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In this article, I’ll demonstrate the best resistance band loop exercises to develop a robust physique. Much of the debate circulating over the internet is “Can resistance bands develop muscle mass?” the answer to this question is yes. Resistance bands are capable of allowing the muscles to reach hypertrophy by increasing the tension. To increase tensity using resistance bands, you must increase the high volume of repetitions and perform isometrics to get to hypertrophy. Other factors include getting the most out of this apparatus, but I’ll mention them as you scroll down. Let’s get going and explore the benefits and vigorous exercises of resistance band loops.
What are resistance band loops?
Resistance loop bands look like rubber bands, but they’re enormous to use for exercise and rehabilitation. They can be fitting for compound, isolation, and isometrics. Compound exercises include two joints flexing and extending while compressing and expanding multiple muscles. Isolation only involves one joint to affect one muscle. Isometrics is about sustaining a concentric or eccentric hold as long as you can until muscles give out. Another valuable addition is loop bands benefit calisthenics isometric exercises. Many people who try bodyweight isometrics struggle to perfect the techniques. The reason is you are sustaining your entire body weight in mid-air in a horizontal plane. This is applicable by holding on to a pull-up, or dip bar. You can wrap the band onto the bar and attach the end of the band under the feet. Doing this will alleviate some of the weight to perfect the isometric technique.
Loop bands can also help alleviate some weight with basic calisthenics exercises like vertical pullups, and pushups. If you are a bit heavy and can’t pull your body weight up, attach the band on the bar and feet. The same applies to not being able to perform a dip. Attach the band to the bars and below the feet. Doing this will take off some of the weight so you can perform the techniques. Resistance band loop exercises are so versatile, they can mimic actions done with dumbells or cable machines.
How to clean and care for?
Resistance bands come from two types of material; latex and synthetic rubber. Both can carry out the exercises, but the best material is latex because they last longer and can lengthen more. To properly care for the bands, don’t use chemical cleaning products. These chemicals will deteriorate the latex material by discoloration, becoming brittle, and tearing. Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe off dust or mildew and then wipe again with a dry towel. Furthermore, place the bands in a dry, cool place to avoid further deterioration.
Are resistance band loop exercises practical?
Doing exercises with a loop resistance band is so versatile you can exercise anywhere at any time without going to the gym. The reason for this is that the apparatus is portable and lightweight. You can put them in a small bookbag anywhere you go to exercise. Another benefit of loop bands is wrapping them on a stationary object and you can do this anywhere. You can also wrap the band using a door anchor to mimic exercises done on cable machines. Lastly, mimicking workouts on dumbells or barbells can carry through using these resistance bands.
Now, can the loop bands increase resistance density to stimulate muscle growth? The answer is yes. The loop bands have at least five different resistance levels according to the thickness of the band. The color hue of a resistance band doesn’t matter. Separate companies can color the thickest band blue or the thinness blue. What matters is the thickness or thinness of the apparatus. To increase the resistance of a band is to grab it lower and pull. To decrease resistance, grap the upper region and yank. The second method to increase the intensity is adding another resistance band. Doing this will double the pressure when pulling the material. The last way is abducting your feet shoulder-width apart to increase pressure when pulling. To decrease, adduct your feet toward the centerline. These are the ways how I use the bands and keep the workouts versatile.
How many resistance band loop exercises are there?
At hand, 30 resistance band loop exercises I found to be the best to develop my physique. These exercises deliver the results I was looking for to develop a lean muscular physique. 12 of them are compound and 18 of them are isolation exercises. I’ll update the article if I ever encounter new techniques to accomplish on my list of the best exercises with a resistance band loop.
The bundle comes with five resistance bands and a mini-pack when purchasing the entire set. The mini-pack allows you to store the resistance bands when you’re on the go. It’s great because that means you can exercise anywhere you go without going to the gym. You will get five different hues and different levels of resistance.
- The yellow band has 10 to 35 pounds of pressure.
- The green band has 30 to 50 pounds of pressure.
- Red has 40 to 80 pounds of pressure.
- Blue has 50 to 120 pounds of pressure.
- Black has 60 to 150 pounds of pressure.
I also recommend a door anchor when using the loop bands for indoor exercises.
Compound resistance band loop exercises
Compound exercises with resistance bands are phenomenal to engage multiple muscles when applying two joints. With resistance bands, you’re able to mimic workouts done with dumbbells, barbells, and cable machines. Scroll down to see my list of the best compound resistance band loop exercises.
Chess Press Crossover
My favorite compound chest exercise with resistance bands is the chest press crossover. Multiple things are happening in this exercise, the flexing of the triceps, anterior deltoids, and pecs. The triceps are involved because the elbows are in a flexed position. As you cross the arms over, you extend the elbows, allowing the triceps to contract. Anterior deltoids flex because the anterior deltoids help adduct the shoulder joints when extending the arms. In the starting position, the pecs are stretched, but when you elongate the arms forward, the pecs contract. The difference between a regular chest press and the crossover is the arm placement when contracting the pecs. The forelimbs go straight out for a chest press, but the crossover has the arms intersecting. Crossing the arms allows the adduction of the shoulder joint to contract the pecs entirely according to the muscle fiber direction.
The pec’s muscle fiber direction starts at the front upper region of the humerus. Then it crosses toward the sternum of the chest. This is why the crossover is much better to flex and grow the pecs. The adduction of the shoulder joints allows a greater contraction for the pecs than a standard straight-arm chest press. You can also do the exercise by placing the door anchor below the door. All you have to do is raise your arms and intersect them when pulling the resistance band.
The exercise is a phenomenal contraction for the brachioradialis of the forearms, biceps, traps, posterior deltoids, and rotator cuffs. The face pull excludes the lats because of the hand and elbow placement during the motion. Three joints contribute during the protraction and retraction of this movement, the shoulder, elbow, and scapula. The way to do this exercise correctly is this. Elevate the arms at face level. Then you simultaneously pull the resistance band by abducting the shoulders, flexing the elbow,s and retracting the scapulas. While the forelimbs pull back, the elbows naturally bend, aligning straight with the shoulder. During the motion, the hands will raise in a protracted grip. Don’t misalign the fist in this imaginary line that aligns with the face. Once you’ve done this, the hands need to slightly pass the head. Doing this will convert the full contraction of the muscles involved.
The only joint moving is the shoulder joint. The scapulas slightly get involved and elbows don’t get involved during this movement. The muscles that are being exercised are the posterior deltoids, teres major, minor, and lats. Teres major, minor, and lats are attached to the posterior upper side of the humerus. The posterior deltoid is attached to the ridge along the scapula and the upper posterior side region of the humerus. This is why these muscles contribute to the movement. Even though I said that one joint compresses one muscle, some single movements involve secondary muscles.
Diagonal Plane Pull
Pulling diagonally down focuses on lat contraction because of the body alignment and the muscle fiber direction. The muscle fiber alignment of the lats starts from the upper back side of the humerus. Then it runs down to the middle and lower spine and posterior pelvic region. To do this exercise correctly, you need to lower your body and kneel. Then you raise the arm and align it in the direction of the lat muscle to fully contract it. The muscles that contribute to this exercise are the brachioradialis, biceps, and lats. To get the most out of this, you slightly lean forward and pivot your spine to stretch out the lats. Then when you pull the resistance band, pivot the spine slightly in the opposite direction. Doing this will engage the lats tremendously by pulling the elbow back past the torso.
The Zeus pull is a tremendous exercise to engage the upper back muscles. I learned this exercise from a Youtube channel called AthleanX by Jeff Caviler. He points out how this workout only works if you keep the hands inward when pulling the elbows. To fully understand how this works, let me explain. First, you have to kneel and lean the torso forward. Raise the arms at a 45-degree angle and pull the arms back by flexing the elbows during the motion. During the pull, keep the hands inward to touch the chest when engaging the upper back. Doing this will ensure the lats won’t take part in the exercise. The elbows need to flare out and go past the torso. Doing it like this will fully engage the traps and rhomboids. Again, muscles activated are the brachioradialis, biceps, posterior deltoids, rhomboids, rotator cuffs, and traps.
The classic horizontal pull incorporates multiple back muscles. It includes the posterior deltoids, traps, rotator cuffs, teres major, and lats. Other muscles include the brachioradialis, biceps, and posterior deltoids as contributors to the exercise. The joints that contribute to the contraction of all these muscles are the shoulders, elbows, and scapula. To perform this exercise correctly, protract the scapula, which will extend out the arms. Then retract the scapula by simultaneously flexing the elbows and extending the shoulder joint. Make sure the elbows are crossing past the rib cage of the torso to engage the lats. Another factor is placing one foot forward and the other back for stabilization. Doing all of this will contribute to performing the classic horizontal pull correctly.
The exercise looks similar to a horizontal abduction of the shoulder joint, but it isn’t. The reason is two joints are involved here; the shoulder and scapula. These joints contribute to exercising the posterior deltoid, rotator cuff, and traps making this a compound exercise. The exercise is great when you use one handle and attach the hooks to it. The resistance band feels denser when pulling.
Strengthening the lower back is necessary to prevent and relieve low back pain by supporting the spine and improving posture. Many people have this issue because the majority are sedentary in their jobs and personal lives. This leads to discomfort in the lower back in the long run. It’s also imperative to strengthen the lower back when performing rigorous exercises. Using a resistance band helps to intensify the workout. Place the elastic band underneath the feet, abduct the feet apart, and grab the band. Then extend the hips and spine simultaneously raising the arms to contract various muscles. These muscles include the deltoids, upper traps, rotator cuffs, erector spinae, and glutes. The exercise executed with resistance bands in the horizontal plane makes this a great compound exercise for the posterior chain.
Similar to using the step mill at the gym, you can apply a simple 5-gallon bucket at home to do this exercise. An added addition to this is a resistance band that intensifies the exercise. Place the band on top of the bucket, then place the foot on the band. Use the heaviest resistance band to intensify the workout because the legs are strong. Grab the handles and align them with the shoulders. Then begin doing a step up by extending the hip and knee of the leg you are exercising. Muscles activated during the exercise are the glutes and the quads.
The classic squat is an imperative and natural bodyweight exercise that contributes to the lower body’s strength. The muscles that contribute to the squat are the glutes and the quads. Joints that permit this to happen are the hips and knees performing flexion and extension. There’s nothing wrong with bodyweight squats if you perform high reps to reach hypertrophy. Including resistance bands amplifies the resistance curve much more without needing a lot of reps to reach hypertrophy. When you use elastic bands, performing squats at a slower tempo will increase the tension.
To perform the squat correctly, straighten the back when you lower and raise the torso. Perform flexion on the hips and knees when lowering the torso. Make sure you lower the glutes to fully engage the quads when you’re about to raise the torso. Then perform extension on the hips and knees when raising the torso into the starting position.
Performing a single-leg squat known as the lunge is a very effective lower-body strengthening exercise. The same technique used in the squat applies to the lunge. You lower the torso by flexing one side of the hip while keeping the other straight. Both knees flex, but one kneels and the other doesn’t. The foot of the knee that kneels stabilizes by using the balls of the feet. The other foot is flat to help balance the body. Then you raise the torso by extending the knee and hip. The exercise targets the glutes and quads. Using a resistance band amplifies the intensity of this exercise. Place the elastic band underneath the foot and use the heaviest resistance band to increase the tension. Legs are known to be the strongest part of the body because the muscles are bigger, especially the glutes.
The deadlift is a compound exercise focusing primarily on the lower posterior chain. Those muscles include the glutes and hamstrings because the hip and knee flex simultaneously by lowering the torso. During this phase in the movement, the glutes and hamstrings are stretched. The contributing joint motion involves the hips and knee extending to contract both muscles, but theirs a caveat. Even though the upper region of the hamstrings contributes to the hips performing extension, it doesn’t fully contract. The best way to compress the hamstrings is to perform knee flexion in multiple ways. The glutes are the primary muscles receiving the stimulus while extending the hips when raising the torso. In other words, this workout is more of a glute exercise.
My preference is to use a steel bar and wrap the end corners of the band. I don’t like wrapping the ends of the band with my hands when I’m pulling. Sure, I can wear gloves so that I won’t cause a blister on my palms, but the motion feels better using a steel bar.
Isolation resistance band loop exercises
Isolation exercises with resistance bands are phenomenal to engage a single muscle when one joint is engaging. With resistance bands, you’re capable of mimicking workouts done with dumbbells, and cable machines. Scroll down to check my list of the best isolation resistance band loop exercises.
The movement here is a deltoid exercise that emphasizes more on the middle head of the muscle. There are three muscle heads, the anterior, middle, and posterior covering the entire shoulder joint. Shoulder abduction means the shoulder is moving the arms away from the torso. Shoulder abduction is just one of three movements the shoulder joint can do. Also, there are two versions of the shoulder abduction; vertical and horizontal. The version I’m showing is vertical abduction because the middle head is the main muscle to exercise. If you want to exercise the posterior side, do horizontal shoulder abduction. This looks similar to a back fly but without involving the scapula to exercise the traps and rotator cuff. Do this by leveling the door anchor to shoulder height. Then stand sideways by pulling the band by only moving the shoulder joint horizontally.
As I mentioned above in this paragraph, the shoulder is a versatile joint that can rotate in different ways. Here, the shoulder joint is performing flexion. The main muscle head of the deltoid is the anterior deltoid exercised. You can feel the anterior deltoid contract by placing your hand on the deltoid you’re exercising when performing shoulder flexion. The muscle attaches to the collarbone, all the way to the lateral middle side of the humerus.
Flexing and extending the elbow allows the tricep to elongate and flex. This is the only way the triceps can be stretched and tightened, but other exercises can target the triceps. Since this is a resistance band exercise, there are various ways to use the bands to exercise the triceps. The photos here show I’m performing in a vertical plane by flexing and extending my elbow. No involvement occurs with my shoulder joint. Other exercises you could do to exercise the triceps are tricep pushdowns and overhead tricep extensions. You have to use a door anchor to perform these exercises with resistance. To do tricep push-downs, put the door anchor on top of the door. To perform overhead tricep extensions, place the door anchor below the door.
The classic bicep curl is a global favorite exercise to do. You only have to flex and extend the elbow to exercise the bicep. There are two ways to perform the bicep curl. First, you put one foot on the band. Second, place the door anchor below the door. My favorite way to use the resistance bands is using one handle by attaching both hooks. Doing this gives the feeling of pulling a denser elastic band like I’m showing in the photos.
This is my favorite isolation chest exercise, but there are three ways to do this. The door anchor can be placed on top, middle, and below the door. Each of these diagonal angles has a purpose to exercise the pecs. The top anchor focuses more on downward contraction towards the lower fibers of the pec. The middle anchor focuses more on flexing across the muscle that connects to the sternum. The bottom anchor focuses more on flexing upward on the upper fibers that connect to the collar bone. Remember to only move one joint, and that’s the adduction of the shoulder joint. Doing this guarantees only the pecs will be exercised. Include crossing the centerline to activate and flex the pecs.
The exercise allows you to focus solely on the upper region of the traps. The middle and lower fibers aren’t involved because the scapula is performing a downward rotation, not a retraction. When the scapula does a downward rotation, it permits the upper trap to be raised and flexed. Also, the shoulder joint doesn’t get involved during the exercise.
Here, this exercise looks similar to a back fly, but it’s not. When you do a back fly, two joints are involved, the shoulder and scapula. This is an isolation exercise that only includes the shoulder joint. You place a bent elbow lateral to the torso and then rotate the shoulder back to correctly perform it. The movement targets the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles attached to the scapula. There are four muscles called the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. The reason why you need to strengthen these muscles is to prevent injury to the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff attaches to the posterior side of the shoulder joint, allowing various movements to occur.
The most effective ab exercise while using the resistance bands is kneeling crunches. When you flex the spine in a vertical plane, there isn’t enough resistance to feel a strong stimulus with body weight. The only way to get that stimulus is by doing a lot of reps and adding slow reps with isometrics. But when you introduce resistance bands, the resistance drastically increases to the point where you don’t need high reps. The exercise allows you to work on the upper region only if you flex the torso halfway down. Another way to exercise is by flexing the torso down to target the entire abdominal wall of the torso. Use different resistance band levels to increase the tension.
As the name says, woodchoppers are just like chopping wood because of the way the body moves. It’s a rotation movement of the spine. It directly involves the obliques because of the fiber direction. Attachments of the external and internal obliques are the costal cartilages of the lower ribs and hips. Both fibers’ direction is diagonal but intersect each other. The best way to exercise both obliques is by attaching the door anchor above, middle, or below the door. For the external oblique, pull diagonally down, and for the internal oblique, pull diagonally up. You can also pull the band horizontally across.
The last oblique muscle is the transverse abdominous that attaches to the linea alba. The linea alba is the vertical line of the abdominals. Other areas the transverse abdominous attaches to are the lower ribs and hips. The muscle fibers are horizontal and it resembles that of a belt supporter. Attach the door anchor in the middle of the door and rotate it just like I’m demonstrating in the photos. You always want to rotate past the centerline to get a full contraction. Try not to rotate the hips.
To perform this exercise correctly, you subtly rotate an inch to the left or right and do hip extension. The glutes have three muscle heads: gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. In this exercise, the gluteus maximus will be the muscle exercised. The attachment of the glute is the posterior side of the iliac crest, sacrum, coccyx, and the lateral upper side of the femur. The muscle’s fiber runs down diagonally, so you have to rotate slightly and extend the leg straight. Doing this will ensure your exercising the gluteus maximus.
Flexing the hips is a great way to strengthen the hip flexors with resistance bands. The hip flexors involve five muscles during flexion; iliacus, psoas, pectineus, rectus femoris, and sartorius. The iliacus, psoas, and pectineus are located around the lower abdominal hip region. Rectus femoris and sartorius are leg muscles that also contribute to lifting the leg forward. The photo you see me doing is just one version of exercising the hip flexors. There are two more resistance band loop exercises I like to perform while doing hip flexion.
The first one you see in the photos is hip flexion while standing. Doing the exercise will target the upper region of the rectus femoris. This muscle is part of the quads that make up four muscles. All you do is lift the leg while keeping the knee straight. The second exercise is similar to the first, but different when I bend my knee and lift my leg. Doing a knee raise is more of a power development since I’m raising my knee fast with the band wrapped around my ankle. The other hip flexors iliacus, psoas, and pectineus are involved because those muscles allow hip flexion to occur.
An exercise like this strengthens the muscles on the lateral side of the hips. Those muscles are the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fascia latae. The muscle fibers of these muscles run down from the top of the iliac crest; down to the upper lateral side of the femur. To perform this exercise correctly, you must lift the leg laterally, but not too high.
Muscles that contribute to hip adduction are pectineus, adductor longus, gracilis, adductor brevis, and adductor magnus. These muscles are located in the inner thighs and they contribute to bringing the legs close to the body. Using a five-gallon bucket or chair will make the exercise a lot easier to perform hip adduction. All you have to do is sit, spread your legs, and then adduct.
The frog press exercise’s main target is the muscles under the gluteus maximus. There is an inner layer of muscles below the superficial muscles of the glutes. They are the gluteus minimus, quadratus femoris, obturator externus piriformis, gemellus superior and inferior. When you wrap the band above the knees, you perform an abduction isometric hold of the hip joints to contract the gluteus maximus. While doing this, you perform a hip thrust to contract the inner muscles of the glutes. Doing this will absolutely fire the region of the hip muscles and make them stronger.
Pronated Hamstring Curls
Knee flexion is the main contributor to shortening and knee extension lengthens the hamstrings. Hamstring exercises with resistance bands are so great that I never need to go to a gym to exercise my hamstrings. The elastic bands are versatile enough to pull in the horizontal plane, which is what you should do. Lay on the floor facing the floor and flex the knees to contract the hamstrings. The whole muscle belly shortens and extends. Their’s three muscles that make up the hamstrings, they’re biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. The biceps femoris is lateral to the outside of the leg. The semimembranosus lays on top of the semitendinosus medial to the inside of the leg. To target the three heads of the hamstrings, slightly rotate the hip joints to the left or right and flex.
Supinated Hamstring Curls
The same action applies here, but theirs a difference between supinated and pronated hamstring curls. One, you’re going to be facing the ceiling doing this. Two, you are applying your body weight resistance by placing the heels of your feet on the floor with the hips raised. The benefit of doing this is your glutes are compressed the whole time, while you contract and extend the hamstrings. You’re going to slide the heels back with socks to make the exercise easier. Pull the elastic band by flexing the knees and you’ll be combining bodyweight and resistance band tension.
Seated Hamstring Curls
A simple bucket or chair is all you need for this. The exercise can be done with both ankles or one. Extend the knee and flex to exercise the hamstrings. The exercise is similar to a knee flexion machine that you can find at any gym. This is why resistance bands are so versatile and better. You don’t need to go to the gym.
Seated Leg Extensions
Just like the seated hamstring curl, you’re going to sit, place the straps on one or two ankles. The difference is you are going to be sitting in the opposite direction to exercise the quads. When you’ve raised your knee, extend the knee to contract the quads.
Overall, this article shows my reasons why resistance bands are better than handheld weights and why they’re a much better alternative. Resistance band loop exercises provide equal results as handheld weights would develop a robust physique. The difference is its portability, lightweight, ease of use, great price range, and exercise using different plane fields. I highly recommend anyone to get a bundle set added to their home gym without needing to go to the gym.
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