Want to Age Well? Bulletproof Your Body With These 10 Resistance Band Exercises, Says a PT

Resistance band exercises for strength
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Many people think that strength training is a young man’s game. However, this could not be further from the truth. 

Strength training is for everyone, of any age, gender, or demographic category.

Resistance training exercises increase bone stability, and muscle strength, and help to improve many different areas of health. 

Best of all, staying strong throughout life decreases the risk of suffering a fall or injury as one gets older.

There are many different tools you can use to increase strength at home. But one of the most versatile options is the humble resistance band. This incredible implement can be used anywhere. 

Plus, resistance bands put very little stress through the joints and they emphasize muscle strength at key points in the range of motion.

10 Best Resistance Band Exercises to Age-Proof Your Body

10 Best Resistance Band Exercises to Age-Proof Your Body

Let’s take a look at the 10 best resistance training exercises using bands!

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1. Banded Bridges

Banded Bridges

Bridges are terrific for building glute strength, improving posture, and decreasing back pain. 

This exercise is a staple of many yoga classes, and for good reason. Adding a band to your bridges activates your glutes even more, and provides a serious burn during your leg workout!

How to Perform

  • Loop the band around your thighs, just above your knees.
  • Lie flat on your back, with your feet flat and your knees bent to about 90 degrees.
  • Press your feet into the floor, lifting your hips and low back off of the ground.
  • Rise up as high as you can, putting tension through the band at the same time.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 3 sessions per week.

2. Band Side Steps

Band Side Steps
Image Credit // Workoutlabs.com

Side steps, slides, and lateral walks are all different terms that relate to the same exercise. This move can give you a great workout without bands, but the extra resistance really takes this exercise to the next level.

How to Perform

  • Loop the band around your thighs, just above the knee, OR around your ankles. The ankle version tends to be more difficult, so consider yourself warned!
  • In standing, bend your knees slightly.
  • Next, take a big step to your right with your right foot.
  • Take a small step with your left leg toward the right to move your body in this rightward direction.
  • Continue to step in this pattern for 10 steps, then return to the starting spot by stepping to your left.
  • Complete 3 laps per set, 3 sets per session, 3 times per week.

3. Standing Band Pull Aparts

Standing Band Pull Aparts

Despite the name, you don’t have to perform this exercise in standing. However, standing during any exercise will increase caloric expenditure. 

Also, standing adds a balance component, which is always a good thing in terms of reducing fall risk and increasing stability overall.

This exercise is particularly useful for older individuals, as it can lead to better posture and decreased rounding in the shoulders.

How to Perform

  • Grasp the band with both hands, with your elbows straight and your arms reached straight out in front of you.
  • Without allowing your arms to fall down at all, pull on the band, separating your hands.
  • Hold the contraction for 5 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Complete 12-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session, for 3 sessions per week.

4. Modified Push Press

The push press is one of the best total-body exercises there is. This movement works tons of muscles in the legs and arms. Plus, it’s a functional movement that can improve ADL performance.

How to Perform

  • Using a long band (preferably with handles), grab one end of the band in each hand and stand on the middle of the band with both feet.
  • Next, keeping your hands near your shoulders, squat down as low as you can.
  • As you rise back up from the squat, press your hands overhead, performing the “press” portion of the movement.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 3 sessions per week.

5. Bent-Over Rows

Bent-Over Rows

Bent-over rows are one of the most widely used exercises in existence. Regardless of whether you’re using bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, or something else entirely; this movement gives you a great pump!

How to Perform

  • Grasp the handles or the ends of the band in each hand.
  • Next, step on the middle of the band with one foot.
  • Step your other foot back so that you are in a modified lunge position and bend forward at your waist.
  • Then, pull the handles toward your chest, keeping your shoulders from hiking upward.
  • Return your hands to the starting position and repeat this motion for 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session, for 3 sessions per week.

6. Band Chest Press

Band Chest Press

Depending on a number of factors, you may elect to perform this exercise standing, sitting, or even lying on your back. 

For our purposes, I’ll describe the exercise in standing. Regardless of what position you assume, you can be certain that you’ll get an awesome workout with this exercise.

How to Perform

  • In standing, grasp the handles or the ends of the band in each hand.
  • Place one foot slightly in front of the other for balance purposes.
  • Next, press the handles forward, as if you are pushing something away from you.
  • Slowly return the handles to the starting position. 
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 3 sessions per week.

7. Lateral Raises

Lateral Raises
Image credit // workoutlabs.com

By completing lateral raises regularly, you will slowly but surely build up your shoulder muscles. This movement gives you “boulder shoulders” as it is one of the best ways to improve your deltoid strength and size.

How to Perform

  • Hold one handle or one end of the band in each hand.
  • Stand on the band with one or both feet.
  • Next, lift both arms up and out to the side.
  • Once you’ve lifted your arms to about 90 degrees, slowly return them to the starting position. 
  • Complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps per set, 3 times per week.

8. Biceps Curls

Biceps Curls

The biceps are one of the most-loved muscles of the upper body. Many people love working biceps for one simple reason: they’re fun to show off!

That being said, the biceps are also useful in daily life, especially for tasks involving lifting up objects.

How to Perform

  • Grasp one handle or one end of the band in each hand.
  • Stand in the middle of the band with one or both feet.
  • Slowly bend your elbows as you curl the band upward.
  • Then, return to the starting position to complete the rep. 
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps per set, 3 times per week.

Chops

Chops and lifts are two classic physical therapy exercises. These movements utilize a diagonal angle in order to work tons of muscles throughout the whole body. 

Using a band during this exercise makes it particularly difficult, but even more beneficial than using a simple weight!

How to Perform

  • Grasp both ends of the band in one of both hands, with your hands close together.
  • Place the middle of the band under your left foot.
  • Raise the band up in a diagonal, rightward direction, pivoting your feet at the same time.
  • Slowly return to the starting position. 
  • Complete 10-12 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 3 sessions per week.

Banded Reverse Sit Ups

Reverse sit-ups are a killer for the abs. When you add a band into the mix, you will truly notice a difference in intensity.

How to Perform

  • Lie on your back, near a wall with a firm anchoring point.
  • Secure one end of the band to the anchor and one end to your feet. 
  • Roll back onto your upper back and/or shoulders, lifting your feet, hips, and low back off of the ground.
  • Slowly return back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps per set, 3 times each week.

The Takeaway

Resistance bands are portable, affordable, and incredibly effective for exercisers of all demographics. 

If you are looking for an easy way to get a great workout at home, grab yourself some resistance bands and give the above routine a try!

Works Cited

  1. Lopes, J. S. S., Machado, A. F., Micheletti, J. K., de Almeida, A. C., Cavina, A. P., & Pastre, C. M. (2019). Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis. SAGE open medicine7, 2050312119831116. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050312119831116

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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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