This 20-Minute Resistance Band Workout Actually Feels Harder Than Weights

young Asian woman doing a resistance band front squat
This 20-minute resistance band workout includes compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups at the same time.
Image Credit: recep-bg/E+/GettyImages

Resistance bands might look flimsy and small compared to larger fitness equipment, like dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells, but these space-efficient exercise tools are pretty powerful.

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Unlike conventional weights, resistance bands maintain constant tension throughout the entire exercise, and therefore, create more muscle growth. When used correctly, resistance bands help improve strength and balance, as well as promote flexibility and good posture. They're also easier on your joints.

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On days when you can't get to the gym and are looking to really challenge your muscles at home, try this 20-minute resistance band workout. It includes compound movements that work multiple muscle groups at once; the exercises also challenge your core stability and balance.

You'll need two mini bands and a long-looped resistance band to do this workout; be sure to choose a level of resistance that feels heavy (read: hard), but not too hard that you can't do the moves with good form.

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Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.

1. Resistance Band Front Squat

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Sets 3
Reps 15
Body Part Butt and Shoulders
  1. Stand securely in the middle of the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold one end of the band in each hand and bring them to shoulder height, palms facing up.
  2. Bracing your core and keeping your back straight, push your hips back and bend your knees, lowering down until your thighs are parallel with the floor (or as low as you can comfortably go).
  3. Press your feet firmly into the ground to stand back up.

Tip

Regress this movement by taking the upper body out of it. Grab a mini band and loop it around your thighs, just above your knees, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart so there's tension in the band. Lower down to squat and then stand back up.

2. Resistance Band Face Pull

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Sets 3
Reps 20
Body Part Back and Shoulders
  1. Tie one end of a long-looped resistance band around something sturdy at face height. Hold the other end with both hands, palms facing out, and extend your arms in front of you.
  2. Stand in a quarter squat with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure you're far enough from the anchor so that there's tension in the band when your arms are fully extended.
  3. Pull the band toward your forehead, drawing your shoulder blades together and making sure your elbows come to a 45-degree angle.

Tip

Use a lighter band if you're not able to do this exercise with proper form.

As an alternative, you can also try the band pull-apart, using a long-looped resistance band. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold one end of the band in each hand, about shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms out in front of you and pull the band apart, pinching your shoulder blades together. Then, slowly release and return to the starting position. Make sure to keep your arms straight the entire time.

3. Resistance Band Single-Leg Deadlift

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Sets 3
Reps 20
Body Part Butt and Legs
  1. Start standing and loop one end of a mini band around one foot and grab the other end of the band with your opposite hand.
  2. Keeping your shoulders back and down and chest up, push your hips back as you extend your free leg up behind you for balance. Make sure your hips remain square. You can keep a slight bend on the knee of your working leg.
  3. Continue to lower down until your upper body is parallel to the ground.
  4. With your back flat, push your hips forward to stand back up.
  5. After 20 reps, repeat on your other leg.

Tip

Have a hard time balancing? Try a bilateral resistance band deadlift with both feet on the floor.

4. Banded Push-Up

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Sets 3
Reps 10
Body Part Shoulders, Abs and Legs
  1. Grab two mini bands, and place one around your ankles and the other around your wrists. Get into a high plank position with your shoulders stacked above your wrists and your legs extended behind you. Your body should form a straight line.
  2. Maintaining a high plank, lower your chest down toward the ground, bending your elbows at 45 degrees to your body.
  3. Press your palms into the ground and imagine you're pushing the floor away from you, lifting your body in one straight line.
  4. Then, hop your feet out to the sides and back in. This is 1 rep.

Tip

To modify this exercise start on your knees, grab one loop band and place it around your wrists. Pull one hand out laterally, then the other. Perform a knee push up after.

5. Resistance Band Clean and Press

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Sets 3
Reps 10
Body Part Butt, Shoulders and Legs
  1. Start in a staggered stance with one foot forward and the other back, with your front foot standing on one end of the resistance band. Hold the other end of the band with an overhand grip, palms facing down.
  2. Holding the band in front of you, pull and flip the band up, as you drive your elbows under and catch the band on your shoulders in a squat.
  3. Drive through your legs to press the band overhead, finishing with your biceps by your ears.
  4. Lower your hands back down to the starting position and repeat.

Tip

To modify this exercise, skip the clean and make it a banded push press, using your legs to help drive the band overhead. Start in a staggered stance with the band resting on your shoulders. Get into a quarter squat and drive up pressing the band overhead.

6. Resistance Band Bear Crawl

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Sets 3
Time 1 Min
Body Part Abs and Shoulders
  1. Grab the two mini bands again and loop one around your ankles and the other around your wrists.
  2. Start in a quadruped position with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Press your hands into the ground and lift your knees about six inches off the ground.
  3. Moving laterally, walk one hand and the opposite foot to the side at the same time. Follow with your other hand and foot. Aim to keep your shoulders and feet hip-width apart in the quadruped position as you move.

Tip

Make this exercise easier by removing the band around your ankles and maintaining the bear crawl position. Move one hand away from your body, then bring it back to the starting position and repeat on the other hand.

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