5 Easy Resistance Band Exercises To Shrink & Fight Body Fat
Working with resistance bands is a stellar addition to your strength training routine—especially if you're looking to melt excess fat. Research shows that resistance bands are ultra-effective in enhancing your body composition and lowering body fat. Instead of working with free weights, you'll be training with a different kind of resistance—a stretchy band—that'll add tension to your muscles and boost your strength, the Cleveland Clinic explains. (And after all, the more muscle tissue you have, the greater amount of calories you'll torch!) We spoke with Michelle Ditto, training development manager for Pure Barre, who shares with us some of her top-recommended easy resistance band exercises to shrink body fat. (Because who doesn't love an easy workout that delivers results?)
The below routine is an example of a bodyweight circuit. Incorporating resistance bands into a circuit-style routine with various exercises can be an awesome place to kick off your fat loss journey. Ditto recommends making your form and alignment a top priority, first and foremost. She adds, "Once you understand the basic action of the movement you are performing, additional resistance is a great way to up-level your experiment, get more out of the work, and keep your muscles from plateauing over time. Don't be afraid of additional resistance, mostly because you can always take it off!" Just remember—you're never stuck and can always tweak things! If you notice your joints beginning to compensate, remove the resistance band, and complete your workout with bodyweight versions of the exercises you're doing.
And lastly, keep the "why" at the top of your mind, Ditto says. "Resistance bands are a phenomenal tool to make full-body exercises more challenging, to add new effort for your muscles to respond to, and to fuel growth (physically and mentally). But remember at the end of the day, the work is in YOU—you put the effort in, you pay mind to your body, your form, your alignment, and you put in the work, and you will reap the benefits," she explains.
Keep reading for Ditto's easy resistance band exercises to shrink body fat. And for more fitness inspiration, check out The 5-Minute Strength Workout To Lose Belly Fat & Gain Abs.
Resistance band pushups begin with you putting the band around your thighs and assuming a high plank. Step your feet out a bit wider than hip-width. Use control to lower your body toward the ground before pressing yourself back up to the start. "Focus on the additional thigh and oblique engagement as you move through this already challenging movement pattern," Ditto says.
2. Forearm Planks with Knee Bends
Assume a forearm plank with your elbows under your shoulders and the resistance band around your thighs. Your body should form a straight line from your head down to your feet. "Find stability first, then alternate bending your knees," Ditto instructs. "Focus on pulling up from under the navel as the knee bends toward the floor to highlight deeper abdominal work, as well as for more intensity in the thighs and glutes." If you want to make things more intense for your upper body, you can perform this exercise as a straight-arm plank.
3. Double Tube Resistance Band Plank
For another plank variation, you'll need a double tube resistance band. Take hold of the tube with both hands, with one of your hands in the center and the other on the handle. Next, plant your feet wider than hip-width to secure proper alignment of your hips and lower back. Ditto continues to instruct, "Pull the other elbow straight up toward the ceiling. This is a more advanced plank and upper-body stabilization exercise that combines epic core stability with an upper-body row. Focus on maintaining shoulders and hips square to the floor—you should feel the obliques in a big way!"
4. Banded Squats
To perform banded squats, you'll plant your feet on the ground and have a short resistance band right above your knees. Place your hands on your hips or extend them in front of you. As you descend into a squat, you'll press your knees out against the resistance the band's creating. Lower until your thighs reach a parallel position to the floor. Press through both feet in order to rise back up to standing/
5. Triceps Extensions
"You can use resistance bands instead of hand weights to get different tension in triceps extensions and load the muscles throughout the full range of movement," Ditto explains. "Come to a tabletop position, with one hand on the floor holding tension in the band. Grab the other band (or other end) in the opposite hand, then extend that arm behind you, keeping your shoulders square to the floor. You should feel tension from the band almost immediately!"