Use this nine-move home workout to build lean muscle
Given how hard it became to buy home gym equipment after the COVID-19 pandemic began, we should all take steps to ensure that never again are we left unprepared for an extended period at home. One of the best ways to do so is to buy yourself a set of resistance bands. Along with canned food, toilet roll, petrol and Marmite, we reckon they’re right up there with your survival essentials when the world outside shuts down.
That’s because resistance bands are a cheap and effective way to exercise wherever you find yourself, plus they require less storage space than pretty much any other exercise gear. They’re also handy to have when the world isn’t in lockdown, since you can slip them in a bag and ensure you can nail a quality workout on the road – and they can be used for a wide variety of workouts, from slow strength sessions to high-paced HIIT blasts.
If you’re stuck for ideas for what to do in that workout, let us help you out. We asked Let’s Band master trainer Ben Fildes for a full-body resistance band workout and he duly obliged with the routine below. The whole workout should take no more than 15 minutes, but if you’re not tight for time, carry on for another round or two, or add some extra sets.
The Types Of Resistance Bands You’ll Need For This Workout
Resistance bands all work in the same way but they’re not all the same. You can get looped bands or various sizes and strengths, or a straight band which has two ends. Often the latter will have handles to make them easier to hold. The colour of a band is usually a clue to how strong it is: blacks and blues tend to offer greater resistance than reds and greens, which in turn are tougher than yellows. However, this is not always the case, so do check you’re buying something that’s appropriate for your fitness level.
In the workout below, two types of bands are used. A small looped band is good for stepping into and placing just above or below your knees for moves like the glute bridge, while you’ll need a larger looped band that can go around your shoulders while you stand on it for exercises like squats.
You can find a great set of small looped bands for £15 or less, like this INMAKER kit, which also comes with a carry case. If you’re looking for larger looped bands, though, you’ll generally have to buy them individually. The AmazonBasics bands are a good option here if you’re keeping to a tight budget: the resistance level of each band is listed so you can be sure you’re spending your money on one that’s the right strength for you.
Full-Body Resistance Band Workout
1 One-arm biceps curl
Sets 1 Reps 12-15 each side
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with both feet on the resistance band. Grasp the band with one hand and hold it with your arm down at your side, palm facing forwards. Bend at the elbow and lift your arm toward your shoulders until you get a good biceps contraction. Then lower slowly back to the start. Do all your reps on one arm, then switch.
Sets 1 Reps 12-15
Hold the resistance band in both hands, arms stretched straight out to the sides at chest height, with the band going behind your back. Press the band straight out in front of you, bringing your hands together with your arms fully extended, keeping your elbows up throughout and squeezing your chest muscles as you press. Slowly return to the starting position.
3 Front squat
Sets 1 Reps 8-15
Stand on the resistance band with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and bring the top of the band up to rest on the front of your shoulders. Lower into a squat, with your chest up and your knees over your toes. Then push up to the starting position.
4 Side-lying hip abduction
Sets 1 Reps 10-12 each side
Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent at 90° and the resistance band looped just above your knees. Raise the upper leg to pull your knees apart while contracting your glutes for two to three seconds, then slowly return to the starting position. Do all your reps on one side, then switch.
5 Glute bridge
Sets 1 Reps 10-15
Loop the resistance band just above your knees and lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent at 90°. Lift your toes off the floor, then raise your hips until you form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders, contracting your glutes throughout the entire movement. As you raise your hips open your knees slightly to press against the resistance band.
Sets 1 Reps 8-10
Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. Grip a shoulder-width section of the resistance band with both hands in front of you at shoulder height. Keeping your arms straight, pull the band out and back until your shoulder blades contract. Slowly return to starting position.
7 Lateral walk
Sets 1 Reps 8-10 steps in each direction
Loop one resistance band just above your knees and another around your ankles. Drop into a half squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart to create tension in the bands. Then take a small step to the side, keeping tension in the bands as you move. Do all the steps in one direction, then switch.
Sets 1 Reps 5-15
Get in a plank position, draping the resistance band across your upper back and holding the ends under your hands. Drop your chest down towards the floor, then contract your glutes and abs and push straight up until your arms are fully extended.
9 Squat to overhead press
Sets 1 Reps 8-10
Stand on the resistance band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Position your hands at shoulder level with your palms facing up, holding the resistance band. Drop into a squat, then push back up and fully extend your arms so you raise the resistance band overheard. Then lower slowly into another squat.