33 Best Strength Training Exercises You Can Possibly Do With a Resistance Band in 2023 for a Full-body Workout

33 best resistance band exercises for 2023
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Resistance bands are some of the best tools available to exercisers. These nifty bands are easy to transport and store (1). 

Plus, they provide variable resistance throughout the range of motion, which is something that is almost impossible to achieve with any other type of gym equipment.

If you’re looking for a way to get a total body workout with resistance bands, look no further than the following list!

Upper Body Resistance Band Movements

Upper Body Resistance Band Movements

Starting out, let’s look at some of the best ways to tone and strengthen the upper body with bands.

1: Double Bicep Curls in Standing

The biceps are the favorite muscles of many people. After all, there’s nothing like a good front double biceps pose to show off those guns!

How to Perform:

  • Grasp the ends of the band in both hands.
  • Stand with one or both feet in the middle of the band.
  • Next, bend your elbows as you contract your biceps. Slowly lower your hands back down to complete the movement.
  • Repeat for 10-15 reps per set, 3 sets per session.

2: Double Tricep Kickback in Standing

Double Tricep Kickback in Standing

While the biceps may be favored by most people, the triceps are the kind of arm. This three-headed muscle makes up the bulk of the upper arm and it is critical that we keep the triceps strong.

How to Perform:

  • Grasp the handles of the band in each hand. 
  • Steps in the center of the band and kick the other leg back behind you so that you are stable.
  • Bend forward at the waist.
  • Keeping your upper arms in line with your trunk, extend your elbows straight behind you.
  • Slowly return your arms to a bent position to complete the rep.
  • Perform 12-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

3: Single Arm Concentration Curls in Sitting

This exercise is a great variation of the standard biceps curl. Many famous bodybuilders are known for saying that this move promotes a good “peak” in the bicep muscle.

How to Perform:

  • In a seated position, place the band under your left foot, stretch it and place it under your right foot, then wrap it around the right foot and grab the end of the band with your left hand.
  • Place your left elbow on the inside of your left thigh.
  • Perform a bicep curl, pausing at the top of the motion for 3 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, per side, for 3 sets per session. 

4: Triceps Pushdown

This exercise, along with a number of others on this list, will require you to secure the band to a higher, stable structure. 

Be sure that you practice good safety habits during this movement, and don’t use any attachments that may be unstable.

How to Perform:

  • Grasp the band with your elbows bent and your upper arms in line with your torso.
  • Slowly extend your elbows, pushing your hands down toward the ground.
  • Return to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Complete 12-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

5: Standing Bent-Over Rows

The bent-over row is an awesome way to build up the back and biceps. It’s a functional movement that can also build a great aesthetic look.

How to Perform:

  • Stand with both feet or one foot in the middle of the band.
  • Grab the ends of the band as you bend over at your waist.
  • Next, pull the band toward your chest by pulling your shoulder blades together in the back as you simultaneously bend your elbows.
  • Complete 12-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session. 

6: Seated Row

Seated rows are a nice alternative to the bent-over row. They are much more comfortable for many people, especially those who suffer from low back pain.

How to Perform:

  • Sit on the ground with your legs out straight.
  • Wrap the band around one or both feet and grasp both ends of it.
  • Perform a row by squeezing your shoulder blades together and bending your elbows.
  • Return to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session. 

7: Standing Band Horizontal Abduction

This is one of the best exercises for improving posture. With serious postural problems all throughout our world, we need all the help we can get in this area!

How to Perform:

  • In standing, grasp each end of the band (you may need to “choke up” on the band to make this work for you).
  • Raise your arms up to about shoulder height with your elbows straight. 
  • Pull your arms apart in opposite directions, putting stretch through the band. 
  • Return to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

8: Supine Shoulder Extensions

Once again, you’ll need to find a secure attachment point for this exercise. If you can’t find one or don’t have access to one, just skip this move, there are plenty of other good ones listed here for you!

How to Perform:

  • Secure the band to a strong attachment situated a few inches or a few feet off of the ground.
  • Lie on your back, gripping the band with both hands.
  • Perform a “pullover” motion, keeping your elbows straight and pulling the band down toward your hips.
  • Return to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

9: Kneeling or Standing Lat Pulldown

Depending on the height of the attachment you have available, you can perform this in standing or kneeling. Either way, this is a great exercise to strengthen the lats, biceps, and various other upper body muscles.

How to Perform

  • Tie the band to a high, very secure attachment point.
  • Grab the band with both hands.
  • Pull down by lowering your shoulder blades down and back as you bend your elbows.
  • Return to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

10: Banded Press-Ups

Press-ups often referred to as push-ups, are a perfect exercise for the upper body. This movement works the triceps, chest, and many shoulder muscles.

How to Perform:

  • Grab a band and wrap it behind your back, holding one end in each hand.
  • Place your feet on the ground, about hip-width apart as you place your hands on the ground, directly beneath your shoulders and on top of the band.
  • Slowly lower your chest toward the ground then push yourself back up into the starting position.
  • Complete 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

11: Incline Band Bench Press

If you have access to an adjustable bench, you can perform tons of great, unique exercises. The incline bench is perfect for building the upper fibers of the pecs and the front shoulder muscles.

How to Perform:

  • Secure the band to a stable point behind the bench.
  • Grasp one end of the band in each hand.
  • Press forward and upward, then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

12: Flat Band Bench Press

Much like the incline bench press and push-ups, this exercise is awesome for building the pushing muscles of the upper body.

How to Perform:

  • Secure the band below the bench to a stable attachment point.
  • Grab one end of the band in each hand.
  • Press upward toward the ceiling, then return to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

13: Standing Bench Press

This variation on the bench press is nice for novice lifters. By performing the move in standing, you can leverage your body weight to help you press through the band.

How to Perform:

  • Secure the band to a strong attachment point on the wall, preferably at about your chest height.
  • Next, facing away from the wall, grab both ends of the band and assume a staggered stance.
  • Press the band forward, then slowly allow your hands to return to your chest/armpit area.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

14: Band Shoulder Press in Standing

Pressing overhead is one of the best moves for athletes and active individuals. However, even if you aren’t highly active, the shoulder press is a great choice!

How to Perform:

  • Stand with one or both feet in the middle of the band.
  • Grasp each end of the band in your hands.
  • Start with the band at your shoulders, then press toward the ceiling.
  • Return to the starting position to complete the rep. 
  • Perform 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

15: Banded Front Shoulder Raise

This is an awesome exercise for building “boulder shoulders!” Just be sure to ease up on the resistance if you find that you can’t keep good form.

How to Perform:

  • Stand on the band with one or both feet.
  • Grasp each end of the band in your hands.
  • Raise your hands up to roughly shoulder height, keeping your elbows fairly straight.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 12-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

16: Banded Shoulder Abduction in Standing

The deltoids are often referred to as the anatomical shoulder pads. These muscles are functional and aesthetic, so be sure to work them out with moves like this one!

How to Perform:

  • Stand in the middle of the band with one or both feet.
  • Grasp the ends of the band, one in each hand.
  • Keeping your elbows relatively straight, lift your arms up and out to the side until your hands are roughly at shoulder height.
  • Slowly lower back down to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

17: Banded Chin Pulls

Also known as upright rows, the banded chin pull is a somewhat controversial exercise. This move is not appropriate for everyone, so if you have shoulder or neck discomfort while performing this move, be sure to skip it! There are lots of good substitutions.

How to Perform:

  • Stand in the middle of the band with one or both feet.
  • Grab the band with both hands.
  • Pull the band straight up toward your chin, leading with your elbows.
  • Once you’ve reached the top of your range, slowly lower back down to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

18: Bent-over T’s

For shoulder and rotator cuff strengthening, there is nothing better than the alphabet series. A’s, W’s. Y’s, and T’s are all terrific moves for keeping this area strong.

How to Perform:

  • Stand on the band with one or both feet.
  • Grasp each end of the band in your hands.
  • Bend forward at your waist.
  • Pull the band apart by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

Lower Body Resistance Band Moves

Now, onto the lower body: our main source of power and strength for daily activities. While many people neglect the legs, this is a huge mistake. Keeping the legs strong is one of the best ways to stay healthy and independent into old age. 

19: Banded Squats

Bodyweight squats, on their own, are the perfect lower-body exercise. By completing this exercise with extra band resistance, you can really build up those leg muscles.

How to Perform:

  • Stand in the middle of the band with both feet.
  • Pull the band up and wrap it around the back of your shoulders, holding each end at shoulder height.
  • Sit down as low as you can, then stand back up to complete the squat.
  • Complete 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

20: Quad Kick Outs

This exercise will require the use of a chair or a stable sitting surface. By performing quad kick outs, you’ll improve the strength of this key area in your lower body.

How to Perform:

  • In seated, tie one end of the band to a chair leg.
  • Loop the other end of the band around your right ankle.
  • Kick your right leg out in front of you, extending your knee.
  • Return your leg to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per leg, per set, for 3 sets per session.

21: Hamstring Curls in Prone

The hamstrings are an oft-neglected muscle in the body. However, many of us will suffer a hamstring strain throughout our lives. Luckily, one of the best ways to avoid hamstring strains is to keep these muscles strong.

How to Perform:

  • Secure the band to a stable attachment point located a few inches to a few feet above the ground.
  • Lie on your stomach, either on a bench or on the floor.
  • Loop the band around both of your ankles.
  • Bend your knees, attempting to bring your heels to your buttocks.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

22: Supine Bridges

Bridges are a wonderful exercise choice for those looking to increase glute strength and stability. 

The glutes are one of the most important muscles for keeping our posture perfect. So be sure to keep them strong!

How to Perform:

  • Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
  • Loop the band around your thighs, just above your knees.
  • Push down into the ground in order to lift your hips up toward the ceiling.
  • Slowly lower back down to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

23: Standing Hip Adduction

Adduction is a movement that is rarely performed by exercisers. While it’s not always necessary to perform specific strengthening for this area, it can be helpful for those with hip pain and dysfunction. Plus, it never hurts to do a little extra exercise!

How to Perform:

  • Secure the band to a stable attachment point a few inches off of the ground, if possible.
  • Loop the other end around your right ankle, with your right side being closer to the wall where the band is attached.
  • Pull your leg across your body as far as you can, then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

24: Supine or Sidelying Clamshells

Clamshells, much like bridges, are great for building up the glutes. You can easily perform this exercise supine, side-lying, or even sitting, as you’ll see later.

How to Perform:

  • Lie on your back (or on your side) with the band looped around your thighs, just above your knees.
  • Rotate your legs out to the sides (or your top leg, if you’re performing the side-lying version), putting tension through the band.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-15 reps, for 3 sets per session.

25: Seated Calf Contractions

Many people suffer from foot pain and chronic ankle problems. Fortunately, by performing a few key exercises, one of them being calf contractions, you can keep your ankles and feet pain-free!

How to Perform:

  • Sit on the floor with your feet out in front of you and your knees straight.
  • Loop the band around the ball of your right foot and hold the band with one or both hands.
  • Press down like a gas pedal against the band.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, per side, for 3 sets per session.

26: Banded Side Steps

This is a functional exercise which is a great way to incorporate some coordination along with your strengthening. Plus, you can easily modify it to make it harder or easier by changing your squat depth and step length.

How to Perform:

  • In standing wrap the band around your ankles.
  • Squat down slightly, then take small, controlled steps in one direction.
  • After you’ve taken roughly 15 steps, reverse directions to come back to the starting point.
  • Complete 3 sets per session.

27: Standing Lateral Hip Kickouts

Lateral hip kickouts are a complementary exercise for hip adduction. This move works the muscles located on the outside of the hips and it is helpful for many cases of back and hip pain.

How to Perform

  1. In standing, loop the band around both of your ankles.
  2. Next, kick your right leg out to the side (you may need to hold on to a stable surface for support).
  3. Return your right leg to the starting position. Complete 10-12 reps per side, per set, for 3 sets per session.

28: Seated Clamshells

Much like the supine and side-lying clamshells, described above, the seated clamshells are great for hip and low back stability.

How to Perform:

  • In a seated position, wrap the band around your thighs, just above your knees.
  • Rotate your hips outwardly, then allow them to slowly rotate back inward.
  • Complete 10-20 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

Ab and Core Resistance Band Moves

Last but not least, let’s talk core!

29: Crunches on Knees

If you’ve never done this movement before, take caution. It can be difficult to manage all of the different components of this exercise, but over time, you’ll get it!

How to Perform:

  • Secure the band to a high, stable attachment point.
  • From a kneeling position, grasp the band with both hands.
  • Keeping your hands near your head, perform a crunch, bending at your waist.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

30: Chops in Standing

Chops and lifts are two super exercises for working the obliques and other areas of the core. Using bands, you’ll be able to truly harness the power of this movement.

How to Perform:

  • Secure the band to a stable attachment that is slightly higher than your height.
  • Facing sideways, grab the band with both hands.
  • Twisting from your trunk, perform a “chopping” motion.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per side, per session.

31: Lateral Band Walks with Anti-Rotation

Anti-rotation exercises have gained fame over the past decade and they have been touted as “the best core exercises”. While that distinction may be up for debate, they certainly do help to strengthen these muscles.

How to Perform:

  • Secure a band to a stable attachment point at roughly chest height.
  • Facing sideways, grab the band with both hands and push your hands straight out in front of you, keeping your arms straight.
  • Bend your knees slightly and sidestep away from the wall, all the while keeping your arms straight and tension on the band.
  • Then, slowly sidestep back toward the wall.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

32: Banded Reverse Crunch

Reverse crunches are a great abdominal exercise. When combined with band resistance, your abs will be screaming.

How to Perform

  • Secure the band to a strong attachment point, located a few inches off of the ground.
  • Loop the band around your feet and lie down, with your feet facing the attachment point.
  • Pull your knees toward your chest and lift your back off of the ground. Then, reverse the motion.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

33: Banded Oblique Twist

Oblique twists are an essential abdominal movement. This exercise became famous from the Rocky movies, and with good reason!

How to Perform:

  • Sit on the ground with the band looped around your feet and your hands holding the other end.
  • Keep your hands close to your trunk and twist all the way to the right, then twist all the way to the left.
  • Complete 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

Conclusion

Now, you may be wondering, how do I put a workout together with all of these exercises? Well, I’d recommend that you perform 3 resistance training sessions per week. 

So, one easy way to go about incorporating these moves is to pick 11, and perform them on Monday. Then do the same on Wednesday and Friday with different moves from the list.

Try it out for a month and see what you think!

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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