50 Resistance Band Exercises for Legs, Back, Chest, Arms & Core

Resistance band exercises for legs, chest, back, arms and core


Doing resistance band exercises is an incredible way to build strength and muscle mass in your legs, back, chest, arms & core without using free weights or machines.

In this full body workout guide we present 50 of the best resistance band exercises you can do using a long resistance loop band, which is the perfect substitute for using free weights in your strength workout.

Before we get to the exercises, we’ll have a look at some of the benefits of using resistance bands and what are the different kinds of bands you can use to train your whole body.

If you want to get straight to the exercises, feel free to scroll down!


Do resistance band exercises really work?


Leg exercise with resistance bandWe all know that throwing around big heavy barbells and dumbbells will make you monstrously strong. There’s a reason why strongmen and bodybuilders mainly stick to heavy free weights as the core part of their training.

So why bother using resistance bands?

Firstly, there’s the obvious benefit of being able to chuck your bands into your bag and take them with you anywhere you want. Have you ever been travelling and unable to access a gym? No problem, now you can take an entire strength gym on holiday with you.

But there are other, more scientific reasons why working out with resistance bands can sometimes be even better than using dumbbells, barbells or weight machines.


Variable linear resistance

One thing that gives elastics an advantage over free weights is that, when they are stretched, the level of resistance increases the further they stretch. Weights don’t do that – with weights, the exercise will get easier or harder depending on the angle and extent of the movement.

Having an increase in resistance throughout the movement is a good thing because your joints tend to get stronger the further they are extended. As an example, when doing squats, your legs can lift a much heavier weight if your knees are only slightly bent, compared to if you’re in a deep bend.

This so called elastic variable resistance means your muscles will encounter the highest resistance when they are in their strongest position – so you’ll be training them in an optimal way.

Doing resistance band exercises, whether for legs, back, chest, arms or core, the total power output will be greater than if you use free weights alone. According to research, this has a beneficial effect on the development of peak force and power.


Leg kickback exercise with a resistance band


Exercise from any angle

The problem with free weights is that they rely on gravity, so the resistance can only work in one direction – from up to down.

Not so with bands: they can be used to apply resistance from any angle, either by anchoring them to a fixed object or looping them around your hands and feet – for example in the leg kickback exercise shown above.

This kind of exercise can’t be done effectively with free weights, only with bands.

There are many more benefits to using resistance bands for your strength & fitness workouts – read this article to find out more.


What are the best resistance bands for working out?


1. Long Resistance Loop Bands

For strength training exercises, we recommend long resistance loops above all others because they’re the most versatile for working out your whole body. They’re available in 5 resistance levels, from light to super heavy.


Resistance bands for working out


Here’s a video from our YouTube channel showing you some of the back exercises you can do with this kind of resistance band:



2. Resistance Tubes with Handles

Resistance tube bands are also very effective for strength exercises and are more comfortable to use because they have soft foam handles. They also include a door anchor which makes it easy to fix them at any point along a door frame.


Resistance tube with handles


Here’s a video showing you some of the exercises you can do with a resistance tube band. To see a full workout plan with 50 exercises, check out our ultimate resistance tube workout plan.



50 Best Resistance Band Exercises for Legs, Back, Chest, Arms & Core


Below are the 50 best exercises for legs, back, chest, arms and core using a resistance loop band. You can do them in whichever order you like and can pick and choose depending on which part of your body you want to workout.

The exercises are arranged in the following order:

  • Back #1-#8
  • Chest #9-#14
  • Arm/Shoulder – #15-#24
  • Legs – #25-#35
  • Core – #36-#45
  • Advanced – #46-#50




#1 Bent Over Row

Bent Over Row

Bent over row is one of the best back exercises you can do with a resistance band, hitting all of your upper back muscles as well as shoulders and biceps. Done properly, bent over rows will improve your posture and relieve neck and shoulder pain from poor postural habits.

Be sure to keep your lower back slightly arched while you do the exercise and retract your shoulder blades fully at the top of the movement. If you haven’t used resistance bands before, the skin your hands may hurt or blister until you’re used to using them (same as with dumbbells and barbells).


#2 Single Arm Row

Single Arm Row

This back exercise will work mostly the same muscles as the bent over row except one side at a time. Working one arm at a time ensures both sides are exercised equally, while also bringing into play a few extra stabilizing muscles.

When you lean forward, make sure you keep your upper back straight and your lower back slightly arched. Stretch the band up as high as you can, retracting your shoulder blade at the top of the exercise.


#3 Standing Row

Standing Row, resistance band back exercise

For this exercise you’ll need to anchor one end of the band at chest height. You can do this by folding a towel in half and wedging it into a doorway with the band looped into it. Or looping it directly onto a solid object. Just make sure it’s secure so the band doesn’t snap back at you.

To perform the exercise, stretch the band towards the centre of your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do so. Standing further away or closer to the anchor point will make the exercise either more difficult or easier.


#4 Face Pull

Face Pull, back workout with resistance bands

Anchor the band slightly lower than in the previous exercise and hold it with your hands further apart. This is a great exercise for upper back which also activates your Trapezius muscles.

As with the previous exercise, standing further away or closer to the anchor point will adjust the difficulty of the exercise.


#5 Band Pull Aparts

Band Pull Aparts

Band pull aparts are a great upper back isolation exercise which can also counteract the effects of a bad posture.

To do the exercise, stretch the resistance band apart horizontally in front of you as far as you can, without bending your arms. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. To make it more difficult, hold the band with your hands closer together.


#6 Reverse Fly

Reverse Fly

You’ll need to use a lighter band (i.e. the red one) for this exercise, unless you’re super strong.

As always, it’s important to keep your back straight and not let your spine bend forward. Bend at the waist and knees only. Stretch the band up as high as you can, without altering your posture.


#7 Assisted Pull Up

Assisted Pull Up

These kind of bands are perfect for doing assisted pull ups, which takes some of the weight off and so making the exercise easier. Here’s a video showing you how:



#8 Lat Pull Down

Lat Pull-Down

This is an isolation exercise that targets your latissimus dorsi muscle. You’ll need to anchor the band high up, for example at the top of a door, with the help of a rolled up towel wedged into the doorway.

Make sure you stand square-on to the anchor point and pull the band straight down in front of your body. Keep your arms straight (or slightly bent) and your posture upright throughout the movement.




#9 Push Up

Push ups - chest exercise with a resistance band

The classic push up is one of the best chest exercises in the world but the problem is they can get a bit too easy when you’re used to doing a lot of them. Adding a resistance band makes push ups more difficult, giving you a more intense chest/bicep workout.

To do the exercise, simply sling the band around your back and keep each end of the loop under your palms while performing push ups as normal.


#10 Incline Chest Press

Incline Chest Press

The incline chest press will put a little more emphasis on the upper part of your chest, while also working your shoulder muscles. Using a resistance band for this exercise may feel awkward at first until you get used to it.

Stand on the band with your back foot and push the band up and forward, keeping the movement smooth and straight.


#11 Single Arm Chest Press

Single Arm Chest Press

For this movement you’ll need to attach the band to a fixed object at around chest height and face away from the anchor point.

Push the band forward with one arm. You can also twist your body slightly at the waist to assist the movement. Stand further from the anchor point to increase the difficulty.


#12 Single Arm Chest Fly

Single Arm Chest Fly

With the band fixed at chest height, stand side-on to the anchor point in a strong stance.

Make sure there’s enough tension in the band in the starting position, and then pull the band horizontally across, without letting your arm bend much (slightly bent is OK).


#13 Assisted Dip

Assisted Dip

As with pull ups, resistance bands can also be used to make dips easier until you’re more used to the exercise. For this you’ll need a dip station or set of parallel bars.

Just hold the band onto the bars and let it support some of your weight so the movement is easier. To make it even easier, use a thicker band.


#14 Resisted Dip

Resisted Dip

The band can also be used to make the exercise more difficult (similar to with push ups) by slinging it over your shoulder.

Just sling the band over your shoulders and hold each end of the loop onto the bars while you perform the exercise,




#15 Shoulder Press

Shoulder Press

If you want to focus on working your shoulder muscles, using a resistance band for presses is the perfect alternative to dumbbells and will work all of the same muscles.

Step onto one end of the loop and hold the other end with both hands in front of your shoulders. Keeping your body straight, push the band up above your head until your arms are straight.


#16 Front Raise

Front Raise

This movement will emphasize more the fronts and sides of your shoulders.

Simply stretch the band directly upwards in front of you without bending your arms. You should also keep your body straight and balanced throughout the movement.


#17 Lateral Raise

Lateral Raise

Isolate the side parts of your shoulders with this movement.

Keep your arm straight throughout the exercise and stretch the band up high. If you feel like it, you can hold the final position for a few seconds.


#18 Overhead Pull Apart

Overhead Pull Apart

This exercise is excellent for overall shoulder health and flexibility. It can be done to heal and prevent shoulder injuries – see our post on physio shoulder exercises for more.

Start by holding the band directly above you with both arms straight and some tension in the band. Now lower your arms until they are horizontal and stretched as far apart as you can manage.


#19 Band Dislocates

Band Dislocates

This exercise also is useful for working your rotator cuff, ensuring a good level of shoulder stability.

Hold the band horizontally behind you with straight arms, then pull it apart as far as possible without letting your shoulders raise up.


#20 Bicep Curls

Bicep Curls

Using a stretch band to do bicep curls can be more effective than using a dumbbell. This is because, as mentioned before, the variable resistance of elastics means your bicep muscle will encounter the highest resistance when it’s in its strongest position.

You can also do this exercise seated, using a mini resistance band, like this:


Bicep Curl


#21 Tricep Extension

Tricep Extension

With the band secured at waist height, you can isolate your tricep muscles by pushing the band backwards as shown.

The trick is to keep your body and upper arm immobile and try to use only your tricep muscle to perform the movement.


#22 Overhead Tricep Extension

Overhead Tricep Extension

Another tricep isolation exercise, but this time you stand inside one end of the loop instead of fixing it to an anchor point.

Stretch the band up towards the ceiling while keeping your shoulder and upper arm immobile.


#23 Shrug


Shrugs are the best exercises for isolating your trapezius muscles, which lie across the top parts of your shoulders and upper back.

Step on the band with feet shoulder width apart and holding each end of the loop. Pull the band by shrugging your shoulders up as high as possible.


#24 Upright Row

Upright Row

Doing upright rows will work your traps and shoulder muscles.

Step into the loop, holding the other end in front of your waist. Now stretch the band by pulling it up directly in front of your body, at the same time lifting your elbows high.




#25 Banded Squats

Resistance band squats

The squat is simply the best leg exercise you can do, and using a resistance band for squats will simulate the extra weight of having a barbell on your shoulders.

There are different ways to do this exercise with bands – you can either hold the band in front of you as shown, or hook it behind your neck so it pulls down on your shoulders.


#26 Banded Deadlifts

Resistance Band Deadlift

You might think deadlifts can only be done with a barbell, but using a resistance band for deadlifts can be just as effective, unless you want to go very heavy.

To do resistance band deadlifts, step into either end of the loop and stand with your feet wide apart. Bending at the waist and knees and keeping your lower back straight, hold the centre of the band and pull it upwards until you’re standing upright. For this exercise it’s very important to observe correct deadlift form.


#27 Lunge & Front Raise

Lunge Lift

This exercise can seem a bit difficult at first, as it’s not easy to coordinate your arms and legs during the movement. But once you get the hang of it, it’s an awesome exercise for blasting your legs and shoulders.

Step on the inside of the loop with one foot and hold the other end in front of you at waist level. Step forward into a deep lunge and, at the same time, lift your arms forward and up over your head.


#28 Resisted Lunge

Resistance band lunge exercise

This exercise is hard – you have been warned! But it’s an excellent one to add to leg day if you want to up the intensity of your lunges.

Hold the loops at each end and step on the centre of the band in a forward stance. Now perform resisted lunges while holding firmly onto each end of the band.


#29 Squat Press

Squat Press

A squat and a shoulder press all in one – you’ll be exhausted after just a few reps!

Stand inside the loop with feet shoulder width apart and hold the other end in front of your shoulders as shown. Now squat down and, as you rise, simultaneously push the band upwards in a shoulder press movement.


#30 Stiff-Legged Deadlift

Stiff-Legged Deadlift

Stiff legged deadlifts will target your hamstrings and lower back.

Stand on the centre of the band, holding onto each end of the loop. Bend forward, unlocking your knees and making sure to keep your lower back slightly arched. Now pull the band up, using mainly your lower back and hamstring muscles.


#31 Single Leg Deadlift

Single Leg Deadlift

This one is great for core and hip stability

Same as the previous exercise except this time, when you bend forward, keep one leg in line with your trunk, allowing it to swing back and up. Try to lower your trunk and leg until they are horizontal, hold for a few seconds and then return. Repeat with the other leg.


#32 Extended Deadlift

Extended Deadlift

Like a normal deadlift except the band is anchor in front of you, changing the angle of resistance.

Secure one end of the loop at a point low down in front of you. Now hold the other end with both hands and with tension in the band. Keeping your lower back straight, bend down and forward and straighten your knees and waist to return to a standing position.


#33 Seated Hamstring Curl

Seated Hamstring Curl

A hamstring isolation exercise which can be done at home without a machine.

Sit on a bench or chair with the band looped around your ankles and secured at the other end. Pull the band by bending your knees and bringing your feet underneath the bench. Hold onto the back of the bench for stability. To increase the difficulty, move the bench further from the anchor point.


#34 Lying Hamstring Curl

Hamstring Curl, Resistance band leg exercise

This exercise again will isolate your hamstrings and should be slightly easier to perform than the previous exercise because there’s no risk of falling off the bench.

With the band anchored low down, lie on your front with the other end looped around your ankle. Now pull the band by bringing your foot towards your buttocks.


#35 Donkey Kick

Donkey Kick

The donkey kick is one of the best exercises for isolating your glute muscles.

Kneel on all fours with the band underneath your hands and looped around one foot. Kick your leg back and up towards the ceiling.




#36 Kneeling Ab Crunch

Kneeling Ab Crunch

Kneeling ab crunches will work all the abdominal muscles at the front of your body.

Anchor the band high up. Kneel down, holding the band either side of your head, then pull it downwards using your abdominal muscles.


#37 Oblique Crunch

Oblique Crunch

You obliques are the abdominal muscles found on the side of your body – this exercise will help you isolate them.

Anchor the band down low and lie on your side with it looped around one foot. Use one arm stretched in front of you to stabilize your body. Now lift your top foot and knee towards the ceiling, stretching the band, simultaneously lifting your upper torso and touch your elbow to your knee.


#38 Incline Crunch

Crunch, core exercise with resistance band

This exercise is similar to a leg raise except your legs are bent and the direction of movement is from front to back.

Sit on an incline bench with the band secured low down in front of you. Hold on to the bench behind your head. With the band looped around your feet, bring your knees towards your head, stretching the band.


#39 Standing Twist

Standing Twist

Twisting the body will work your oblique muscles primarily, while also bringing many of your other core muscles into play.

Anchor the band at chest height and, standing side-on, hold one end of the loop with arms straight. Pull the band horizontally towards the other side of your body using your oblique muscles.


#40 High-Low Woodchop

High-Low Wood Chop

This simulates the movement of chopping wood and is an excellent all-round ab exercise.

Secure the band high up and pull it downwards and to the opposite side of your body in a chopping motion.


#41 Low-High Woodchop

Low-High Wood Chop

Same as previous exercise except this time pull the band in an upwards diagonal chopping motion.


#42 Side Bend

Side Bend, resistance band core exercise

Another great exercise to isolate the obliques at the side of your body.

Step on one end of the loop and hold the other end at your side with some tension in the band. Stretch the band by bending your body to the other side as far as possible.


#43 Good Mornings

Good Mornings

This works primarily your lower back, helping to avoid problems in this area which are often caused by having weak muscles.

Loop the band around your neck and stand on the other end. Bend forward, keeping your lower back slightly arched, and then stretch the band by straightening your body.


#44 Kneeling Superman

Kneeling Superman

This again will isolate your lower back muscles, while also bringing your shoulder, hip and glute muscles into play.

Kneel on all fours with the band looped around one hand and the opposite foot. Now lift your arm and opposite leg as high as possible, stretching the band, and hold for a few seconds.


#45 Band Pull Through

Band Pull Through

Great for blasting your lower back, hips and glutes.

Secure the band at waist height behind you and reach down between your legs to hold the end of the loop. Stretch the band by straightening your body, using your lower back muscles.




#46 One Arm Push Up

Assisted One Arm Pushup

The one arm push up is an incredibly difficult chest exercise but using a resistance band can help you work up to it.

Attach the band above you and loop it around your waist, making sure there’s some tension in the band. Now perform one arm push ups with the band taking some of the weight off.


#47 Planche Push Up

Planche Push Up

The planche is one of the hardest calisthenics exercises there is. Again, using stretch bands is an excellent way to get yourself accustomed to the movement gradually.

With the band attached high up and looped around your ankles, get into a planche position and try do push ups without your feet touching the floor.


#48 One Arm Pull Up

One Handed Pull Up

Build up to doing one arm pull ups by using a band to take some of the weight off at first.

Loop the band onto the bar and try to do pull ups with one arm while pulling down on the band with the other arm.


#49 Muscle Up

Muscle Up

Use the band in the same way as if you were doing assisted pull ups.

Loop the band onto the bar and step into the loop with both feet. Now you can do assisted muscle ups with the band making things easier.


#50 Front Lever

Front Lever

You can either loop the band onto the same bar you are holding or, if possible, a little further in front.

Now you can perform assisted front lever exercises more easily.

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