forcefully contract the pectoral muscles in this position.
  • Slowly return to the start position.

Band Chest Press

chest press with resistance bands

  • Attach the resistance band to a door-frame. Stand 6 feet away from the door-frame facing away from it with your knees slightly bent. Position one foot slightly in front of the other. Grasp the handles in an overhand position and place your hands at shoulder level.
  • Press the handles forward, bringing them together to meet in line with your chest. Forcefully contract the pectoral muscles.
  • Slowly return to the start position.

Band Push Ups

resistance band push ups

  • Set yourself on the ground, face down with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Your feet should be touching. Hold the resistance band handles in your hands with the band traveling across your upper back.
  • Keeping your body in a straight line, rise up so that your arms are fully extended. Tense your buttocks and tighten your abs to prevent your butt from lifting you into a ‘v’ position. Look straight ahead rather than down.
  • Now steadily lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. When your chest touches the floor, explode back up to the start position.

THIGH EXERCISES

Band Squats

band squats

  • Take a wide stance with your feet arched slightly outwards. Place the resistance band under your feet and hold the handles at shoulder level with palms facing outward. Make sure that your back is slightly arched and that you are looking up.
  • Squat down until your hamstrings are slightly below parallel to the floor.
  • Drive back to the start position, pushing through the heels and focusing the center of your power on your thighs.

Lateral Leg Extensions

lateral leg extension

  • Take a wide stance with your feet arched slightly outwards. Place the resistance band under your feet and hold the handles with a double-handed grip in front of you. Make sure that your back is slightly arched and that you are looking up.
  • Place your full weight on your left leg and raise your right leg up and out laterally as high as you can. Do not bend the knee.
  • Hold the fully contracted position for a second before lower and repeating.

Resistance Band Lunges

resistance band lunges

  • Attach the resistance band to a door frame. Stand six feet away from the door frame, facing away from it. Grab the handles with an overhand grip. Hold the handles at shoulder level.
  • Assume a lunge position by taking an exaggerated step to bring your front thigh parallel to the floor. Your rear knee should just about touch the ground.
  • Use the power of your rear thigh to push yourself back up to the start position.

Band Deadlift

Band Deadlift


  • Take a wide stance with your feet straight ahead. Place the resistance band under your feet and hold the handles at waist level level with palms facing inward. Make sure that your back is slightly arched and that you are looking up.
  • Bend your knees and descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push back to the start position by flexing your hamstring muscles. Keep your arms locked out throughout the movement.

SAMPLE WORKOUT PROGRAMS

Monday

  • Band Squats 3 x 15
  • Resistance Band Lunges 2 x 12 (each leg)
  • Standing Shoulder Press 3 x 15
  • Upright Row 2 x 12
  • Front Raises 2 x 15
  • Oblique Overhead Extension 2 x 15

Wednesday

  • Band Chest Press 3 x 15
  • Band Flys 3 x 12
  • Band Push Ups 3 x as many as possible
  • Triceps Double Overhead Extensions 3 x 12
  • Triceps Extensions 3 x 12
  • Oblique Crunch 2 x 15

Friday

  • Deadlift 3 x 15
  • Bent Over Rowing 3 x 12
  • Lat Rowing 2 x 12
  • Biceps Curl 3 x 12
  • Seated Bicep Pulldown 2 x 12
  • Standing Twists 2 x 15
Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners
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  • Jim
  • November 7, 2018
Jim
 

My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.

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