I started using resistance band training after giving birth to my son, and I loved how simple and convenient the workouts were. I could use the bands while the baby was napping or whenever I had 15 minutes to spare. They are so simple and easy to use, but they still offer a very effective, varied workout.
With resistance bands, I can do a full-body workout in less than an hour—sometimes only 15 minutes! Best of all, I can increase or decrease how difficult my workouts are—I am in control. After giving birth, I definitely was not ready for any weightlifting, so the resistance bands helped me ease back into shape. They are also safe to use on your own without a spot buddy.
Resistance bands can be easily adapted to your fitness level by simply allowing more or less slack in the bands. You will also find two different types of bands: basic resistance bands, which are simply rubber strips; and tube resistance bands, which have a foam handle and allow for greater versatility. I’ll be describing exercises using tube bands, but you can modify them to fit basic resistance bands, too.
Now that you know a little more about resistance bands, let’s get started with a simple and fast workout! With each of these exercises, you can adjust the difficulty by allowing more or less slack or by adding another band.
My 15-minute Full Body Workout
This workout will definitely get you going and work your whole body, without having to use different equipment or weights! Complete each exercise with 2 sets of 12–15 reps each, resting for 30 seconds between sets.
- Squat and Press: Stand on the center of the band, holding the handles on either side of your head with an overhead grip, as if you are holding a bar on your shoulders. Squat down until your quads are parallel to the floor, keeping your back straight. Next, stand straight up, exploding upward and pressing the handles high overheard. Lower the handles, squat down again, and repeat. Make sure you keep your weight in your heels and that your knees don’t go past your toes as you squat.
- Split Squat to Curl: Stand on the center of the band, holding the handles with your hands hanging at your sides. Step your left foot backward and kneel downward into the lunge position. At the same time, bend your elbow and flex your biceps in the curl motion. Switch legs and repeat.
- Bent-Over Fly: Stand on the center of the band, your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the left end of the band with your right hand, and vice versa. Bend over until your trunk is parallel to the ground, with your hands hanging down to the ground. Keeping your elbows only slightly bent, bring your arms up until your chest is open.
- Tricep Push Down: Throw the band over a stable bar or hook overhead. I usually find one in the garage. Grab each end of the band and pull your hands down, extending your arms all the way and flexing your triceps. Keep your elbows close to your sides.
- Seated Rows: Sit down with your legs straight in front of you. Wrap the band around a post at your feet while holding one end in each hand. Hold your arms straight in front of you, and then pull your hands toward your body, allowing your elbows to bend away from your body. Keep your back straight and focus on the back muscles as you row.
Four More Exercises I Love
If you want a few more exercises to add to your routine, try these simple but powerful moves:
- Standing Hamstring Curl: Stand on one end of the band with your left foot, and then loop the handle of the other end over your right foot. Bend your knee and allow your leg to curl backward, flexing the hamstring. Do 3 sets of 12–15 reps, then switch legs.
- Bicep Curls: Holding the band at both ends, lay the slack on the floor and step onto the center of the band with one or both feet. Stand straight up, hold the bands with your thumb facing up, and curl your arm to flex the bicep. Do 3 sets of 12–15 reps.
- Standing Hip Abductors: Stand straight up with the band wrapped loosely and secured around your ankles. Keeping your knee straight and lift one leg to the side as high as is comfortable. Repeat with the other leg. Do 3 sets of 12–15 reps.
- Bent-Over Rows: Stand on the band with both feet while holding each end. Bend over at the waist until your chest is parallel to the floor. Pull your hands toward your body, allowing your elbows to bend away from your body. Keep your back straight and focus on the back muscles as you row. Do 3 sets of 12–15 reps.
With simple, fast exercises like this, you can give your body a workout right in your living room! Try my workout and tell us your favorite exercise in the comments!
—Edina Hamulic, NGA Figure Pro, facebook.com/edinafit