Resistance Bands Workouts

Resistance bands workouts should be designed according to the same strength training principles used for designing training programs with any other form of resistance including barbells.  They should be brief, hard and infrequent with precision technique to efficiently load the target muscles with a minimum of external resistance. 

Key Elements and Equipment for Resistance Bands Workouts

Basic resistance bands workouts can include 1 set of each of the following:

1 squatting movement

1 hamstring movement 

1 calf movement

1 multi-joint upper body vertical pulling movement

1 multi-joint upper body vertical pushing movement

1 multi-joint upper body horizontal pulling movement

1 multi-joint upper body horizontal pushing movement

1 single-joint elbow extension (tricep) movement (optional)

1 single-joint elbow flexion (bicep) movement (optional)

If you are unfamiliar with the fact that it is rarely necessary to perform more than one set of an exercise, please take time to read my evidence-based strength training guidelines.  If you perform an exercise properly, you will not only not need but also will not want to perform multiple sets. 

No training program is complete without proper training of the hips and thighs. I show how to perform squats and other leg exercises with resistance bands in videos in this article

As for equipment, to perform the programs I describe in this article you will need high quality resistance bands.  I recommend Bodylastics stackable bands and Serious Steel loop bands.  

You do not need all of these to perform the programs below.  Each program notes the bands you can use for each exercise.  I label each exercise with B, L, LH, or X depending on whether it can be performed with Bodylastics (B), loop band, or loop band with handles (LH).

If you want to use 41” loop bands such as the Serious Steel bands for deadlifts, overhead presses, bent over rows, and upper arm exercises, I recommend you obtain a pair of these Garage Fit handles.  You need these in order to be able to hold on to the loop bands properly and comfortably.  Without them, the band will exert forces on your hands and wrists that are likely to cause injury, especially in heavy pulling exercises like deadlifts and rowing.

Minimalist Full Body Resistance Bands Workouts

I recommend most people start with a minimalist full body resistance bands workout.   Minimalist full body resistance bands workouts consist of:

1 multi-joint hip and thigh movement (squat or deadlift)

1 hamstring (with squats) or quadriceps (with deadlift) movement

1 multi-joint upper body pulling movement

1 multi-joint upper body pushing movement

1 upper arm movement

For example, the following two resistance bands workouts would cover the whole body:

Session A

Split squat (B or L)

Leg curl (B) or deadlift (LH)

Inverted or bent over rowing (B, LH)

Push up (B, L to add resistance)

Elbow flexion (bicep curl) (B, LH)

Session B

Front squat (L)

Leg curl (B) or back arch up (bodyweight)

Overhead press (B, LH)

Supinated grip pull ups or band pull down (B)

Standing overhead elbow extension (triceps) (B, LH)

Front squat with X3 Bar.

You can use bands to either assist or add resistance to the pull ups.  You could alternate these every other training day, either 2 or 3 times weekly.  

Push-Pull Minimalist Resistance Bands Workouts

Another option is a push-pull split, as follows:

Session A

Front squat or split squat (L) 

Push up (B or L to add resistance when needed) or chest press (LH)

Overhead press (B, LH)

Overhead elbow extension (B, LH)

Session B

Deadlift (LH) or leg curl (Bodylastics)

Chin ups (with band assistance or resistance) or rowing (inverted bodyweight, B, LH)

Elbow flexion (bicep curl) (B, LH)

Rise on toes (L, LH)

With this split you can train thrice weekly on non-consecutive days (e.g. Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and alternate routines A and B, as follows: 

Day 1: A

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: B

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: A

Days 6 & 7: Rest

Day 8: B

Day 9: Rest

Day 10: A

Day 11: Rest

Day 12: B

Days 13 & 14:  Rest

And so on.  

Upper-Lower Minimalist Resistance Bands Workouts

You can also perform an upper-lower split routine.  For example:

Session A

Split squat (B, L)

Leg curl (B)

Front squat (L) 

Rise on toes (LH)

Session B

Chin ups (with band assistance or resistance) or supinated grip band pulldown (B)

Push ups (with B or L band resistance) or chest press (LH)

Rowing (Inverted on rings or bar, B, LH)

Overhead press (B, LH)

Elbow flexion (biceps curl) (B, LH)

Elbow extension (triceps) (B, LH)

You would alternate these on a thrice weekly schedule, as follows:

Day 1: A

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: B

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: A

Days 6 & 7: Rest

Day 8: B

Day 9: Rest

Day 10: A

Day 11: Rest

Day 12: B

Days 13 & 14:  Rest

And so on.  Alternatively just perform each session once weekly, separating the sessions by two or three rest days.  For example, do session A on Monday and B on Thursday or Friday, all other days being rest days. 

', status : true, // check login status cookie : true, // enable cookies to allow the server to access the session xfbml : true, // parse XFBML channelUrl : 'http://www.fullrangestrength.com/fb/channel.html', // Custom Channel URL version: 'v3.1', oauth : true //enables OAuth 2.0 }); }; SS_PARAMS.ssFBLang = 'en_US';