Not ready or able to jump back into the gym?
Looking for something you can do at home without breaking the bank on a new set of dumbbells, barbells, and weight plates?
Resistance bands are a universal fitness tool that can benefit everyone from the beginner to the seasoned athlete.
For example, resistance bands can provide a total body workout for beginners, but for an athlete, they can be used in combination with sports-specific drills.
They’re also fantastic for enabling more rapid recovery.
Whether you want to build muscle, gain strength, or burn fat, resistance bands can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Let’s take a look at why you should use resistance bands. I’ll also provide you with a resistance band workout plan for beginners and advanced lifters.
Why Choose Resistance Bands vs. Weights?
Let’s talk about results and recovery.
Studies have demonstrated resistance bands are just as effective as traditional free weights, but HOW bands produce results differs from that of weights.
Resistance bands are based on variable resistance.
This is when the amount of resistance you’re actively lifting changes WHILE you lift it.
Think about lifting a dumbbell during a bicep curl. If you start with a 20-pound dumbbell, that’s what you’re lifting the whole time.
You’ll struggle against 20 pounds of resistance at the start of the lift with your arm extended, but then 20 pounds might feel easy as your elbow bends and you reach your strongest, impact-ready range.
The weight of the iron and steel doesn’t change as you lift, but resistance bands do.
A band provides less resistance in your weakest range of motion, but more resistance in your strongest range.
Let’s say you’re performing a traditional bench press. When do you feel like you’re at your weakest?
When the bar is hovering just above your chest.
In fact, it’s this position that determines how much weight you put on the barbell.
You base the amount of weight you lift on what your weakest range can handle. Try to lift more than this and you’ll put yourself at risk for strain and injury.
Why does this matter?
It means you’re missing out on your true strength and muscle building potential.
When using a resistance band, you’re no longer limited by your weakest range of motion like you are with a dumbbell.
Resistance bands like the X3 Bar ensure your weakest range of motion is safely engaged with the resistance it can handle.
But in your strongest range of motion, resistance bands dramatically increase the amount of resistance you’re lifting, allowing you to access your body’s true strength potential.
Since you’re lifting more at your strongest range, you can expect some serious recovery time, right?
As Dr. Jaquish details in his book, it’s completely possible to train tough without days of soreness afterward.
By keeping set numbers low and fatigue high, you can enter a muscular growth phase without damaging muscle.
What then? You can workout daily for faster gains.
Variable Resistance Training vs. Traditional Resistance Training
Before we jump into the resistance band workout plan, I want to review the proven benefits of variable resistance training and why you should start using it to achieve your fitness goals.
Changes in your physique won’t happen if you’re not engaging and activating the target muscle.
Resistance bands trigger a higher degree of muscle activation as they put the muscle in a state of constant tension.
Maintaining constant tension helps promote caloric expenditure, strength gains, and hypertrophy.1
Muscle Tension Duration
Speaking of muscle tension, resistance bands are ideal for maximizing the time your muscles are under tension.
With a dumbbell, tension disengages at the top and bottom of each lift. But a resistance band requires constant activation from the target muscle for the entire set.
This is called time under tension, and for many fitness goals, it’s one of the key predictors of results.
By maximizing your time under tension, you’re able to completely exhaust the muscle in all three ranges: strong, mid, and weak.2
Chase Your Gains Safely
Resistance bands allow you to pursue your fitness goals safely by minimizing the risk of injury while maximizing the results you see.3
Full-Body Resistance Band Workout
Ready to get in a tough but effective workout?
This resistance band workout plan focuses on a push-pull split.
This means that on one day, you’ll perform only exercises where you are pushing against resistance, such as the chest press. On the other day, you’ll perform only movements in which you pull against resistance, like the bent-over row.
This workout is designed to target all your major muscle groups, and while you might be familiar with most of these exercises, you’re going to experience a new challenge as you perform them with bands.
Since resistance bands demand a constant state of tension and activation, you might feel these exercises are suddenly more intense than before.
Resistance Band Workout One: Push Day
Chest Press: With resistance bands, the classic chest press is performed standing, primarily targeting your pectorals (chest), shoulders, and triceps. Standing with an activated core helps with posture.
Triceps Press: This is an isolation exercise that targets the triceps. For anyone who wants to build bigger arms, this exercise is a must since the triceps make up the bulk of the size of your arms.
Shoulder Press: Think of your shoulders like the frame of a picture. You always want to look good in frame. The shoulder press activates all three heads of the deltoid (front, lateral, and rear) as well as the traps and triceps.
Front Squat: Whether you want bigger or leaner legs, this quad-dominant exercise is going to help you transform them. This variation of the squat focuses on the quadriceps the most, but also activates the glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves.
Split Squat: This one is another foundation of leg day. The split squat will challenge your balance as it targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and hip flexor muscles. This is an exercise that should ALWAYS be among your leg workouts.
Pec Crossover: Finally, we wrap up this workout with another chest exercise. The pec crossover helps add bulk to pectoral thickness. Your triceps and shoulders will also feel this one.
Resistance Band Workout Two: Pull Day
Deadlift: This is another staple of fitness. No matter who you are, you want to include either a deadlift or some variation of it. A deadlift primarily targets your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, but you’ll also feel it in your quads, calves, hip flexors, middle back, and shoulders.
Bent-Over Row: The king of mid-to-upper back builders, the bent-over row is tough but rewarding. It hits your lats and middle back like you wouldn’t believe. It’ll also activate your biceps.
Bicep Curl: Speaking of the biceps, we have the classic curl, which you’ll feel in both the bicep and forearm. This movement is guaranteed to feel a lot more intense than a traditional dumbbell curl because of the constant tension. You’ll get a pump from this for sure.
Calf Raise: Finally, we end the second workout with a. calf builder. The calf raise is going to help you target this supporting muscle. The calves are aesthetically important. If you want to look bigger, muscular calves help you avoid the chicken legs look. If you want leaner and sexier legs, toned calves are like the mantle you put a trophy on.
Resistance Band Workouts for Beginners
You’ll perform one set of 15 to 40 repetitions for each exercise in the corresponding workout.
Move slowly through each movement, spending at least 2 seconds on the push, as well as the return.
When you can no longer complete the full range of motion, keep going with a shorter range until complete fatigue.
For beginners, your workout schedule looks like this:
- Monday: Workout One
- Tuesday: Workout Two
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Workout One
- Friday: Workout Two
- Saturday and Sunday: Rest
Advanced Resistance Band Workout Plan
The sets and reps won’t change here. You’ll still perform one set of 15 to 40 repetitions for each exercise in the corresponding workout. You’ll still move slowly through each movement, and keep moving until total fatigue, but the number of workouts within each week will increase.
After a few months with the X3 Bar, your workouts will look like this:
- Monday: Workout One
- Tuesday: Workout Two
- Wednesday: Workout One
- Thursday: Workout Two
- Friday: Workout One
- Saturday: Workout Two
- Sunday: Rest
Perform this Resistance Band Workout with the X3 Bar
Resistance bands are great, especially for home workouts, but not all bands are created equal.
The X3 Bar is a revolutionary fitness system that utilizes an Olympic-based barbell, standing platform, and elite quality bands.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill Amazon drop-ship band set. This thing is made by a medical professional and bodybuilder. It’s strong and effective enough for pro athletes, but everyone can use it.
Try this resistance band workout plan with the X3 Bar!
Cronin J, McNair PJ, Marshall RN. The effects of bungy weight training on muscle function and functional performance. J Sports Sci. 2003 Jan;21(1):59-71. doi: 10.1080/0264041031000071001. PMID: 12587892.
Wallace BJ, Winchester JB, McGuigan MR. Effects of elastic bands on force and power characteristics during the back squat exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 May;20(2):268-72. doi: 10.1519/R-16854.1. PMID: 16686552.
Colado JC, Triplett NT. Effects of a short-term resistance program using elastic bands versus weight machines for sedentary middle-aged women. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Sep;22(5):1441-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31817ae67a. PMID: 18714245.f
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