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10 Full-Body Resistance Band Exercises From Our Favorite Trainers

Merrell Readman
mbg Associate Food & Health Editor By Merrell Readman
mbg Associate Food & Health Editor
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career.

Who doesn't love a good bodyweight workout? They're challenging and effective—not to mention simple to do at home if you aren't in the mood to head to the gym and be around other people. But especially as you start to gain strength and look for more difficult workouts, you may begin to feel that bodyweight movements aren't enough to give you the burn you're chasing.

For the days you're in need of an extra spicy workout to fire up your full body and leave your muscles quivering, bringing resistance bands into the picture will take your sweat sesh to the next level—guaranteed. Plus, they're the perfect easy-to-pack tool when you're traveling or on the go.

Not sure where to start? We rounded up the top movements for all areas of your body, made extra challenging with a resistance band. Follow all 10 moves for a complete workout, or sprinkle these movements into your next training session at the gym to amp up resistance and push your muscles to the brink:

1. Lateral Band Walks

lateral walk

Image by mbg creative

Demonstrated by Janeil Mason.

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How-to:

  1. Begin on the right side of your mat, and place the mini band just above your ankles. Start with your feet hip-width apart; come into a half-squat position.
  2. Take one big step to the left with your left foot, then take a small step to the left with your right foot. Be sure to keep your knees from caving in.
  3. Continue until you reach the other side of your mat, then reverse the movement and return to start.
  4. Repeat for 60 seconds.

2. Bicycle

Bicycles with a Resistance Band

Image by Katie Dunlop

Demonstrated by Kate Dunlop.

How-to:

  1. Lie on your back with the band around your thighs and just above your knees.
  2. Bring your hands gently behind your head with your elbows out wide.
  3. Bend your knees to a 90-degree angle and engage your core.
  4. Lift your shoulders off the mat and extend your left leg out long to hover as you twist your right elbow to your left knee.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side. That's one rep. Complete 20.

3. Tap Backs

tap backs

Image by mbg creative

How-to:

  1. Start in a standing position, with the mini band wrapped just above your ankles.
  2. Shift your weight into your left foot, then take a diagonal step back with your right foot.
  3. Continue for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

4. Bicep Curls

Bicep Curls With Resistance Band

Image by Katie Dunlop

How-to:

  1. Start standing, with the band in both hands and your feet hip-distance apart. Keep your body weight in your heels and a slight bend in your knees.
  2. With straight arms, bring your hands together in front of you. Start with your right hand facing away from your body and your left facing your thigh. Engage your right side and curl the band up toward your shoulder.
  3. Squeeze at the top and slowly lower with control.
  4. Repeat this same movement on the left and alternating sides. That's one rep. Complete 12.

5. Lying Single-Leg Extension

lying single-leg extension

Image by mbg creative

How-to:

  1. Place the mini band around the soles of your feet. Lie down on your mat.
  2. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground, resting your head in your hands. Bring your legs into a tabletop position.
  3. Keeping your upper body lifted, press your right leg out straight. Bring it back to start and repeat on the left side. Engage your core to keep your body stable.
  4. Continue alternating for 60 seconds.

6. Pull-Downs

Pull Downs with Resistance Bands

Image by Katie Dunlop

How-to:

  1. Start by holding the band in both hands overhead. Pull your shoulders back and down, tuck your pelvis, and engage your core.
  2. Exhale and pull down on the right side, driving your elbow down and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  3. Inhale as you return to the starting position, and do the same on the left. That's one rep. Complete 10.

7. Plank + Knee-To-Elbow

plank with knee to elbow

Image by mbg creative

How-to:

  1. Place the mini band above your knees, and come into a high-plank position.
  2. Lift your left leg, and bring your knee toward your right elbow. Return to start, and repeat on the opposite side. Engage your obliques to propel the movement.
  3. Continue alternating for 45 seconds.

8. Side Plank Crunches

Side Plank Crunches with Resistance Band

Image by Katie Dunlop

How-to:

  1. Begin in a side forearm plank with shoulders stacked over the elbow. (For a bonus challenge, you can place a resistance band around your thighs just above the knees, as pictured.)
  2. Inhale, actively extending your top arm up past your head, bicep by the ear. Keep legs and core active, extending through the feet and lifting the hips up. Keep hips and shoulders vertically stacked.
  3. On an exhale, contract your core and drive your upper knee toward your chest as you pull your elbow to meet the knee in the middle.
  4. On your inhale, come back to side plank with your arm extended. That's one rep.
  5. Complete 10 reps on each side.

9. Progressive Squat Jump

progressive squat jump

Image by mbg creative

How-to:

  1. Bring the mini band right above your ankles.
  2. Lower into a squat position and hold.
  3. Complete 1 jump squat, then come back to that starting position. Next, complete 2 squat jumps before coming back to start.
  4. Continue until you reach 5 squat jumps.

10. Tricep Kickbacks

Tricep Kickback with a Resistance Band

Image by Katie Dunlop

How-to:

  1. Start with your band in both hands and your feet hip-distance apart. Keep your body weight in your heels and hinge forward slightly.
  2. Place your left hand with the band onto your right hip. Drive the elbow of your right arm toward the sky; keep your right hand on your hip.
  3. Keep your upper arm stable as you press your band back and upward to straighten your arm.
  4. Bend to lower the band to your hip. That's one rep. Complete 12 on each side.
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