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9 Best Resistance-Band Workouts for Weight Loss, Fitness Experts Say

Try these simple yet effective moves to fast-track your weight loss.

If you want to lose weight, forget the crash diets, tricks, and gimmicks. You're going to have to make true lifestyle changes in terms of eating healthy and working out. One way to ensure that you actually stay committed is to choose exercises requiring minimal equipment that you can do anywhere, at any time, such as bodyweight workouts or resistance band workouts.

In fact, personal trainers say there are a handful of highly effective resistance band moves that can have you seeing weight-loss results in no time. By combining calorie burn with muscle building, you can rev up your metabolism and shred fat faster. Read on for their nine best resistance-band workouts.

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Young woman wearing white shorts and sports bra doing squat workout using resistance bands

Squats are a simple yet effective workout for building strength in your core and lower body. Studies have shown that they can help you lose weight and build lean muscle mass.

Ronny Garcia, CPT, a certified personal trainer for Blink Fitness, says that adding resistance bands to your squats can help build muscle, which can fast-track your fat loss.

"Squats target the lower body muscles, including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. By adding a resistance band, you add extra tension to the movement—this increases muscle engagement (i.e muscle growth), and, therefore, calorie burn," he says.


Man doing push ups using resistance bands on outdoor turf

If you've already mastered the push-up and need a greater challenge, adding resistance bands can take the move to the next level.

Begin by getting down into the push-up position and placing a resistance band over your back. Hold the ends of either side of the band in your hands and tighten it until it is taut but not stretched when you are in the lowered push-up position. As you push up, this will create tension that adds extra strain to your muscles.

"This exercise targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps, as well as the core," says Garcia. "The resistance band increases the difficulty of the exercise, leading to greater muscle activation, which is beneficial for strength and toning, and calories burned."

Standing rows

Young woman wearing an orange t-shirt doing standing rows with resistance bands

Standing rows is another fat-shredding exercise. To try it with resistance bads, you'll need a stable attachment such as a post or pole to create tension.

Begin by standing with your feet under the hips, your legs straight, and your body in upright alignment. Next, loop your resistance band around the attachment and hold each end of the band in front of your body at shoulder height in front of your chest, says Portia Page, NCPT, PMA, a certified personal trainer and Balanced Body Educator at Balanced Body. Bend your knees just slightly, and pull your arms in and your elbows to your sides. Repeat each exercise for six to 10 reps, Page recommends.

This exercise should engage several muscle groups at once. "Standing rows target the upper back, shoulders, and biceps. The resistance band provides constant tension, making the muscles work harder, which promotes muscle growth and toning," Garcia says. He notes that this exercise is "also great for improving posture."

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Reverse fly

Young female athlete using resistance band while working out in the living room

Next, Page recommends reverse fly exercises using resistance bands.

To begin, place your band under your feet, positioned about one foot apart, holding each end of the band in your hands. "Soften your knees, hinge the hips forward, and reach your arms towards the floor," the trainer says. "Pull both arms out to the side, pulling the shoulder blades together behind the back, and return arms to the starting position."

Page notes that besides contributing to calorie burn, this workout can also improve muscle tone and posture. "This strengthens the middle and upper back and the back of the shoulders. These are muscles that help with holding better posture throughout the day in standing and seated alignment," she tells Best Life.

Glute bridge

Woman doing banded glute bridge workout in her living room

Glute bridges will have you feeling the burn in your backside while simultaneously helping you burn calories and build muscle. Adding a resistance band helps ramp up the challenge of this simple workout move.

Begin by laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground about one foot apart. Place a resistance band around your legs, just above your knees. Begin the exercise by pulling your knees apart, creating tension in the band, and then lift your bottom off the ground until your body runs in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders on the ground.

"Glute bridges, especially using a resistance band, target the glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles. They also improve hip mobility. The extra tension added by the resistance band is crucial for strengthening and toning the lower body," says Garcia.

Bicycle crunches

Side view of athletic young woman wearing purple workout outfit lying on football field and doing elbow to knee crunches with elastic band on hips

Bicycle crunches are a great way to tone up and burn calories, and adding resistance bands only enhances their impact. You can place your resistance bands around your feet or around your thighs, depending on the band's size and your exercise goals.

To master the move, you'll begin by lying on the ground with your hands behind your head. By crossing your right elbow to meet your left knee, then switching to cross your left elbow to your right knee, you should feel that your feet are engaged in a pedaling motion.

"Bicycle [crunches] engage the ab muscles and hip flexor muscles. This is an overall great exercise to tone your core, and by adding a resistance band, you make the exercise more challenging," says Garcia.

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"The Propeller"

Muscular man exercising with elastic resistance band on purple background

Dynamic exercises that use resistance tubes such as "the propeller" can also give you maximum results when it comes to weight loss, says Nick Kumar, chief exercise officer of the fitness site Desi Grit. That's because they combine cardiovascular exercise and strength training into one seamless workout.

To try it, hold the ends of the resistance tubes in your hands and enter a squatting position. Rotating your arms in a propeller-like motion, twist your torso and allow the tube to wrap around your lat muscles before switching sides. This is a more advanced move, so watching a video tutorial can help you get the hang of it.

"The Propeller is such an awesome resistance band workout because it's a whole-body exercise that improves movement and conditioning while also building muscle," he says. "The motion of 'the propeller' hits several muscle groups in the chest, back, shoulders, arms, glutes, legs, and core. And increasing the speed and intensity of each sub-movement creates a dynamic, fun HIIT routine."


Man doing lunge workout with resistance band outdoors in the sun

Lunges are another simple yet effective workout that you can take to the next level using resistance bands. Holding the ends or handles of your band in your hands and dropping its center to the ground, step on the band with your left leg. Bring your right leg back behind you and lift the right heel.

Next, you'll need to bend your elbows and lift your hands to shoulder level, pulling the band taut. Keeping your core engaged, push through your anchored left heel and lunge downward.

Donkey kicks

Woman wearing pink workout outfit doing donkey kick leg workout using resistance bands

Donkey kicks, also known as donkey rear leg raises, is another exercise that adapts easily to the added challenge of resistance bands.

Begin by kneeling on all fours so that your torso is parallel to the ground. Looping your resistance band in half, hold both ends of it in your right hand against the ground. Slipping the ball of your right foot through the band's center, lift your leg and push it back and upward toward the ceiling.

"The greater the challenge, the higher the calorie burn," Garcia says.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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