Best Basic Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners + Videos

If you have a resistance band, there’s an endless list of exercises you can do with major benefits. Whether you’re in for strength, flexibility or even just warming up your body for a major exercise routine like martial arts, resistance bands can give you exactly what you need.

As a beginner, the basic resistance band exercises you can do include band bent-over rows, band good mornings, band glute kick-backs, band lat pulldowns, band kneeling crunches, band lying lateral leg raises, band pull-aparts, band thrusters, band lateral leg lifts, and band choppers.

You may already be aware that some of these exercises can be performed either on their own or with gym weights. However, a resistance band is great for starting off as a beginner or after an injury with low risk and varying the difficulty as you advance.

At the end of this guide is a list of the best resistance bands for whatever level of exercising you are at. After getting yourself one or several of these bands (they’re quite affordable), you can start with these ten exercises:

1. Band Bent-over Rows

The arms are a great place to start your workouts with your new band, and bent-over rows are the perfect exercise. The band bent-over rows work your biceps and triceps at the same time and are done as follows:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Loop the band under your feet and hold the ends in both of your hands.
  • Slightly bend your knees and lean forward while keeping your back flat and your arms straight downwards.
  • Pull up on the band’s ends until your upper arms are parallel to your back then release until your whole arm is perpendicular to the ground again.

That makes up a single rep. Start with 10 reps and do three sets of 10 reps each as you advance.

2. Band Good Mornings

A good morning is basically a bending exercise and there are many ways to perform it. However, the one we’re interested in is the one we use bands to increase its difficulty. The starting position for this exercise is almost similar to the one above and it’s done as follows:

  • Start with your feet being shoulder width apart and the band looped below your feet and the ends of the band held by both of your hands. Your arms should be straight besides your body. The band should be its most tight in the starting position.
  • Very slightly bend your knees for stability and lean forward while maintaining the position of your arms relative to your feet and the ground. The bend should go as far down as possible and should only be at the hips. The back and the rest of the upper body should remain as they were in the starting position as you bend.
  • Slowly return to the starting point for a complete rep.

You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings and the back and, with time, you’ll bend lower and with more stability. This exercise should also be performed starting with 10 reps in 3 sets.

3. Band Glute Kick-backs

This exercise is done when you’re on all fours and kicking back like a donkey does. Only that you won’t be kicking upwards but straight backwards as follows:

  • Go on all fours with your hands and upper legs being perpendicular to the ground. Your back should be parallel to the ground.
  • Loop one end of the band under your right foot and the other end around your right hand.
  • Push the right leg straight backwards until you form a straight line from the back of your head through the back to the heel of this foot. Restore the starting point to complete the rep.

Perform 10 reps on each foot and in 3 sets for a start.

4. Band Lat Pulldowns

The band lat pulldowns are performed with an anchored band. If you’re not in a gym with the anchor points, you can use your window grill or door frame as the anchor.

The rest of the exercise is as follows:

  • Anchor the resistance band at a point that’s a few feet above your head. Preferably, lift up your hands and measure the highest point you can reach then use that point to anchor your band. Hold the ends of the band in your hands.
  • Stand with one foot in front of the other for stability. Stand such that your front leg is perpendicular to the ground up to the knee while the back leg is straight but the foot is still flat on the ground.
  • At the resting point, your hands should be straight up with the anchor point.
  • Pull the band towards your body until your forearms are parallel to the ground then return to the starting position for a rep.

Perform 15 reps and repeat for 3 sets.

5. Band Kneeling Crunches

If you can’t do crunches for one reason or the other, there’s still a viable method to work your core for abs or cutting the belly. The steps are as follows:

  • Anchor the band about your head’s height and hold the ends in each hand.
  • Kneel down facing away from the anchor point with your feet as flat as possible (not resting on your toes). The ends of the band should be going over your shoulders while the arms are close to your chest.
  • At the start of the move, you should be upright from your knees upwards.
  • Lean forward as much as you can while ensuring that only your core bears the weight of the resistance band then get back to the upright position for a single rep.

Perform between 10 to 15 reps of this workout. If you can, perform 3 sets of it.

6. Band Lying Lateral Leg Raises

To work your inner thighs, a resistance band is the perfect solution. It’s an exercise you’ll enjoy as you’ll feel the burn a few reps into it. It’s done as follows:

  • Lie on your side while supporting your body with your elbow tucked under your head and your other arm (anywhere) on your body. Ensure that there’s a straight line from your head to your feet.
  • Loop the band around your ankles then lift the leg on top directly upwards as far as you can. As you do so, ensure the rest of the body remains straight. Restore the starting point for a single rep.

Perform 15 reps on one side before turning to the other side.

7. Band Pull-aparts

Band pull-aparts entail pulling apart the band so that you tone your arm and chest muscles. It’s performed as follows:

  • Start with your feet shoulder width apart and the body straight up. Hold the band in both of your hands and ensure the distance between your palms is about shoulder width as well.
  • Raise your arms straight before you until they’re parallel to the ground.
  • Without moving the rest of the body, move your hands away from each other as much as you can then return to the starting point. This completes a single rep.

Perform as many reps as you can with the recommended being 10 to 15 for a start.

8. Band Thrusters

Band thrusters work many parts of your body including your glutes, biceps and the back. As the name suggests, you’ll be thrusting upwards and against both gravity and the resistance band. It’s done as follows:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and loop the band below the feet while holding the other ends.
  • Go into a squat position with the band passing on the outside of your hands. Your elbows should point on the outside of your body. Maintain a straight back.
  • Press your heels into the ground as you raise up from the squat. As your body nears the upright position, push the band ends directly upwards until your arms are fully stretched.
  • Slowly return to the starting point to complete the rep.

Perform between 10 to 15 reps for each of the 3 reps.

9. Band Lateral Leg Lifts

Remember the lying lateral leg raises? The lateral leg lifts are the standing version of this workout. While also working on your inner thigh muscles, the standing one adds difficulty by working the ankle of the stationary foot through balancing the body.

It’s done as follows:

  • Stand upright with your feet together and your hands akimbo.
  • Loop the band around your ankles then, shifting the weight of your body to the left leg, lift the right leg away from the body and directly to the right as far as you can. Hold for 3 seconds then return to the starting position for a single rep.

Perform between 10 to 15 reps on each leg and perform 3 sets on each leg for a start.

10. Band Choppers

Band choppers highly mimic the motions you make when chopping down a tree with an axe. They work on your shoulder muscles.

They’re performed as follows:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with the rest of the body in an upright posture.
  • Anchor the band above your head and hold the ends in your hands. The hand should be together at the start.
  • Stand facing 90 degrees from the anchor point of the band.
  • Pull the ends of the band diagonally across your body and away from the anchor point as far as you can without moving the rest of the body. If done right, you should do the axe-chopping motions.

Do between 10 and 15 reps and in three sets then turn 180 degrees to your left and do the same.

These are great exercises to start off your workout routine with resistance bands.

Best Exercise Bands for Beginners

The five best resistance bands for beginners include the following:

1. Tribe Resistance Bands Set

2. REEHUT Single Resistance Band

3. Lim Resistance Bands Exercise Loops

4. FOMI 7 Ring Stretch and Resistance Exercise Band

5. Koncle 11 pcs Resistance Band Set

These bands are affordable yet of a very high quality.

Further Reading