Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’re probably familiar with stretch bands, also known as resistance bands. True to their name, they’re elastic bands that provide an alternate form of resistance during exercise.
If you’re starting to get tired of the usual gym grind, stretch bands might be just what you need. They’re different and take some time to get used to, but they’re no less effective than other resistance implements.
Stretch Band Workout Details
Stretch band workouts come in all shapes and sizes, but this one combines upper body, lower body, and core exercises to create a full body workout. You’ll need a pull up bar to complete the assisted pull up and something stable to anchor the band to for the straight arm twist.
Do one exercise at a time and take a 60-second rest between each set. If that sounds too easy for you, turn the workout into a circuit. Do each exercise back to back until you reach the last one, take a rest, then go through the circuit two more times.
Stretch Band Exercises
Band Floor Press: 3 sets of 10 reps
The floor press is just a chest press that’s performed on the floor rather than on a bench. It’s easier because the floor is more stable, but the smaller range of motion creates an extra challenge for your triceps.
To do the floor press, start by grabbing one end of the band with one hand. Whip it around behind you so it lays across your back, then grab the other end with your other hand. Hold the band in place and lay down on the ground, then adjust it so it’s in line with your nipples.
Take a second to make sure your palms are facing forward, your wrists are straight, and your hands are a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Now, drive your hands up towards the ceiling until your arms are straight, then lower back to the ground.
Band Glute Bridge: 3 sets of 10 reps
The band doesn’t fully come into play during this exercise, but that doesn’t mean it makes the movement easy. You’ll have to constantly fight to keep tension on the band, and trust me, your glutes aren’t going to be happy.
Get the band ready by twisting it once at the center to form a figure eight. Pull the two ends together and you’ll have a shorter band with more tension. Step into the band with both feet and pull it up to your knees.
Now, hold the band in place and lay down on the ground on your back. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor – your upper and lower legs should form close to a 90-degree angle. Place your hands in a comfortable position, then squeeze your glutes to drive your hips up into the air until there’s a straight line from shoulders to knees. Pause for a second, then lower your hips back to the ground. Make sure to actively push your knees out against the band throughout the motion.
Band-Assisted Pull Up: 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
You might not be strong enough for full pull ups, but don’t worry – that’s where the band comes in. It functions as a spring that assists you during the pulling motion, turning pull ups into an exercise that anyone can do. It’s a staple stretch band exercise that you’ll probably fall in love with.
Start by finding a pull up bar, strong tree branch, or something similar. While you’re at it, find an object that you can use as a platform to get yourself up to the bar, and make sure it’s stable. Throw the band over the top of the bar, then push the other end through to form a knot.
Next, grab the bar with both hands and let your palms face forward, then step onto the bottom end of the band with both feet. Now you’re ready to do a pull up. Pull your body up to the bar with a powerful but controlled motion. Keep going until your chest reaches the bar, then lower yourself back to the start. If you can’t get all the way up to the bar, switch to a higher tension band – that will give you more assistance.
Band Goblet Squat: 3 sets of 10 reps
Don’t let the name throw you off. It’s still a squat, but you’re going to hold the band in a slightly different position that does a better job of forcing your core to stay active. Plus, it’s easier on your wrists, and that’s never a bad thing.
Get into position for goblet squats by stepping on one end of the band with both feet. Set them to a little wider than shoulder-width apart, then grab the other end of the band with both hands. Lace your fingers together over the band and pull it up to your chest.
Now, push your hips back and bend your knees to squat down. Try to go down until the crease of your hips drops below your knees. When you hit the bottom, explode up and back to a standing position. Focus on keeping the band tight to your chest, and don’t let the tension pull your body forward.
Band Straight Arm Twist: 3 sets of 8 reps per side
Twists are a regular part of everyday life, but they’re often neglected in fitness training. People spend so much time trying to plank for longer and longer that they forget about other aspects of core training, like rotation. That’s where the straight arm twist comes in – it’s a perfect addition to any stretch band workout.
You’ll need a solid anchor point that’s about chest height for this exercise. Find that, then attach one end of the band to it with a knot. Grab the other end with both hands and turn so your side is facing the anchor point.
Take a few steps away to get tension on the band, then stretch your arms straight out in front of you and set your feet shoulder-width apart. Without bending your arms, twist your torso towards the anchor point, then twist it back in the other direction. With each rep, take a second to make sure that you’re standing as straight as you can, and that your torso is doing the work.