5 Functional Resistance Band Exercises

Updated: Jan 8

Introduction | Resistance band FAQ | Best resistance bands | 5 Functional Resistance Band Exercises

An exercise class performing functional resistance band exercises.

Resistance bands are an essential training tool. They’re highly functional, space sensitive, extremely versatile, durable, inexpensive, portable and compact.

In addition to this plethora of positive attributes, resistance bands can be incorporated into most all exercises serving either to increase or decrease the resistance.

For example, resistance bands are brilliant to use when performing press-ups as they not only increase the load but do so at peak contraction points. (Also they make for a much safer way to increase resistances. Hands up if you’ve ever tried to position a weights disc on your back when press-upping? Besides the fact that it’s almost impossible to position the weight evenly, it’s just plain dangerous. Resistance bands eradicate all that nonsense.)

By contrast, when applied to pull-ups, an exercise that many trainers find particularly challenging, resistance bands can work in an assisting capacity (although you do need two bands).

Resistance band quick FAQ

What is a resistance band?

Quite simply it is a 2-metre-long loop of elasticised material – usually silicone. The resistance load of bands range from as little as 5kg to 50kg. This load can also be increased by double folding the band or simultaneously using multiple bands. That’s all there is to say on them.

Why are resistance bands so good?

Well, beyond the positives aired above, resistance bands obey your natural biomechanics. By this I mean, if you were to hop on a piece of gym machinery, such as the seated leg press or chest press, the range of movement available would either be fixed or extremely limited. The problem with this is if your body does not naturally follow this predetermined range, performing the movement could, over time or with excessive loads, result in injury.

What I’m trying to say here is we all move differently but exercise machines do not accommodate our biomechanical idiosyncrasies. Because of their flexible properties resistance bands do not force you into a fixed range of movement but instead faithfully observe the natural contours through which you move. This makes for a much more natural exercise experience.

How can I use resistance bands in my workouts?

Honestly, there's a million and one ways to use resistance bands. But I'll quickly cover just a couple.