Resistance bands are latex workout tools that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and levels of thickness. A mini band is a small loop often used for lower body training, as in Aaptiv’s “Beat the Band” Workout. There are resistance band strength loops like Perform Better ones, resistance band tubes with handles like these from SPRI, and resistance bands with built-in anchor loops like B-Force Bands or Black Mountain Products. In this article, we will focus on the latter—bands that anchor to a sturdy object/door. These types of bands add even more exercises to choose from since you can use ankle cuffs or handles. Regardless of the type, resistance bands offer a low-impact, inexpensive, effective way to build muscle, improve core strength, and even get a cardio workout going.
The following full body workout uses bands that anchor to a sturdy object. It features mostly abdominal exercises, but also moves for the upper and lower body. Before we get into the workout, check out exactly how to set up bands.
How to Anchor
Option One: Install a Premade Anchor
An indoor space to screw a premade band anchor into would be a wooden or concrete wall. You can attach a device like a Stroops Spine or Anchor Gym to the wall using durable screws. Then, loop the resistance band of your choice around the anchor point.
Option Two: DIY Anchor
For handypersons, you can make your own anchor point out of wood, attach it to the wall, then screw a D-ring mount and D-ring to your own sturdy anchor point. Loop the band through the D-ring and you’re good to go. But, be careful: You want to make sure that whatever you’re attaching the metal D-ring to can support your weight and that the screws are super heavy duty.
Option Three: Resistance Band Anchor Loops
The aforementioned B-Force Bands and Black Mountain Products include an open loop at the end. So, wrap the band around a sturdy object like a wall beam, a park bench, or squat rack then tuck the band portion through the open loop at the end. Secure the band to the object by pushing the open loop towards the anchor point. This is the easiest way to use anchored resistance bands.
Once you’ve got your bands anchored, try this quick, total body workout anywhere:
Resistance Band Workout
Directions: There are three different circuits to perform in this workout. Do each circuit for three rounds, resting 30 seconds between exercises and two minutes between circuits. Circuits A and B will require you to attach the anchored bands to your ankles via ankle cuffs. Circuit C uses handle attachments held in the hands.
Knee to Elbow
How to do it: Attach ankle cuffs to your resistance bands and strap one cuff around each ankle. Get into a push-up position with back straight and your entire body two to three feet away from the anchor point. You should feel tension in your abs from the bands pulling away from you; this is the starting position. Bring the right knee up to touch the right elbow then bring the knee back to starting position. Next, bring the left knee to tap the left elbow and return to the starting position. That’s one rep each side.
Reps: Ten each side
How to do it: With ankle cuffs attached, get into a push-up position like the previous exercise. Now, jump forward feet in towards your stomach with a bend in the knees. Don’t go too high with your feet—you only need a small hop up with the feet to feel this in the lower abs since the bands are providing resistance. Jump the feet back to the starting (push-up) position. That’s one rep.
How to do it: Keeping the bands attached to your ankles, stand straight up, and step away from the anchor point until you feel yourself getting slightly pulled back; this is the starting position. Squat down, jump both feet back to a push-up position, return the feet towards your chest, then stand up. That’s one rep.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your legs straight and ankles still attached to the band. Lie far enough away from the anchor point to where you feel tension in your abs. Place your hands out to the side so that you are in a “T” shape on the ground. This is the starting position. Bring the knees to the chest as you simultaneously try to grab the top of your knees like you’re doing a cannonball into a swimming pool. Pause in this position for two to three seconds, then return the shoulders and legs back to the ground in the starting position. That’s one rep.
How to do it: Lie on your back in the same position as the beginning of the previous exercise. Keeping the legs straight, kick one foot six to12 inches off the floor, bring it down, then kick the other foot six to12 inches off the floor. Continue to alternate the kicking legs.
Duration: 30 seconds
Lying Knee Raise
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent far away enough from the anchor point so that you feel tension in your lower abs; this is the starting position. Point your toes into the ground with your knees bent then raise the knees up and towards your chest. Since the band is attached to your ankles, this move targets the lower abs. Keeping the knees bent, return both legs to the ground, tap the toes into the ground and start the next rep.
How to do it: For this exercise you’ll want to attach handles that you can hold with your hands to the bands then anchor the bands. Lie on your back holding one handle in each hand far away enough from the anchor point to where you feel tension in your core. Bend both knees, bring them off the ground, and straighten both arms; this is the starting position. Here, you are going to lower the right arm while keeping it straight as you simultaneously straighten the left leg. So, opposite arm and leg are straightening away from each other. Bring the right arm and left leg back to the starting position (next to the other hand and bent knee). Now, alternate by bringing the left arm back and straightening the right leg out. Return to start. That’s one rep on each side.
Reps: Ten on each side
How to do it: Stand facing the anchor point making sure that you’re far enough away where there is tension in the bands. Hold the band handles in front of you using a neutral or supinated (palms facing up) grip with arms straight; this is the starting position. Keeping the back straight, bring your elbows and arms behind you as you pull the band towards your chest. Pause for one to two seconds and return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
How to do it: Stand facing the anchor point making sure that you’re far enough away where there is tension in the bands. Hold one band in each hand using a supinated grip in front of your hips; this is the starting position. Bring both bands up towards your chin, squeeze the biceps at the top, then return back down to your hips. That’s one rep.
Mark Barroso is an NSCA-CPT and Spartan SGX Coach.