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Resistance band workout for stronger arms, legs and abs

By Michelle Rogers, CPT | July 10, 2019 | Healthy Lifestyle

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Want to get stronger and firmer without lifting weights, going to a gym, or spending a lot of money?

Meet your new best friend, the resistance band. It’s a simple but effective piece of exercise equipment. Tone up with this simple tool that’s perfect for home, hotel or office. 

One of the best things about resistance bands is that they are so portable. You can take them anywhere, which makes them perfect for traveling and a hotel room workout. They take up little space in your luggage and weigh next to nothing. Resistance bands are also ideal for working out at home or the office.

Plus, they’re safer to use than a heavyweight. You don’t need to worry about dropping a resistance band.

They’re also inexpensive. At less than $15, the versatile resistance band offers a lot of fitness bang for the buck. So grab one and let’s get in shape!

Which band should I choose?

Bands challenge our body in a similar way to weights. But unlike weights, which rely on gravity, bands use tension to add resistance to movements. Resistance bands are made from elastic rubber and come in two forms – wide and flat, or a tube with handles. This workout utilizes the tube with handles.

Resistance tubes are available in different levels of resistance, and thicker bands offer more tension than thinner ones. Manufacturers typically use a color-coding system for resistance bands. For example, yellow for light resistance (a good place for beginners to start); green and red for medium resistance; and blue and black the heaviest. The colors may vary by manufacturer.

The workout

Here’s a full body routine I created that you can do anywhere. Be sure to do a few warm-up moves first, and wear shoes while doing these exercises.

Upper body exercises

Biceps curls

Here’s the resistance band version of the classic arm strengthening exercise. Begin with feet together, band securely underneath your feet, palms facing out. Bend arms, bringing your hands toward your shoulders, then lower back down.

Upright rows

Begin with palms facing to the back. Bend arms, pulling the handles up toward your shoulders. Keep your hands close to your body as you raise and lower.

Side raises

This exercise really works your shoulders. Stand on the band, feet together, with palms facing in. Raise arms out to the side, either together or alternating one arm at a time. Keep your wrists straight and not bent down.

Triceps kickbacks

This exercise tones the back of your upper arms. Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your back straight and not hunched over. Stand on the band, feet together. Bend your arms and straighten them to the back, lifting as high as you can. Return to starting position and repeat.

Lower body

Front lunges with curl

Begin with the band underneath your left foot, and your palms facing forward. Lunge forward with your left leg, striking with your heel first, while you bend arms into a bicep curl. Push up with foot to return to a standing position. Complete reps, and then do the right side.

Side steps

This one is great for your hips and the side of your legs. Stand on the band, and step side to side, leading with your heel.

Side leg lifts with squat

Begin with the band under feet, feet shoulder width apart, palms facing in. Squat, then stand as you lift your leg to the side, leading with the heel. Return to a squat, then repeat with the other leg.

Squat and lift

Begin with the band under feet, palms facing in. Squat, then stand as you lift up on the handles (as if you are lifting up two suitcases), keeping elbows to the back. Return to squat, repeat.

The skier

Begin with the band under feet, feet slightly apart. Raise your left arm in front, as you lift your right leg in the back. Bring feet together, squat, then repeat with other arm/leg.


Seated row

Sit on the floor with legs extended. Wrap the band around your left foot, bring both handles toward you and twist to the right. If you need more resistance, hold on the tube below the handles. Do reps, then change the band to the right foot and twist to the left side.

Flutter kicks

Put each foot in a handle. Lie on your back with legs lifted and toes pointed toward the ceiling, and hold the band with both of your hands. Draw your belly button into your spine. Scissor your legs up and down, moving slowly and keeping toes pointed.

Make it a routine to see results

Do these strength exercises at least three times a week, alternating days with a cardio workout for a well-rounded fitness routine. For example Strength work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and an aerobic exercise such as power walking on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If you are faithful with your workouts, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you will see results!

For tips on beginning an exercise program, grab a copy of my free eBook, “6 Secrets to Winning at Exercise (Even if You’ve Always Failed!).