Five great band exercises you should be doing

October 31, 2015

In my last column, I made the case for why everyone should be integrating band training into their daily workouts. So this week I decided to share my five favorite band exercises, how to perform each correctly and why they would be extremely valuable additions to your workout routine.

Face pulls - figure-8 band

Face pulls are my favorite exercises for strengthening the rear delts and preventing shoulder injuries, because they target the back of the shoulders to provide balance and security to the shoulder and rotator cuff. To perform band face pulls, grip the band in front of your chest with your elbows bent and upper arms parallel to the floor. Pull the band toward your face while keeping your elbows up until the band stretches all the way across your chest and your elbows point backward. Slowly allow your shoulders to move forward and the band to return to the starting position while keeping it tight and tense. Do not allow the tension to relax at any point during the movement. Repeat for the desired amount of reps, but once you can do 20 or more, it’s time to move up to a different color and thicker band.

RDLs with super band

Romanian deadlifts can be very difficult to teach to a novice lifter, but substitute a superband for the bar and you will have instant success with isolating the hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors.

To perform an RDL with a superband, put the band around your right foot and step on it while stretching the other end under your opposite foot. Pull the band over your left shoe and stretch it until you can hook the open end over your right shoe. Now bend with your butt out, head up and grab the band in the middle with both hands and thrust your hips forward, squeezing your hamstrings and glutes until you are in the standing position with the band stretched to your waistline. Descend back to the starting position, keeping the band tight, and repeat.

Upright rows with superband

An upright row with a band can be an excellent way to get a great shoulder workout, and it's much lower impact on your joints. To give this exercise a try, simply hold a superband in both hands and allow the other end to stretch to the floor. Step inside so that each foot is standing on the band and spread your feet shoulders' width apart so the band becomes more tense. Lift both arms toward the ceiling with your elbows pointing toward opposite walls until your hands reach chin level. Then slowly descend just short of lockout and repeat the move for the desired number of repetitions.

Abdominal band twists

Loop one end of the resistance band to a post or rack and attach the other end to a single handle. Standing with your side to the rack, grip the handle in both hands and move far enough from the rack or post so the band becomes tight. With your chest and butt out and a slight bend in your knees, slowly pivot at the waistline away from the band with your elbows slightly bent and your arms fused until you are facing the opposite direction. Then slowly return back to the starting position, keeping the tension on your core. This exercise will provide a fresh and intense way to hit the abs while targeting the obliques in a way that most abdominal exercises won’t.

Band push-ups

If you have been doing the same boring push-ups for years and need something fresh, try increasing the resistance by adding a band to the mix.

To get started, grip a continuous loop band in each hand and stretch it around your back with your hands on the floor in the traditional push-up starting position.

Bend your elbows until your chest lightly touches the floor and then push back to the starting position until completing the desired amount of reps or until you reach total failure. Band push-ups are an excellent way to build explosive power in the chest and target the lockout portion of most chest-pressing movements.

So step outside the box and add band work to your training program. Take advantage of a valuable training tool that most people ignore.

Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out for training tips, news and inspirational stories.


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