Looking for a new workout routine to use tomorrow? Grab a resistance band and get your clients to add weight to their workout without actually adding weights. This tried and true piece of equipment gets left hanging, when it’s actually perfect way to progress older clients. It’s a handy tool that can be utilized in many ways.
The resistance band is a versatile and dynamic piece of gym equipment, especially concerning your clients in the age group of 40-60 years. When working with this age group, exercise options can sometimes become limited. Resistance band work is perfect for those clients that can’t or don’t want to perform heavy weight bearing exercises, who need to strengthen stabilizing muscles, and for overall joint and connective tissue health.
With clients that have movement and strength limitations, resistance bands are your answer. It is a way to progress from body weight exercises, and simulate resistance training without the actual weights.
Full body resistance band workout
I use two different types of bands in this sequence, the full loop and the long band with hand holds. I’ll specify which band is being used for each exercise.
Resistance Band Lunge Variation: Full loop band
- Lay band flat on the ground and step on the center with front foot.
- Lower back knee to floor so you are kneeling and are able to reach both ends of band.
- Grasping an end in each hand and stand up, arriving in the beginning position (first picture).
- There should be tension in the resistance band when in the beginning position, you might need to grab further down the ends of the band.
- Lower into a lunge (second picture) the band will go slack, the resistance is created when you extend the knees back to their beginning position.
*The elbows are always extended throughout this exercise. Cue your client to keep shoulders away from ears; when returning to beginning position shrugging of shoulders tends to occur.
12 repetitions each side: 3 sets: 10 second rest between sides: 15 second rest between sets
Resistance Band Dead Lift: Full loop band
- Hold one side of the band (side A) so the other side (side B) hangs loose towards the ground.
- Step feet through; feet are now anchoring side B onto the ground under the feet. Make sure feet are placed wider than hip distance, with toes pointing forward.
- Gently release side A so it lays on the ground over side B.
- Reach down and grasp both side A and B in each hand about 3 inches away from the feet, then stand up, arriving in the beginning position (first picture).
- Keeping grasp on the band, lower hips down and back. Putting weight into the heels, hands lowering towards ground, gaze is ahead, chest lifted and spine is long. Arriving in the end position (second picture).
*Cue your client to keep elbows extended throughout entire movement.
12 repetitions: 3 sets: 15 second rest between sets
Standing Oblique Twist with Resistance Band: Full loop or long band
- Anchor resistance band on stationary object
- Standing close to the bands anchor point grasp the unanchored end of the band and interlace fingers.
- Extend elbows so interlaced hands are pointing towards the anchored end of the band.
- Begin to step away from anchor point until a slight tension is created in the band.
- Once slight tension is created, place feet hip distance apart toes pointing forward and create a stable base.
- Interlaced hands, with resistance band within them, are still pointing towards the anchor point, with elbows fully extended. A twist is occurring in the torso, the hips and toes are still pointing directly forward. This is your beginning position. (first picture)
- Keeping elbows extended, turn torso until hands are pointing to the other side of you. (second picture)
- Using control, slowly return to beginning position.
*Make sure all movement is happening above the hips. Both hip bones and feet continue to point forward throughout entire exercise. Keeping the hips immobile is what creates activation of stabilizing muscles and activation of the transverse abdominus as well as the oblique and rectus abdominus.
20 repetitions: 2 sets: no rest between sides: 10 second rest between sets
Resistance Band Leg Abduction: Full loop band
- Anchor band to stationary object.
- Loop unanchored end around the outside foot (first picture).
- Standing leg will be slightly behind working leg so the band is running in front of the standing leg. This positioning creates space for the band so it does not rub against standing leg (first picture).
- Shift all weight into standing leg, working leg is clearing the ground and the working foot is in dorsiflexion (first picture)
- Abduct working leg, maintaining dorsiflexion of working foot, both feet have toes pointing forward. (second picture)
*Movement is only coming from the working leg. The abdominals and standing leg should be burning throughout this exercise. Do not let your client use movement in the torso as leverage to move the working leg.
15 repetitions: 2 sets: 10 second rest between sides: 15 second rest between sets
Chest Press with Resistance Band: Full loop or long band
- Lay back on bench, feet on bench as well.
- Band is looped under bench and each hand is holding an end of the band.
- Holding end of bands, the thumbs are pointing towards the body, elbows pointing out to the sides.
- Starting position is exactly like a traditional chest press, except using the resistance band rather than a bar or dumbbells (first picture).
- Extend elbows pushing up towards the ceiling (second picture).
- Return to beginning position and continue for desired number of repetitions.
*Be sure to loop band under the bench so that the band is in front of the arms during the exercise (can be seen in both photographs) – this will make it more comfortable for your client.
12 repetitions: 3 sets: 10 second rest between sets
Resistance Band Seated Shoulder Press: Long band with hand holds
- Lay band along length of a bench.
- Sit in the center of the band so an end is exposed on either side of you.
- Be sure the length of each end on either side is equal.
- Gripping the hand holds, bring hands to just above shoulder height, thumbs pointing towards the body, sitting up straight, elbows out to the side, and feet flat on the ground. This is the starting position (first picture)
- Extend elbows, raising hands up over head (second picture).
- Be sure that the shoulders are not shrugging when hands are over head.
*Depending on what feels more natural for your client you can start with the band behind the elbows (first picture) or start with the band in front of the elbows (third picture).
10 repetitions: 3 sets: 15 second rest between sets
Resistance Biceps Curl: Long band with hand holds
- Grasp a hand hold in each hand letting the band hang towards the ground.
- Step on the center of the band with one foot, anchoring the band to the ground (first picture).
- Elbows are tucked in close to the torso, palms are supinated, and gaze is ahead.
- Articulating only at the elbows, bring the bands hand holds towards the shoulders (second picture).
- Using control, slowly return to beginning position.
15 repetitions: 2 sets: 10 second rest between sets
These exercises will get you started. There is so much to be done with resistance band training, you just have to be creative!
Alex has her A.S in Exercise Science and is a certified Personal Trainer with the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NSCF). She recently traveled to India to gain her 200 hr yoga teacher certification where she studied the ancient practice at its origins. Alex has spent time teaching yoga in Spain while volunteering at a yoga retreat and is currently working at her local college instructing two fitness courses. Alex wants to share with her clients and students the mental, physical and emotionally healing qualities of exercise and movement. She believes everyone should have a healthy relationship with their bodies and strives to thread that concept throughout her career.