Woman exercising with resistance band for a convenient workout

At-Home Workout: Shape Your Body With Resistance Bands

By: Jason Knapfel, Health & Wellness Writer

Scientifically Reviewed By: Michael A. Smith, MD

You really want to have an active lifestyle and get in shape, but going to the gym just isn’t an option. It’s an all-too-familiar scenario, and unfortunately many of us never end up with a viable alternative for exercising.

Don’t despair! Life Extension Wellness Specialist Dalia Ledezma, an expert in fitness and weight management, has an at-home workout solution you can’t resist.

Why leave the comfort of your humble abode when you can take advantage of the convenience provided by resistance bands?

Benefits of Resistance Bands

What are the advantages of using resistance bands? Let Ledezma count the ways. "While other workout equipment may be expensive and take up a lot of space, resistance bands have been my favorite," she said. "They are inexpensive, you can use them on any body part, and you can take them with you anywhere for a workout or just a good stretch."

Simply put, strength training has never been more convenient.

Man outdoors doing leg extensions with elastic band
  1. They’re affordable

    Resistance bands work on any budget. And unlike a gym membership, there’s no ongoing monthly financial commitment.
  2. They’re space-savers

    Most traditional strength training equipment takes up a lot of space. Dumbbells, loose weights, and machines clutter a room in a hurry. Resistance bands can be stored virtually anywhere you like.
  3. They’re portable

    The gym is wherever you want to be. If you want to catch the news, do your reps in front of your television. Need some fresh air? Take them to your back patio.
  4. Anyone can safely use them

    If you’re a beginner, weights might be a little intimidating. And if you don’t use proper form, there’s risk of injury. With resistance bands, you’re in total control… and there’s no worry that they may drop on your toes.
  5. Most importantly, they work!

    Results are the ultimate benefit. There’s a misconception that resistance bands just don’t get you the same muscle-building benefits that come with free weights, but as you’ll soon learn, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Types of Resistance Bands

  • Therapy Bands - If you’ve ever worked with a physical therapist to rehab from an injury, chances are you’ve used therapy bands. They are usually lightweight and help with stretching and gradually strengthening the targeted muscle group(s).
  • Loop Bands - Like large, durable rubber bands, loop bands are the most versatile and provide a wide range of resistance levels.
  • Tube Resistance Bands with Handles - The handles attach at both ends, allowing the user to mimic dumbbell exercises.
  • Mini-Bands - Smaller bands can be used to train legs, hips and more.
  • Figure 8 Bands - These are small bands with handles at each end.

Resistance Bands vs Weightlifting

Whether you use free weights or bands, either form of resistance training is not only great for building lean muscle mass, but weight management as well. So, if you prefer the features and benefits that come with bands, you can get the same results as free weights.

If you’re a sports fan, chances are you’ve seen some of your favorite athletes utilizing resistance bands in their exercise regimen. Why? They offer new and creative ways to train and improve physical performance. They’re also lower impact than free weights, which lowers the risk for injury.

In order to build muscle mass, you need to have the ability to increase resistance. In other words, you need to increase the weight. With free weights, this usually means adding weight to a bar or grabbing a heavier set of dumbbells for an increased challenge to your muscles. This is also sometimes referred to as progressive resistance.

Free weights rely on gravity to challenge your muscles. With bands, they come in different tension levels that get increasingly difficult to move. Better yet, with loop bands, you don’t need to change bands to increase the resistance. Simply adjust your grip (shortening the length) and presto… it’s like having a heavier free weight.

Resistance Bands Workout Guide

Resistance bands provide a wide range of home training options, making it perfect as your go-to option for full body strength building. Here are just a few of the exercises you can choose from:



It’s the simplest of all band workouts. To tone and build your bicep muscles, do arm curls much like the form used with dumbbells.

If using tube resistance bands equipped with handles, stand with both feet on the band. Adjust spacing to change the level of resistance.

Slowly curl your hands up, keeping your elbows in. Return your hands slowly to your starting position to complete the first rep.


Standing triceps extensions can be performed with both arms at once, or one at a time. With single arm extensions, stand on the band with the same foot as the arm you start with (left with left, right with right).

Raise your arm straight up, being mindful of keeping your elbow in the same position. Return slowly while you continue to feel the tension on the way down.


Secure your band to something behind you. It may be looped around a bar, but inside your home, it’s usually secured in a door jam (with a door anchor). Adjust the angle based on how you want to work your chest.

Stand with one leg forward. This helps keep you stabilized as you go through your reps. Slowly bring the handles forward until both arms are straight. Return to the starting position in the same controlled, slow motion.


While arms, chest and abs seem to get all the attention, no upper body workout is complete without shoulder exercises.

Let’s try the bent-over row. Stand with both feet on your resistance band about hip-length apart, your knees bent slightly. Lean your upper body forward while your back stays flat. Pull the band up to your chest, elbows bent and close to your body.

As with all resistance band exercises where you stand on the band with both feet, you can move your stance in or out. This increases or decreases the tension, thereby adjusting the difficulty of the exercise.


Who doesn’t want to maintain a tighter tush? There are a number of resistance band exercises that target your butt. One of the easiest to master is the glute bridge.

Place a small resistance band around your legs, just above the knees. Arms should be palms down at your sides. As you raise your hips, squeeze your glutei (butt muscles).

Your body should never hyperextend. Bring your hips up until you form a straight line. Hold it for a couple seconds, then slowly return to the floor. This exercise not only strengthens your glutes, but hips and hamstrings as well.


Doing a lateral walk exercise with a small resistance band around your ankles (or above your knees) looks easy enough, but it can really bring on the burn in a hurry!

Take 5 steps in one direction, then 5 steps back. All the while, keep your knees bent slightly, hips back and your arms forward.

As you can see, and will hopefully soon learn on your own, resistance bands provide all the strength training options you need to shape up. This just touches the surface of what exercises you can do. So, start exploring on your own and reap the benefits for yourself!

About the Author:

Jason Knapfel graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in English. Since 2000, Jason has held various content marketing roles, much of it in the health and wellness field. He is currently a Copywriter at Life Extension.