Resistance band exercises for beginners

15 Resistance Band Exercises For Beginners: Full-Body Movements With How To Pictures!

For those who are new to band training, it can be puzzling how to use what’s essentially a giant elastic band. This post shares 15 of my favorite full-body resistance band exercises for beginners to try (with how-to pictures!).

Beginners can use resistance bands just like they would use free weights. In fact, most free weight exercises can be replicated using bands. The best resistance band exercises for beginners are safe to perform and result in maximal muscle activation.

My resistance band exercise recommendations for beginners based on my 5 year experience.

You can keep reading below for my band exercise recommendations.

They’ve been cherry-picked from my 5+ years of experience using resistance bands.

All exercises are relatively safe, work the full body, and can be performed using bands with or without handles!

Recommended Beginners Resistance Band

My resistance band recommendations for a beginner.

This post demonstrates with pictures, 15 resistance band exercises for beginners.

For those who are interested, I use the Undersuns in the photos.

Having tried multiple brands in the past, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier than I have with the Undersun bands.

They’re durable, come with a lifetime warranty, and also come bundled with a high-quality door anchor (which is important to perform some of the exercises mentioned in this post).

If you’re interested, you can find the cheapest Undersun price here!

Picture of how to do the body weight squat with resistance bands wrapped around the knees.

1) Bodyweight Squats With Resistance Bands Around Knees

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
QuadricepsCore
Hamstrings
Glutes
Calves
Hip abductors

How To Do It:

  1. Wrap resistance bands around your knees and stand with your feet at a shoulder-width distance apart.
  2. Bend the knees to slowly lower yourself towards the ground, all the while pushing your knees outward to maintain tension in the resistance band.
  3. Keep your shoulders back, maintain a straight spine, and use your arms for balance throughout the movement.
  4. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  5. Drive with both legs to bring yourself back to the starting position.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

Squats are without a doubt one of the best resistance band exercises for beginners and advanced trainees alike, equally effective for building lower body muscle, as well as burning fat and toning.

But valgus knees (where they cave inwards) are a common issue for beginners.

By looping a band around the knees, you effectively force them outwards to reduce inward caving and build a stronger squat!

Picture of how to do the resistance band leg kickback.

2) Banded Leg Kick Back

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
GlutesQuadriceps
HamstringsCalves
Core

How To Do It:

  1. Loop one side of a resistance band over one foot and the other side held firmly using both hands.
  2. Drop onto your hands and knees, laying on your forearms for balance.
  3. Kick back the foot on which the resistance band is wrapped around to extend that leg.
  4. Stop the movement when the thigh is in line with your torso.
  5. Slowly bring the leg back down towards the torso.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

A popular goal is to tone and shape the lower body (i.e. the legs and butt!).

And this is one of the easier and more effective resistance band exercises for beginners to do exactly that.

Balancing can feel slightly awkward at first, but give it a few workouts and you should get the hang of it.

It’s a great resistance band movement to isolate the hamstrings and glutes, as well as torch calories to burn fat!

Picture of how to do the band front squat.

3) Resistance Band Front Squat

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
QuadricepsCore
HamstringsDeltoids
Glutes
Calves

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with both feet at a shoulder-width distance apart, stepping on a resistance band to keep it pinned to the floor.
  2. Loop the other end of the resistance band around your shoulders and secure it by hooking it with your thumbs.
  3. Keep your hands held close to the chest to prevent the band from slipping.
  4. Bend your knees to bring the body towards the floor.
  5. Maintain a straight back, pull your shoulders back, and keep your head up throughout the movement.
  6. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  7. Use both legs to drive your back up to the starting position.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

This is arguably one of the most effective resistance band exercises for beginners to target the lower body.

In terms of difficulty, it’s the next step up from the knee-banded squat (see #1).

Although the resistance band front squat can be a difficult movement for beginners, it’s ideal for burning belly fat, building lower body muscle, as well as toning the butt and legs!

So I’d highly recommend slowly working your way to mastering this exercise!

Picture of how to perform tut bicep curls using resistance bands.

4) TUT Banded Bicep Curls

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
Biceps brachiiDeltoids
Brachialis
Brachioradialis

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with both feet at a shoulder-width distance stepping on a resistance band to keep it pinned to the floor.
  2. Use both hands to grab the free end of the resistance band at a length that induces tension on the band.
  3. Slowly curl the band by bringing both hands towards the shoulders.
  4. Keep a straight back and avoid moving the upper arms throughout the movement.
  5. Slowly return to the starting position by bringing both hands back down in a slow and controlled manner.
  6. The movement should last 3 seconds on the upward phase (concentric) and another 3 seconds on the toward phase (eccentric).

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

Resistance bands CAN be better than weights for small exercises like the bicep curl due to their unique tension profile.

But only if you use them correctly.

Although the banded bicep curl is an effective exercise to build and tone the arms, a lot of beginners cheat by performing the movement too quickly and subsequently miss out on a lot of benefits.

The TUT (time under tension) variation of the bicep curl forces a beginner to slow down the movement and really feel their biceps contract!

Picture of how incline bicep curl with bands.

5) Incline Bicep Curl Using Resistance Bands

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
Biceps brachiiDeltoids
BrachialisCore
Brachioradialis

How To Do It:

  1. Anchor a resistance band to the bottom of a secure door. I use the Undersun band set (link for the cheapest price) which comes bundled with a high-quality door anchor.
  2. Grab either end using both hands.
  3. Facing away from the door, move forwards until tension builds in the band.
  4. Keep both arms pointing behind the torso and slowly curl the band towards the shoulders.
  5. Stop when the hands reach the shoulder.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

The incline bicep curl is one of the best resistance band exercises for beginners looking to build arm muscle.

It’s essentially a harder version of the TUT banded bicep curl (see #4).

The best thing about this movement is you don’t need a heavy resistance band weight.

A light band color will suffice since your biceps start the movement in a deficit position which maximizes muscle activation!

Picture of how to do the tricep pull down using resistance bands.

6) Tricep Pull-Down Using Resistance bands

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
Triceps brachiiDeltoids

How To Do It:

  1. Anchor a resistance band to the top of a secure door. I use and recommend the Undersun resistance band set because it comes bundled with a high-quality anchor. You can find the cheapest Undersun price here.
  2. Grab either end of the band using both hands.
  3. Pull down on the resistance band whilst keeping your elbows pointing backward.
  4. Stop when the arms are fully extended and slowly return to the starting position.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

The tricep pull-down is one of my favorite resistance band exercises for beginners to tone their arms.

A lot of newbies start training their arms using bicep curls, with the aim of toning and building the arm muscles.

But did you know that the triceps actually make up two-thirds of your arm?

So if you’re a beginner looking to quickly add definition to your arms, then this is the resistance band exercise for you

Picture of how to do the kneeling ab crunch with a resistance band.

7) Kneeling Resistance Band Ab Crunch

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
Upper abdominalsObliques
Lower abdominals

How To Do It:

  1. Anchor a resistance band to the top of a secure door. I use the Undersun anchor which comes bundled with their resistance band set (you can find the cheapest price here).
  2. Grab either end using both hands and kneel on the floor around 1.5 feet in front of the door.
  3. Hold the band behind your head and bring your head towards the floor in a sit-up motion.
  4. Stop just before the head touches the floor.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

Crunch-type movements are one of the most effective ways for a beginner to work their abs.

And one of the greatest benefits of using resistance bands for this exercise is that it makes it even more challenging and effective.

But band crunches can be difficult to perform using resistance bands without anchors.

By anchoring the band to the top of a door, you get the perfect angle and leverage to really isolate your abs!

But please make sure the anchor is 100% secure before attempting this movement. A lot of tension builds in the band!

Picture of how to perform core rotations with a resistance band.

8) Banded Core Rotations

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
Internal obliquesAbdominals
External obliques

How To Do It:

  1. Anchor a resistance band midway up a door or lampost and stand with the front of your torso angled away from the band.
  2. Grab either end of the band using both hands and hold both arms straight in front of you.
  3. Rotate the torso away from the anchor, stretching the band as you rotate.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

This is one of the more effective resistance band exercises for beginners to work their obliques (the muscles surrounding your main 6-pack abs).

It’s a simple but good and effective resistance band movement for working the exterior abs.

Now, you won’t build a 6-pack from doing this exercise alone (you’ll need a low body fat percentage for that), but it will certainly help you to tone your abs!

Picture of how beginners can do do the leg raise with resistance bands.

9) Resistance Band Leg Raise

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
Lower abdominalsExternal obliques
Internal obliques
Upper abdominals

How To Do It:

  1. Anchor a resistance band to the bottom of a secure door and loop both ends around the feet.
  2. Lay on a comfortable yoga mat and spread your arms with hands planted on the ground for support.
  3. The band should have enough tension to keep it taught.
  4. Slowly bring both feet up whilst keeping a slight bend at the knees
  5. Stop when the legs are approximately 45° to the floor.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

This is one of the few resistance band exercises for beginners to isolate their lower abs.

In my experience, the leg raise is better when performed with resistance bands compared to weights (which is normally performed by holding a dumbbell between the legs) because the tension increases as the band stretches.

This means the movement becomes more difficult towards the top when using bands.

In comparison, the movement actually becomes easier towards the top when using dumbbells.


New to band training? You can check out my other post to find out how often to use resistance bands per week!

Picture of how a beginner can do the banded press.

10) Flat and Incline Band Presses

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
PectoralsDeltoids
Triceps

How To Do It:

  1. Wrap a resistance band around your mid-back and hold either end using both hands.
  2. Keep your elbows tucked towards into the torso, retract your shoulder blades and keep your head up.
  3. Use both hands to push the resistance band away from your body.
  4. Push at a 180° angle (flat) to target the mid pecs or 45° angle (incline) to target the upper pecs).
  5. Stop just before the arms become fully extended and before the elbows lockout.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

This is one of my favorite resistance band exercises for beginners because it’s so simple yet very effective.

You don’t need any additional equipment and it’s a relatively safe movement since the band stretches away from you.

The exercise itself is also extremely versatile.

You can either do high reps using a lighter tension to torch calories and burn belly fat, or decrease the reps and increase the tension to build muscle in the chest region!


You can check out my other article to find out exactly how many reps and sets to do with resistance bands!

Picture of how a beginner can do the push up using resistance bands.

11) Push-Ups With Resistance Bands

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
PectoralsDeltoids
Triceps
Core

How To Do It:

  1. Wrap a resistance band around your back and hold either end using both hands.
  2. Get on your knees and enter a push-up position with hands just wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keep your torso straight, brace the glutes and core, and tuck your elbows into your torso.
  4. Bend the elbows to lower your body towards the floor.
  5. Stop when your chest is a couple of inches from the floor and push yourself back up.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

Ok, I’ll admit that this is a challenging resistance band exercise for absolute beginners.

But it’s also very effective for building upper body muscle.

After all, you might be a beginner now but you also want to improve right?

If so, then start with band presses and bodyweight push-ups first, and then work your way towards doing banded push-ups for awesome upper body development!

Not only is this movement great for building muscle, but also good for burning fat and toning the body!

Picture of how to do the overhead press using resistance bands.

12) Overhead Press Using Resistance Bands

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
DeltoidsBack
TricepsCore
Upper pectorals

How To Do It:

  1. Stand on a resistance band and grab the opposite end using both hands.
  2. Keep your shoulder blades retracted, head up, buttocks braced for support, and the elbows tucked into the torso.
  3. Press both arms vertically upwards, simultaneously bringing the hands slightly backward as they move up.
  4. Wrists should always be stacked on top of the elbows throughout the movement (i.e. the elbows shouldn’t be flared out).
  5. Stop just before the arm fully extends and the elbows lock.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

Along with the band press, this is one of my other favorite resistance band exercises for beginners to build and tone an upper body.

Being a compound movement, it’s great for training multiple muscle groups at once.

Therefore this exercise gives you a great bang for your buck.

It’s a good resistance band exercise for burning fat as well as for building muscle in the shoulders and upper arms!


New to band training? You may be interested in my other post for a complete guide to using resistance bands at home!

Picture of how beginners can perform the band lateral raise.

13) Lateral Raise With Resistance Bands

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
Lateral deltoidsAnterior deltoids
Posterior deltoids
Trapezius

How To Do It:

  1. Stand on a resistance band to pin it to the ground using one foot and use the hand on the opposite side to hold the band.
  2. Keep a slight bend in the elbow and bring the arm upwards and outwards.
  3. Stop when the arm is parallel to the floor.
  4. Return to the starting position.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

Just like the overhead press, the resistance band lateral raise is one of the best exercises for beginners to gain muscle and tone in the shoulder region.

The difference here is that the lateral raise emphasizes the sides of your shoulders.

This makes it a great, and safe, exercise to tone your upper arms!


Undecided on whether or not to buy a set of bands? You can check out my other article to find out if resistance bands are worth the money!

Picture of how beginners can do the resistance band pull apart.

14) Resistance Band Pull-Apart

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
Posterior deltoidsBiceps
TrapeziusDeltoids
Rhomboids

How To Do It:

  1. Sit or stand up with your back straight and use your hands to hold the resistance band on each side.
  2. Straighten your arms in front of you.
  3. Move your arms outwards and backward whilst keeping them straight.
  4. Stop when the band touches your chest and your arms are in line with your torso.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

In terms of simplicity and safety, resistance band exercises don’t get better than this for beginners.

You can literally do this anywhere (even in bed!).

But don’t let its simple nature fool you.

The pull-apart works all the main muscles in your upper back.

It’s not the best fat-burning exercise. Nor is it the best muscle-building movement.

But it’s a convenient movement to add tone and definition to your back muscles!

Picture of how a beginner can do the resistance band row.

15) Resistance Band Back Row

Muscles worked:

PrimarySecondary
Trapezius Biceps
RhomboidsCore
Lats
Posterior deltoids

How To Do It:

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs extended straight in front of you.
  2. Loop a resistance band around both feet and grab both ends using your hands.
  3. Keep a straight lower back, retract your shoulder blades, and pull on the band.
  4. Stop when hour hands come in line with the navel (belly button).
  5. Slowly return the band to the resting position.

Why This Resistance Band Exercise Is Good For Beginners:

Having used resistance bands for over 3 years, I can honestly say this is THE best back exercise for beginners.

It’s relatively safe and simple to perform even for someone who has never used bands before.

And the benefits are tremendous.

Not only is it a great movement for building and toning your back muscles, but it also works your biceps as you pull on the band!


If you’ve just started your band journey, you may be interested in checking out my other article to find out how long it takes to see results using resistance bands!

Why I Recommend The Undersun Bands For Beginners

Why I recommend the Undersun resistance bands for beginners.

I’ve cycled through almost half a dozen sets in my 5+ years of resistance band training.

Some brands shave been OK, some bad, and some outright terrible (pssst stay away from the tube bands with handles).

Honestly, I can say the Undersuns offer the best value for money.

They’re affordable, come with a lifetime warranty (which is unheard of in any other competitor), and also comes bundled with a door anchor to perform all the exercises in this post!

And best of all, they come in 5 resistance levels.

That’s enough resistance to take a beginner to the advanced stages of band training!

If you’re interested, you can find the cheapest Undersun price here!

Conclusion

I’ve explained, with pictures, 15 of my favorite resistance band exercises for beginners.

The movements have been cherry-picked from my 5+ years of experience using resistance bands.

All of the exercises are relatively safe, are effective for newbies to start training with, and can be performed using bands with or without handles.

Together, they’ll work all the main muscles in your body.

As a beginner, feel free to try a few first and then give the rest a go!

Which beginner’s resistance band exercise are you looking forward to trying the most?

Let me know in the comments!

You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition I used to go from skinny to ripped!

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,

Kal

(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.