Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Resistance Band Workouts: Build Muscle Without Heavy Weights!

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

resistance band workouts

Resistance band workouts are one of the many tools that can be used to help you tone your muscles and increase lean body mass.

Resistance bands are one of the most versatile, affordable, and convenient pieces of exercise equipment that every woman can use to improve their strength and fitness.

Not only can resistance bands be used for strength sessions, but they can also be incorporated into cardio workouts.

And even for women that normally use free weights, resistance bands are a great way to add variety to your workouts and target your muscles from all angles.

A lot of women think that resistance bands are great for toning muscles, and not so much for actually building muscle mass.

While it is definitely true that resistance bands are an excellent tool for getting great muscle tone, even without heavy weights, you can still add muscle mass with increased reps and higher tension resistance bands.

It all depends on what your fitness goals are.

Studies have found that exercises with resistance bands are a great training stimulus for muscle activation.

Plus, according to a study from The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, you can even obtain similar muscle strength gains when working out with resistance bands as compared to free weight exercises.

The key is to target your muscles to generate enough fatigue to stimulate growth.

Ready to get started with resistance band workouts?

Short on time? Try this quick workout for busy moms!

Change the Tension To Challenge Your Muscles

Since you can easily adjust the tension with resistance bands and change the position that you hold the bands, you can target your muscles from all different angles.

For example, to create more tension you can choose a heavier band, or grip the band further down to make the exercises harder.

In addition, the tension changes as you perform each exercise, which allows you to target your muscles differently and really work the smaller stabilizing muscles.

During concentric exercise, the tension is actually increased as you get to the end of the movement.

Then, as you slowly lower during the eccentric phase, your muscles will still work against this tension throughout the entirety of the movement.

The other great thing about resistance bands is that you can get a workout from just about anywhere.

Resistance bands are much more portable than dumbbells, which means you can work out from home or even take bands with you when you travel.

That means you never have an excuse not to get in a killer strength training workout, even if you can’t hit the gym.

Full-Body Resistance Band Workouts For Women

You can challenge your muscles with a number of different resistance band exercises.

If you are new to these workouts, start out with lighter bands and simpler moves.

Then progressively work your way up to higher intensity workouts.

You can choose resistance bands with handles or looped resistance bands for these exercises.

As with any resistance workout, you should always start with a short warm-up to get your body ready for the workout ahead.

This will help you avoid injury and will improve your performance in the workouts.

Start with an easy 5-10 minutes of light cardio, followed by dynamic stretching that targets both the upper and lower body.

This full-body resistance band workout will help you stay fit at home!

Dynamic Stretching Prior to Resistance Band Workout

Arm Circles

  • Hold your arms out to the sides at shoulder height.
  • Make small circles forward for 10 reps, then backward for 10 reps.
  • Repeat with larger circles.

Arm Cross-Overs

  • Stand with your arms outstretched to the sides and parallel to the floor.
  • Move your arms across the center of your chest and let them criss-cross each other.
  • Steadily move them back out and repeat, but this time cross them with the opposite arm on top.
  • Continue this for 10-20 reps.

Inchworm

  • Start on your hands and feet with your hips in the air in an inverted V position.
  • Then walk your feet as far forward as possible while keeping your legs straight.
  • Then, walk your hands out, extending your body into a plank position.
  • Then raise your hips up again into an inverted V and repeat 5 times.

Leg Swings

  • Swing your right leg in front of you, then behind you, like a pendulum.
  • Repeat for 10 to 12 reps, then switch to the left side.

Here are 10 stretches that you should be doing every day!

Beginner Resistance Band Workouts

If you are new to using resistance bands, begin with some basic moves.

Use a light band to start to be sure you are using the proper form.

If you find this is too easy, just move up to a band with a higher level of tension.

Try to go through each move with minimal rest so that you can get the benefit of a strength workout as well as cardiovascular fitness.

For each move, aim to complete 8-12 reps, then go on to the next move.

Once you finish the circuit, rest for 2-3 minutes.

Then repeat two more times for a total of three cycles.

Front Raise

  • Loop a resistance band under your feet and hold one end in each hand.
  • Raise your arms straight in front of you until they’re parallel to the floor, right around shoulder height.
  • Pause briefly at the top, then lower back down.

Front Pull Aparts

  • Grab a light band and start with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
  • Raise your arms up straight out in front of you at chest level and pull the band apart as you draw your shoulder blades together.
  • If you find that you have to bend your arms at the elbow, choose a lighter band so that you can keep your arms straight throughout the movement.

Standing Bicep Curls

  • Stand on top of the resistance band while holding an end in each hand.
  • Curl the bands up while keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Pause at the top of the move, then slowly lower the bands back down.

Side Step with Squat

  • Loop a resistance band around your thighs just above your knees with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step to the right with your right foot as you come down into a squat.
  • Pause briefly then stand back up.
  • Then step to the left and squat.
  • Continue alternating sides until you have completed 6-8 reps to each side.

Standing Bent Over Rows

  • Stand on top of a resistance band while holding an end in each hand.
  • Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back flat.
  • Bend your elbows and pull the band toward your chest, while your elbows stay close to your body.
  • Straighten your arms and lower back down.

Intermediate Resistance Band Workouts

Lateral Raise

  • Stand on top of the resistance band and hold an end in each hand with your arms down at your sides.
  • Raise your arms straight out to the sides to about shoulder level.
  • Slowly lower back down.

Push Up with Resistance Band

  • Start in a push-up position with the resistance band across your mid-back.
  • Hold the ends of the band under your hands as they push into the ground.
  • Lower down by bending your elbows, and then push up against the band to full extension, keeping your butt back in a straight line.
  • Then, slowly bring your body back down to the ground.

Squat to Shoulder Press

  • Stand on a resistance band with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold an end in each hand at shoulder height with your palms facing towards the front of the room.
  • Squat down while keeping the ends of the band at shoulder height.
  • As you stand back up from the squat, extend your arms to push the bands up into the air above your shoulders.
  • Extend your legs at the same rate you extend your arms.
  • Slowly lower your arms back down to your shoulders.

Supermans with Band Pulls

  • Start on your stomach with your arms extended straight in front of you while holding a resistance band stretched between both hands.
  • Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your arms and chest off the floor.
  • As your chest comes off the ground, squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull the resistance band apart.
  • Then slowly lower back down.

JOIN OUR fit mother 30X PROGRAM

FM30X is the first sustainable weight loss program designed exclusively for busy mothers just like you...

LEARN MORE

JOIN OUR FIT MOTHER
30X PROGRAM

JOIN OUR FIT MOTHER 30X PROGRAM

FM30X is the first sustainable weight loss program designed exclusively for *busy* mothers like you...

Learn More  >

Advanced Resistance Band Workouts

Push Up to Front Arm Raise

  • Start in a push-up position with the resistance band across your mid-back.
  • Hold the ends of the band under your hands as they push into the ground.
  • Lower down by bending your elbows, and then push up against the band to full extension, keeping your butt back in a straight line.
  • At the top of the push-up, raise your right arm until it is parallel to the floor.
  • Lower your arm back down to the floor and perform another push-up.
  • Once at the top then raise your left arm into the air and lower back down.

Curl to Reverse Lunge to Row

  • Stand on top of the resistance band while holding an end in each hand.
  • Curl the bands up while keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Pause at the top of the move.
  • As you slowly lower the bands down, simultaneously step back with your left foot into a lunge.
  • Then bring the left foot back to stand up on top of the resistance band once more.
  • Next, hinge forward at your hips and bend your elbows to pull the band toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  • Then straighten your arms and lower back down.
  • Repeat the curl, lunge, row for the desired reps, then switch to lunge with the right leg.

Standing Bent Over Rows to Bicep Curls

  • Stand with both feet on a resistance band, about hip-width apart.
  • Hold one end in each hand.
  • Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back flat, arms straight, and hands under your shoulders.
  • Bend your elbows to pull the band toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  • Then straighten your arms and lower back down.
  • Next, stand up straight and curl the bands up while keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Pause at the top then slowly lower back down.
  • That is one rep.

GET YOUR FREE
“FIT MOM” JUMPSTART
(MEAL PLAN + WORKOUT)

Let us show you how you can start losing weight this week! We'll email you our free meal plan & workout + email coaching.

YES! GET MY FREE PLAN

GET YOUR FREE
“FIT MOM” JUMPSTART
(MEAL PLAN + WORKOUT)

Resistance Band Workouts For Every Level of Fitness

There are so many options to help you achieve high levels of fitness.

Resistance band workouts are one of the many tools that can be used to help you tone your muscles and increase lean body mass.

Utilizing resistance bands as part of a metabolic workout will give you the benefit of both building strength and aerobic fitness.

And, since resistance bands can be used practically anywhere, there is never an excuse to miss a workout!

Studies comparing resistance band versus dumbbell and bench press workouts have found muscle activation and strength gains to be very similar as long as the exercises are performed at the same intensity and volume.

It’s all about tailoring the workouts to your goals and level of fitness.

Resistance bands are compact and easy to use, which means you can get a great workout at home or on the road.

And with the right exercise, you can still build strong and toned muscles without needing tons of equipment or heavy weights.

Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on resistance band workouts.

Join Fit Father 30X

The World’s First Weight Loss Program for Men 40+

Lose Weight. Keep it Off.

Fit Mother Project Fact-Checking Standards

Our Fit Mother Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Mother Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Mother Blog and YouTube channel:

  1. All of our content is written and reviewed by licensed health professionals (dieticians, personal trainers, doctors).
  2. In nearly all of our articles, we link to published research studies from the most respected peer-reviewed medical & health journals.
  3. We include research-based videos to accompany our articles to make it easier for you to consume our content, put it into action, and see results.
  4. Inside our articles & videos, we do promote our free meal plans, workouts, and/or paid programs, because we know they have the potential to change your life.
  5. We openly take feedback here on our contact page. We welcome your content suggestions… and even feedback on grammar (we’d like to thing that we’re pretty OK at spelling and “stuff”).
  6. Above all, we are a community of likeminded men and women committed to living healthier. We do not advocate any health advice that we wouldn’t personally implement with our families. Because as far as we’re concerned, you’re our family too.

Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality.

– The Fit Mother Project Team

 

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy