by: Yuri Elkaim

35 of the Best Resistance Band Loop Exercises to Get You Toned

You can pack almost an entire gym into one stretchy piece of rubber.

Yes, it sounds crazy, but once you start experimenting with loop resistance bands, you’ll realize the sky is the limit with the number of exercises you can do with just a band.

Loop bands and mini bands are lightweight, portable bands that can wrap around any part of your body or sturdy surface. They also have varying levels of resistance, making them amazing for at-home workouts, or for when you’re traveling and don’t have access to a gym.

Not to mention, they create a killer burn while still being low impact and easy on your joints.

Below you’ll discover 35 stretchy band exercises for every major muscle group, along with my top 5 resistance band exercise workouts.

Top 35 Resistance Loop Band Exercises (And Why)

Before getting started with these resistance loop exercises, you want to make sure your muscles are loose and warm.

Try combining a 5-minute dynamic warm up with some light banded glute activation exercises, like in this warm up, or with a series of banded good mornings, shown here. Both of these exercises help wake up your glutes and get your blood flowing.

This is especially important if you sit a lot, since this causes the glutes to get used to not being engaged throughout the day. As a result, you’re left with a weak bum, and without the support of those muscles you’re at risk for lower back and knee pain.

Lower Body and Glute Band Exercises

For these exercises, aim to get anywhere from 8 to 20 reps and 2 to 3 sets of each, depending upon your workout schedule and how much time you have available.

1. Sideways Band Shuffle

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner 
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

Band shuffles, or band walks as they’re sometimes called, do an excellent job of waking up your glute muscles, which can become weak and dormant from excessive sitting.

While inactive glutes can cause your other leg muscles and ligaments to compensate to hold you upright, active glutes reduce tension on other areas of your legs and knees to help prevent injuries.

2. Linear-Staggered Band Walk

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner 
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

This band walk has you moving forward and backward to target and activate your glutes as well as your hip stabilizer muscles. This helps you keep your balance and prevent injuries during other movements, while also giving your bum a nice lift.

3. Glute Bridge

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

The glute bridge is one of the best exercises for activating and lifting your glutes. Adding in a band raises the intensity, getting your entire lower body involved to lift your hips.

Try out the standard version if you’re a beginner. When you’re ready to take it up a notch, try the single-leg variation.

4. Banded Hip Thrust

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-advanced
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, bench
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

The hip thrust is a champion when it comes to building tight, round glutes. It’s also excellent for building lower body stability.

This exercise has three options below: the standard hip thrust, which is a great way to learn the exercise; a single-leg hip thrust, which is a step up in intensity; and the double-banded hip thrust, which doubles the resistance for double the burn.

5. Mini Band Kickback

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings

Kickbacks have always been excellent for lifting your glutes due to their ability to target and lift the major gluteal muscle, the gluteus maximus. Adding a band to your thighs to add resistance helps further activate and sculpt a tight backside.

You can make this exercise harder by using a resistance band with a higher weight resistance as you progress.

6. Banded Front Squat

Band Front Squat via Men's Health

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Quadriceps

The banded front squat is a winner when it comes to targeting your quadriceps. It also forces you to engage your core to help keep you upright.

You’ll notice as the band sits on your shoulders that it tries to pull you forward – resist this to help strengthen your stabilizer muscles.

7. Banded Clamshell

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, inner and outer thighs

The clamshell is excellent for targeting those hard-to-reach outer glutes, and inner and outer thighs. These are typical problem, especially for women, who tend to hold more fat in the hip area.

8. Seated Hip Abduction

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, bench or chair
  • Main muscles worked: Inner and outer thighs

The seated hip abduction takes the burn to your outer and inner thighs. It’s an easy exercise to do anywhere you have access to a chair or bench.

9. Banded Leg Extension

Banded Leg Extension via BJ Gaddour

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, bench or chair
  • Main muscles worked: Quadriceps

This exercise involves isolating the quadriceps with a band and holding it for a few breaths. Doing this can help ease tension on the knee joint by strengthening the surrounding muscles and tendons.

That said, listen to your body. Start with just a light amount of resistance if you’ve had knee issues in the past, and if this causes discomfort, skip it.

Alternatively, you can try doing elevated split squats or even keep it simple with static lunges.

See the exercise here: BJ Gaddour

10. Banded Standing Adduction

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, bench or chair
  • Main muscles worked: Inner and outer thighs

The banded adductor makes it easy to target that common problem area: your inner thighs.

While you can’t reduce fat on this area just by doing this exercise, you can strengthen the muscle so that when the fat melts away, you’ll have a nice pair of sculpted stems.

11. Single-Leg Mini Band Squat

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, bench or chair
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

This exercise helps you strengthen both legs equally and even out any strength imbalances, which is hard to do with exercises that use both of your legs. Additionally, it also engages more muscles in your working leg than if you were to squat with both legs at once, which leads to greater strength gains.

Why does this matter? It helps you build evenly-sculpted legs and glutes while improving your balance and power.

12. Standing Glute Kickback

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, stable beam
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes

The standing glute kickback is an excellent way to isolate and target your glutes by forcing only your glute muscles to lift your leg under resistance. If you’re looking to lift your bum, this do-anywhere exercise is where it’s at.

13. Mini Band Side Lunges

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, inner and outer thighs

Mini band side lunges give you all the side-lunge benefits of inner and outer thigh sculpting, combined with enhanced glute activation for a toned bottom.

You can make this exercise harder by looping the band around your thighs.

14. Band Squat and Lateral Lunge Combo

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, inner and outer thighs

The banded squat and lateral lunge combo is a serious burner for your entire lower body. This exercise will lift your bum while also sculpting your inner and outer thighs and, as a bonus, get your heart pumping.

15. Banded Back Extension

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, lower back and core

The banded back extension will squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to tone your entire backside, while also strengthening your lower back.

Exercises like this one that strengthen the lower back can also help prevent low back pain by strengthening the muscles that support the spine.

16. Lying Banded Dorsiflexion

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Dorsiflexors in the feet and toes, ankles

This exercise will help improve your foot and ankle range of motion and stability, which is particularly helpful when it comes to sprinting and performing balancing movements.

If you’ve ever sprained or rolled an ankle, adding these foot and ankle movements will be a game-changer.

They also can help improve your squats and jumps by strengthening the small muscles surrounding your ankles and throughout your feet, which helps you maintain proper form.

Upper Body Band Exercises

17. Band Chest Fly

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop bands, stable beam/equipment
  • Main muscles worked: Chest

No fancy equipment is needed when it comes to sculpting your chest.

You can make this exercise harder by using bands with a heavier resistance, or by stepping out further from the band anchor to create more resistance.

18. Bent Over V Raise

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop bands, stable beam/equipment
  • Main muscles worked: Shoulders, upper back

This one will help sculpt your shoulders and upper back as you raise your banded arms overhead.

You’re also holding an isometric squat while doing this exercise, so you get some extra lower body engagement as well. This will help you burn more calories (and thus more fat) because you’re engaging more muscles.

19. Band Triceps Extension

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, stable beam/equipment
  • Main muscles worked: Triceps

Loop bands are great for triceps extensions, which can help tone up that stubborn flabby area on the back of your arms. Simply attach to a stable surface and feel the burn through the back of your arms. Make this exercise harder the further you step out from your anchor point.

20. Band Lateral Raise

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Shoulders

Easily isolate those shoulders with this banded lateral raise. Raising the band directly out to your sides will work your medial deltoid muscles (the middle part of your shoulders), while moving your arms forward slightly will shift the focus to your anterior deltoids (the front of your shoulders).

You can make this one more challenging by using a band with heavier resistance.

21. Mini Band Push-Pull

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Shoulders, chest, upper back

The mini band push-pull combines isometric resistance to your shoulders while also sculpting the chest and back as you push and pull. Take this exercise up a notch by double looping the band.

22. Mini Band Shoulder Tri-Set

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Shoulders, chest, upper back, triceps

This set of three exercises targets your arms, chest, and upper back in just three simple moves. Get ready to feel an intense burn as you move from one to the next with minimal rest.

23. Band Pull-Apart

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, stable beam/equipment
  • Main muscles worked: Back, chest

The band pull-apart helps strengthen and tone your entire back and chest. Adding in variations at different angles will help make sure to get your lats involved as well.

You can make these harder by closing in your grip on your band.

Here are some good variations: John Rusin and here: John Rusin

24. Band Pull-Over

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, stable beam
  • Main muscles worked: Lats, core

Band pull-overs help strengthen your lats and engage your core, which can help enhance stability and improve your balance.

Make this exercise harder by lying further away from your band anchor.

25. Band Biceps Curl

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Biceps

No weights are required to get an awesome biceps pump and burn. If you’re looking to increase the intensity, try using a band with heavier resistance and really focus on controlling the band both as you’re lifting and lowering it.

26. Mini Band Lat Pull

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Lats, shoulders

Tone your shoulders and strengthen your lats with this simple lat pull down you can do anywhere.

Make it harder by gripping the band with a shorter distance between your hands while pulling down.

27. Cardio Band Row

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, stable beam
  • Main muscles worked: Back and lower body

Yes, it is possible to get in a great cardio workout using only a band. As a bonus, you’ll also sculpt your upper and lower body in the first version.

The easier version of the row will give you the same sculpting benefits with lowering the cardio intensity.

28. Banded Push Ups

  • Level of difficulty: Intermediate-advanced
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Upper body and core

While there are plenty of push-up variations, take your pushups to the next level by putting a band around them. This extra resistance will add a serious challenge for chest and arms.

Alternatively, you can make this exercise a little less challenging by doing them on your knees.

29. Explosive Band Press

  • Level of difficulty: Intermediate-advanced
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Chest

Explosive movements are excellent for building strong fast-twitch muscle fibers that improve power while also getting your heart rate up. And explosive chest presses are no exception – but they can be super challenging.

If you’re ready work some upper-body explosiveness into your routine, try this version of the explosive chest press, made a little  safer by using a band.

Core Band Exercises

30. Lying Mini Band Hip Flexion-Extension

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Abdominals, hips

This exercise helps strengthen your hip flexors, stability muscles, and abdominals, which will pull your core into a corset of lean muscle, while also improving your balance.

The closer your extended leg comes to the ground, the harder this one will be.

31. Band Pallof Press

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band, stable beam
  • Main muscles worked: Core, shoulders

The Pallof Press is excellent for strengthening your core by resisting rotation.

This is the true function of your abs and core, and when done regularly can help prevent spinal injuries and improve your balance.

32. Plank with Mini Band Knee Drive

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Core

Planks are one of the ultimate exercises for building a solid core due to their ability to engage nearly every muscle of the abdominals and lower back.

Adding in band resistance helps to engage the lower abdominals even more as they work to pull forward against your band.

33. Mini Band Bicycle

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Core

Adding your mini band to the old-school bicycle takes the core intensity up a notch as you hold and push the band with your feet. Be sure to focus on keeping your belly button drawn in during this exercise, and also avoid pulling on your neck with your hands.

The farther you extend your knees out while doing this movement, the harder it will be.

34. Banded Plank Kickbacks

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Core, glutes

There’s nothing like getting in a core workout and a glute-firming workout all in one exercise.

Here you’ll hold a plank while doing kickbacks, which will isometrically tone your abdominals and build stability, while the kickbacks sculpt your bum. Be sure to keep your abs braced.

35. Banded Bear Crawl

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner-intermediate
  • Equipment needed: Loop band
  • Main muscles worked: Core, glutes

The banded bear crawl challenges your core and glutes to move you across the floor against resistance. As a bonus, you’ll also get your heart rate up for an extra fat-burning effect.

4 Awesome Resistance Band Workouts

With so many options, you’re probably wondering how can you put these exercises together into an effective workout.

I’ve rounded up the top 5 band workouts that target the lower body, upper body, and core, so you’ll never be short on ideas.

Do these workouts 2 to 3 times a week for best results. You can either use them as standalone workouts by doing more sets, or add them into your regular routine as finishers for an extra burn.

1. 3-Way Butt Blaster

3-Way Butt Blaster via BJ Gaddour

  • Level of difficulty: Beginner 
  • Equipment needed: Mini band
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes

Say goodbye to sagging when you do this butt blaster, which targets the glutes from all sides. 

It’s also quick, making it ideal to use as a finisher to your regular lower body routine or while traveling. However, don’t mistake quickness for low intensity – this one will have you feeling the burn.

Find the workout here: BJ Gaddour

2. Single Band Fat Loss Circuit

Single Band Fat Loss Circuit via BJ Gaddour

  • Level of difficulty: Intermediate-advanced
  • Equipment needed: Mini band, bench
  • Main muscles worked: Total body

This circuit will propel you into fat-burning mode, while also toning your entire body with intense banded moves like Bulgarian split squats and pushups.

Be prepared for explosive moves in a circuit fashion that will, as BJ claims, “Light your abs on fire!”

Find the workout here: BJ Gaddour

3. Resistance Band Superset Workout

  • Level of difficulty: Intermediate-advanced
  • Equipment needed: Mini band, mat, chair
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

This is another workout that also doubles as a fat-burning cardio workout.

However, this one focuses on intense banded lower body exercises structured into supersets, so you’ll be getting maximum tone in a minimal amount of time.

4. MetaTempo Lower Body Workout

  • Level of difficulty: Intermediate-advanced
  • Equipment needed: Mini band, dumbbells
  • Main muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

This workout challenges you to get as many reps as you can of each movement in 2 minutes.

The result is a routine that not only sculpts your lower body but also gets your heart rate up so you can burn excess fat.

Want a Total Body Resistance Band Workout? Do This

Feel free to structure any of these exercises into a circuit-style band workout that targets your entire body.

An example of this that you can use as a finisher to your regular routine could look like:

Circuit 1:

  • Glute bridge – 10 to 15 reps
  • Banded push-ups – 10 to 12 reps
  • Band Pallof press – 10 to 15 reps each side

Circuit 2:

  • Banded front squat – 10 to 15 reps
  • Band chest fly – 10 to 15 reps
  • Plank with mini band knee drive – 20 reps total

Repeat each circuit 1 to 2 times through, with no more than a 30 second rest between exercises and a 60 seconds rest between circuits.

For example, go through circuit 1, rest for 60 seconds, go through circuit 2, rest for 60 seconds, then repeat.

Do this workout 2 to 3 days a week after your regular workouts for a finisher option, or use this as a total body workout by doing each circuit 3 to 4 times through.

Best Bands For Your Buck

Sling Shot Hip Circle

Now that you have an arsenal of exercises to choose from, your next order of business is to get yourself a durable, high-quality band.

Most bands are sold according to level of resistance, similar to weights. They can also be categorized by size, width, and thickness, giving you the opportunity to find a perfect fit.

Take into account your personal fitness level before you decide on a level of resistance to choose from.

RogueFitness in particular offers bands by bodyweight, like these, and also by color and level of resistance, like these. The great thing about Rogue’s Monster bands is that they can also be purchased in a “pull-up package,” so you get several bands with different levels of resistance. This makes them excellent for the exercises listed above, since you might need varying levels of resistance.

If you’re looking to browse around a bit, you’ll also find similar bands and packages on other sites, as well as in some sports stores.

Get a Great Workout Anywhere

As you can see, working with loop bands offers limitless exercises and workout variations, even for those of you who like to strictly work out at home.

Add them to your arsenal and watch the magic unfold.

No-Equipment-Necessary Workouts

You can burn fat and build strength using just the weight of your own body. Let me show you how!

Get my Bodyweight Workout, which is a 20-minute program that you can do pretty much anywhere.

It includes an instructional video, workout tracker, and follow-along audio. It’s $29 value – but you can get it right now for FREE by clicking the image below!
click here for your free 20-minute bodyweight workout that builds strength at the same time

Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.