Resistance band exercises are the perfect way to work your abs and arms in the same workout. The design of the band itself means your core has to stabilize you through every movement — it's not just the lifting that taxes your muscles.
"With traditional weights such as dumbbells or barbells you slowly release the tension during the eccentric phase or lengthening of the muscle," says Tatiana Scott, CPT, personal trainer, founder of Fit With Curves and host of our 4-Week Resistance Band Challenge. "However, with resistance bands, you can create tension on the muscle even during the eccentric phase."
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Scott compiled these resistance band exercises to strengthen your arms and abs. In between sets and exercises, rest for 20 to 40 seconds. You won't feel fully rested (like you were before your workout), but you should feel ready to tackle the next set.
Try This Resistance Band Workout for Abs and Arms
For this workout, you'll need a mini loop and a long loop band. If you only have one, check out the modifications below each exercise.
1. Resistance Band Biceps Curl
- With your feet hip-width apart, stand on the middle of the band, so it's anchored to the ground.
- Grab the other end with both hands with an underhand grip (palms facing forward).
- Keep your elbows at your side and pull the band up to your shoulders.
- Maintain a controlled movement as you slowly lower back down.
You can perform this exercise seated with a mini band looped around one leg. Then do a curl with the arm on the same side. Make sure you do the same number of reps on each side.
2. Long Loop 90-Degree Lateral Raise
- Step on the middle of the band with your right foot and step your left foot slightly behind so you're in a staggered stance.
- Loop the other end around both forearms, and bend both arms to 90 degrees with your elbows at your sides.
- Roll your shoulders back and down your spine. Squeeze your upper back and lift your elbows until they reach shoulder height.
- Bring your arms slowly down to keep tension in the band.
- Do half the reps with your right foot in front and the second half with your left in front.
If you're using a mini band, hold it in both hands in front of your body. Pull one side of the mini band up to shoulder height. Return to the starting position and repeat. Make sure to do the same number of reps on each side.
3. Mini Loop Plank With Tap Out
- Begin in a high plank on your hands and toes, with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels. Hold your neck in a neutral position.
- Loop a mini band around both forearms just above your wrists.
- Lift your right hand off the ground and tap it out to the right side.
- Bring your hand back in to the starting position.
- Repeat with the left hand and continue alternating.
To incorporate a long loop into this move, anchor one end of the loop around both feet at your arches. Secure the other end around both forearms just above the wrists.
4. Resistance Band Overhead Triceps Extension
- Kneel on the ground (or on a pillow) and anchor one end of a long-loop band under your right knee.
- Grab the free end of the band with your right hand with your arm extended straight overhead. There should be a fair amount of tension and stretch on the band.
- Slowly lower the band until your hand is behind your neck, keeping your upper arm close to your ear so that your elbow doesn't flair out.
- Press back up to the starting position. You should notice tension throughout the move.
- When you finish all your reps, switch sides and anchor the band under your other knee.
If you only have a mini band, your set-up will be a bit different: Loop each end of the band around your palms and hold your hands at shoulder height — left palm facing your body, right palm facing out. Pin your elbows to your sides. Anchoring your left hand at your shoulder, press your right hand down, stretching the end down toward your right thigh. Slowly release back to your shoulder.
5. Long Loop Bird Dog
- Set up your band first: From standing, loop one end of a long resistance band around your right hand and loop the other end around your left foot, securing it on the arch of your foot.
- Lower down to all fours — hands under your shoulder and knees under your hips.
- Reach your left arm straight out in front of you until it's in line with your ear.
- Simultaneously reach your right leg straight behind you, fully extending your knee.
- Reverse the motion and return to all fours.
- Repeat all your reps on one side before switching your band over to the right arm and left foot.
If you're only working with a mini band, that's OK! The bird dog exercise can be just as challenging — and effective! — without a band.