No Excuses! 7 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

We’ve all found ourselves in situations where our workout gets sidelined. Maybe you’re stuck in a hotel room for a work trip, your beach vacation got rained out, or a missed flight leaves you in the airport for entirely too long. It’s a complete pain, especially if you’re not into bodyweight exercises. You may spend hours watching bad daytime TV or scarfing airport food, which will ultimately lead to remorse and wasted calories.

By packing just a resistance band, you can discretely complete a full strength program. Convinced? Purchase the appropriate band for your fitness level and estimated workout plan. Pack it in your suitcase and you can work out in a pinch.

1. Squat

Couple training and getting ready for squats

Squats are tough with resistance bands. | iStock.com

You may have thought you left the weighted squat back at the gym, but this killer exercise is one of the top ways to burn calories and keep your quads, calves, glutes, and lower back in tip-top shape. Stand on the band with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Holding a handle in each hand, bring the top of the band over each shoulder. Lower yourself straight down into a deep squat, keeping your chest up and your abdominals tight. Align your knees out over your toes before rising back up to the starting position. Complete eight to 12 repetitions for three total sets.

2. Bent-over row

close-up of a man performing a row exercise

Rows are excellent for your back. | iStock.com

If you have back problems or a day of sitting in a tiny, straight-backed airplane seat has your back acting up, it may feel good to release some of the tension with a resistance band-assisted back-strengthening exercise. Start in the same position as you did for the squat, standing on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and hinge forward at the waist, jutting your hips back. Grab each handle with your hands facing outside of your knees. With your elbows bent, pull the band up toward your shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull up until your elbows form 90-degree angles. Lower your arms back down and repeat for 10 to 12 reps and a total of three sets.

3. Reinvented push-up

Resistance bands

Resistance bands can make your push-ups even harder. | iStock.com

Love it or hate it, the standard push-up is one of the most effective exercises for building your chest, abs, triceps, and shoulders. Get into plank position and drape the resistance band across your upper back. Loop both ends of the band through your thumbs and place your hands on the ground. Tighten your glutes and abs and push straight up until your arms are fully extended. Lower down, chest to the floor, and shoot for anything between five and 20 reps, completing three sets.

4. Lateral raise

Man showing his muscles

Try this move for stronger shoulders. | iStock.com

If you’re looking to build wide, strong shoulders, then the resistance band lateral raise may quickly become your new best friend. This isolation exercise focuses on the shoulders to get results fast. Stand with your feet centered on top of the resistance band, keeping your legs shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle with your arms down at your side, keeping your palms facing inwards. Bend your elbows slightly and raise your arms straight out to the side, bringing them up to shoulder-level. Slowly lower back down. Shoot for eight to 10 reps and three sets. 

5. Bicep curl

resistance bands, exercise

Your biceps will benefit from these. | iStock.com

If you’re like most guys, you’re constantly working to grow or maintain your biceps. This resistance band exercise will do the trick. Set up for this exercise like you did for the lateral raise by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart as you stand over the middle of the resistance band. Grab each end of the band while leaving your arms down at your sides. With your palms facing in front of you, slowly pull your arms toward your shoulders by bending at the elbow until you get a good bicep contraction. Lower back down slowly and repeat until you’ve completed 12 to 15. Repeat for three total sets.

6. Tricep kickback

Man lifting weights

Work your triceps with resistance bands. | iStock.com

If you’re going to do some major bicep work, don’t forget to give your triceps a little love. Start by standing on the band with one end in each hand as you did for the squats. Keeping your back straight, hinge at the waist and bend your elbows until your hands are just below your shoulders. From here extend your arms straight back so they run parallel to the ground. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat eight to 10 times to complete the set. Complete two more rounds.

7. Russian twist

Man getting ready for workout

Your obliques will thank you for this one. | iStock.com/gzorgz

This fat-busting resistance band exercise is known as the Russian twist. Sit on the floor with your legs extended and wrap the band around the bottom of your feet. Hold the ends in each hand and slightly bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor. Lean your torso back 45 degrees, then rotate the band to the right by bringing your left hand across your body and your right hand down by your right hip. Contract and tighten your oblique muscles as you bring the band toward your right hip and keep your back in a neutral position. Return to starting and rotate left. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.