Exercising with Resistive Fitness Band

 Exercising with Resistive Fitness Band

Download this resource as a PDF: Council Resistive Fitness Band Exercises

Resistive fitness bands provide an economical and portable means for strengthening muscles and increasing endurance. They are versatile and easy to use. You can purchase bands at sporting goods stores or physical therapy suppliers.

To prolong the life of your band and protect yourself, please follow these precautions and guidelines.

Safety Precautions & Storage

  • Keep band away from sharp objects. Beware of sharp fingernails, jewelry and stones in bottoms of shoes.
  • Store band at room temperature in a dry environment, away from direct sunlight.
  • If the band has been tied, untie it before storing.
  • Before each use, examine the band for small tears or punctures that may cause it to break. If you find flaws, discard and replace the band.

Exercise Guidelines

  • Perform each exercise 2-3 times/week on non-consecutive days with 1-2 sets of 8-15 repetitions.
  • To make an exercise more difficult, increase tension in the band by grabbing it closer to the anchor point (foot, mid-back, etc.). To decrease resistance, reduce tension (add slack) by gripping further from the anchor point.
  • Train, don’t strain. Go easy for the first few weeks, gradually increasing repetitions and resistance. Stop if you feel pain or dizziness.
  • Keep breathing. Don’t hold your breath. Exhale on the exertion phase of an exercise.
  • Never pull band directly toward your face.
  • Maintain slight bends in elbows and knees.

Resistance Band Exercises

Hips & Outer Thighs

  • SEATED ABDUCTION: While sitting with legs close together, wrap the band firmly around your thighs and hold the loose ends in your hands. Keeping your feet together, move thighs outward from the hips, pushing against the band, then release. Repeat to complete set.

Fronts of Thighs

  • SEATED LEG PRESS: Sit upright and lift your right leg. Bend the right knee with your toes pointed away from you. Place the center of the band under the right foot and grasp both ends in each hand. Slowly straighten and bend the knee. Complete set, and repeat on the left leg.
  • SQUATS: Stand with both feet on center of the band hip-width apart and toes turned slightly out. Hold band ends in each hand. Bend your knees while keeping the ends of the band up, your chest lifted, back straight, and abs braced. Knees move forward over the middle of your feet, butt stops just about the knee line. Return to standing. Repeat to complete set.

Backs of Thighs

  • STANDING LEG CURLS: Loop middle of band around the back of the right ankle. Anchor by placing ends together and standing on them with left foot. Brace hands against a wall, desk or chair back. Lift right leg behind the left leg. Bend right knee to bring your heel up toward your rear-end, then straighten knee. Complete set on right leg then repeat on left.


  • CHEST PRESS: While standing or sitting, wrap the band behind mid-back, grasping it with both hands so there is slight tension on band when elbows are bent 90º. The band is under the armpits. Push arms forward, keeping shoulders down, and return to start. Repeat.
  • CHEST FLY: In same position as Chest Press, bring elbows together across the mid-chest. Try to touch elbows (not hands) together, release. Keep your arms high and hands and wrists over elbows. Repeat.

Upper Back

  • SEATED ROW: While seated, place center of band under both feet and grasp each end with palms inward and elbows close to the body. Sit up tall with chest lifted. Slowly pull the ends of the band toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause, then slowly straighten your arms. Repeat to complete set.
  • STANDING ROW: Stand with left leg forward, right leg behind. Loop middle of band under left foot and grasp ends in right hand. Pull the ends diagonally toward your right hip, without moving your body. Squeeze your right shoulder blade, as though you are wrapping your arm. around your back, then release. Complete set, then repeat on other side.

Low Back

  • FORWARD BEND: Stand with band centered under both feet in shoulder-width stance. Grasp ends of bands with your hands by your sides. Bend forward from the hips with a back flat, abdominals tight, and head up. Pause, then stand up while pushing shoulders back and pressing heels into the floor. Repeat to complete set.


  • BICEPS CURLS: Stand with one or two feet on one end of the band and grasp the other end in your hand. Turn your palm toward the ceiling. While keeping your upper arm pressed against your body, bend your elbow to bring your hand up toward your shoulder, pause, then release and straighten arm completely. Complete set and repeat with other arm.
  • TRICEPS KICK-BACK: Stand with one end of band under your left foot and the other end in your right hand. Bring right leg behind and lean forward from the hips with your head up and your left hand braced against your left thigh or a chair. Place knuckles of right hand on right hip with elbow bent at 90º. Straighten the elbow while keeping shoulder braced, pause, and then bend elbow to bring knuckles back to hip. Keep the action in the elbow, not shoulder.


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  • FRONT ARM RAISE: Stand with one or two feet on one end of the band and grasp the other end in your hand. Arm is straight at your side, thumb against your thigh. With elbow slightly bent, lift arm forward until your hand is just below shoulder height. Pause, then bring arm down to start position. Complete set and repeat on other arm.
  • SIDE ARM RAISE: In same starting position as Front Arm Raise, lift arm to side (90º) until hand is just below shoulder height. Pause, then bring arm down to start position. Repeat.


  • SIDE BENDS: Stand with one or two feet on one end of band and grasp the other end in your right hand. Lift your right arm up until the elbow is straight. Keep the arm close to your head as you lean directly sideways to the left, pause, then return to standing. Repeat. Keep abs braced and be sure to move directly sideways with no forward flexion from the hips or back.
  • CRUNCH: Wrap band around something stationary such as a pole, and stand or sit with the pole behind you, holding band ends in each hand over your head. Tilt upper body forward from the hips, bringing your chest toward your thighs. Pause, return to start position, repeat.

Copyright 2016 Janet Essman Franz  •  Certified Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach •  vermontfitness@vermont.gov   •   (802) 238-8182  •   vermontfitness.org

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