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Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do At Home

Resistance bands are a great alternative to weights or even a great addition to a traditional weight training program. They're inexpensive, versatile, and work your muscles in a completely different way than weights.

Too much or too little?

Bands are often misused in one of two ways: Too much resistance and too little resistance. 

A band that does not provide enough resistance can cause an individual to overstretch the band and may lead to the band breaking. Bands should never be stretched to more than 2.5 times their length. 

A band provides resistance in both directions and must be controlled as it is stretched and returned from an extended position. A band with too much resistance is typically not controlled well. This leads to the intended muscles not being targeted as assisting muscles are engaged to overcome the resistance from the band.

Choosing the right resistance bands for you

Most bands are colour-coded according to tension level (e.g., light, medium, heavy, very heavy). It's best to have at least three since different muscle groups will require different levels of resistance

There are a wide variety of bands available:

  • Power Bands or 'Loop Bands'
  • Tube Resistance Bands with Handles
  • Mini Bands
  • Therapy Resistance Bands

If you're just getting started, stick with your loop bands or basic long tube with handles. Once you figure out how to use it, you may want to buy other types later for variety. 

Band Safety

Do not use a band that has been compromised. A band with tears or holes should no longer be used. Care must also be taken to ensure the bands do not slip from their attachments. For example, before loading a band with tension, double-check that it will not slip out from under your feet, or away from the door frame.

Resistance Band Push-Ups

Targets: Chest, abs, shoulders, triceps

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

How: Place the band behind your back at the level of your shoulder blades. Grasp a handle on each side with the right and left hand. The band will give you additional resistance on the “up” part of the push and will force you to control the added resistance on the “down” part.

Resistance Band Push-ups Exercise


Resistance Band Seated Rows

Targets: Lower back, biceps, shoulders

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

How: Sit on the ground with your legs straight and out to the front. Place a resistance band around the middle of your feet and grasp a handle with each side. Perform a seated row motion by driving your elbows back. Maintain your back tall, and pause for 2-3 seconds while squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Resistance Band Seated Rows Exercise


Resistance Band Dead Lifts

Targets: Glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings, lower back

Level: Intermediate

How: Step on the band. Reach down and grab the handles near the ground. Stand up as if performing a deadlift while getting resistance from the bands as you raise up.

Resistance Band Dead Lifts Exercise


Resistance Band Seated Shoulder Press 

Targets: Shoulders and abs

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

How: Sit on a bench with a resistance band secured under your feet. Take one end in each hand and, sitting up straight, bring the ends of the band to shoulder height. Press the hands overhead with palms facing forward, and lower in a controlled fashion to the start position.

Resistance Band Seated Shoulder Press Exercise


Resistance Band Side Raises

Targets: Shoulders, abs

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

How: Stand on the band. Grasp a handle and lift your arm out to the side until it comes to shoulder height. You can perform this exercise with both arms simultaneously, or one at a time.

Resistance Band Sire Raises Exercise


Resistance Band Lat Pull Downs

Targets: Lower back, middle back, lats

Level: Beginner

How: Attach one end of the band above your head at about the height of your extended arm. Face the attachment, grasp the handle with one hand and kneel down. Keep your chest tall, perform the exercise as a modified row/lat pull down. Focus on bringing your elbow back and pause as you squeeze your mid-back muscles.

Resistance Band Lat Pull Downs Exercise


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