6 Tough Full-Body Workouts You Can Do With Just Resistance Bands

Even though there isn’t one best way to stay physically active, full-body workouts are always going to be a fantastic choice. You hit multiple muscle groups, which maximizes calorie burn and also minimizes your chances of getting injured. Fortunately, you don’t even need to deal with the frustration of waiting for gym equipment to get a fantastic sweat session. As long as you have some resistance bands, you can strengthen every part of your body at work, at home, or when you’re on the road. You can even use them with some basic heart-pumping exercises for a seriously tough cardio session. Find out just how fit you can get with resistance bands by trying these six full-body workouts.

1. Tabata with resistance bands

man using resistance bands at the park

Resistance bands can give you a serious workout. | iStock.com/InnerVisionPRO

Don’t shy away from this workout if you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, because tabata is simply a structured HIIT workout that involves 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight total rounds. That’s right, this type of workout only takes four minutes. The important thing to keep in mind, though, is those 20 seconds should be as hard as you can muster.

For this variation with resistance bands, featured on T Nation, you’ll do a combination of squats with rows, punches, tight rotations, and swimmers. As the accompanying video shows, proper form is essential during this workout. And feel free to substitute other moves to add some variety.

2. 6-move resistance band circuit

Muscular male using resistance bands

Try a circuit workout for a challenge. | iStock.com

Some full-body programs can take forever since they require so many different lifts. This doesn’t have to be the case if you pick compound exercises. This six-move circuit from Men’s Fitness does just that with everything from resisted push-ups to split squats combined with curls. You’ll complete the circuit three times with 30 seconds of rest between each round.

This workout is also good for any fitness level because it’s so easy to vary the intensity based on which band you choose. You can also start with two rounds to make things more manageable. And there’s no need to use the resistance band during the push-ups if regular ones are already a challenge for you. As you get stronger and fitter, you can adjust.

3. The anywhere resistance band workout

woman performing seated rows with resistance bands

You can utilize resistance bands anywhere. | iStock.com/edenexposed

You’ll see plenty of strength-training workouts saying they can be performed anywhere, but there always seems to be some limitation. You need a pull-up bar, some of the moves require a partner, or you need to set aside a huge chunk of time. Fortunately, you won’t need any of that with this resistance band workout from Greatist, which you really can do in any setting. This five-move circuit includes push-ups, seated rows, lunges, standing presses, and vertical extensions to hit every major muscle group. Once you can perform more than 25 repetitions of each move, it’s time to reach for a band with more resistance.

4. Cardio resistance band workout

man using resistance bands

You can do cardio with resistance bands? | iStock.com/Milan Stojanovic

If you’re tiring of always using a jump rope as your portable fitness tool, change things up by packing resistance bands instead. They’re every bit as capable of delivering a heart-pounding workout and they’re even more versatile. Just check out this cardio session from Shape. The workout involves boxing, jumping, squatting and more. It gives you the same benefits as hitting the treadmill and lifting weights, but in just a fraction of the time.

5. Tae Bo with resistance bands

woman using resistance bands to make punching harder

Tae Bo is alive and well. | iStock.com/Demid Borodin

Tae Bo may not be as trendy today as it was in the 90s, but it’s far from dead. In fact, Billy Blanks created an updated take on the system for Fitness that uses resistance bands in a routine with plenty of kicking and punching. The moves are already fast-paced, so the added resistance will make this workout super challenging. One thing to note: You’ll need two resistance bands to complete the routine.

6. 3-exercise resistance band circuit

woman uses resistance bands for overhead press

Stick with a simple circuit to avoid any confusion. | iStock.com/Ben Harding

It can be really difficult to remember a laundry list of exercises when you’re in the middle of a workout, so simple circuits like this squat-based one from STACK are fantastic. It’s varied enough to keep you from getting bored but simple enough that you won’t forget what’s coming next. It combines rows with squats, overhead presses with squats, and standing press-outs with twists.

This might sound like a lot of squats, and it is, but that’s not a bad thing. The classic move is one of the best ways to target your glutes, which are often the source of injuries. Runners World explains a weak backside can result in Achilles tendinitis, knee problems, and shin splints, so plenty of glute exercises will really reduce your risk of getting hurt.

Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec