The Bodyweight Band Workout

All you need to build a sculpted body is a resistance band and your own body weight. Check out our tough bodyweight band workout.

Think a serious workout can only happen in a weight room or gym?

I've designed some intense, sweat-producing sessions everywhere from parks to clients' backyards. All I needed was their body weight and a resistance band. (See Resistance Bands Enhance Full-Body Strength and Power.)

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Resistance Cable Squat & Press

Think a serious workout can only happen in a weight room or gym?

I've designed some intense, sweat-producing sessions everywhere from parks to clients' backyards. All I needed was their body weight and a resistance band. (See Resistance Bands Enhance Full-Body Strength and Power.)

Typically, resistance band training is pigeonholed as only for rehab or as a last resort during a vacation. But I've found that these resistance bands can stimulate weight training gains and translate to strength and performance improvements. (Learn more at Three Resistance Band Exercises to Replace Dumbbells.)

Step outside of your normal comfort zone this week. Complete the following stretch band routine.

Resistance Band Training

Squat

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Place band around the back of your neck and under each foot
  • Squat down until your thighs are parallel with the ground
  • Keep your weight on your heels
  • For greater resistance, place some band slack between your feet to tighten up the band
  • Repeat

Jump Squat

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and the band behind your neck and under your feet
  • Perform a partial squat, lowering about halfway
  • Explode up as high as you can
  • Repeat immediately
Watch this video of a Dumbbell Jump Squat.

Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

When correctly performed, RDLs build hamstring strength without hurting back muscles. Your hamstrings help you  run faster, because they're responsible for pulling the ground under your body when you step.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and the band behind your neck and under your feet
  • Push your glutes back and hinge at the hips (similar to an RDL using a bar)
  • Keep your spine straight from the top of your head to your tailbone
  • Feel the gentle stretch in your hamstrings
  • Squeeze your glutes to return to starting position.

Single-Leg RDL

The single-leg version of the RDL incorporates balance and strength training.

  • Place band under your foot and over the same side shoulder
  • Keep your body straight from your heel to the top of your head
  • Bend forward at the hip of your support leg and lift the leg with the band around it
  • Point the toes of the lifted foot toward the ground to avoid opening your hips

Split Squat

A Split Squat works similar to a Single-Leg Squat because it emphasizes single-leg strength and balance. It also puts a different stress on your glute muscles than a normal squat.

  • Take a big step forward with one leg
  • Place the band under your forward foot
  • Place the other end of the band around your neck
  • Squat straight down
  • Gently touch your knee to the ground
  • Squeeze your glutes
  • Return to the top of your split squat
  • Switch the band to the other leg and repeat on the other side to complete a set

Monster Walk

This is my favorite exercise to improve glute strength, correct imbalances and prevent future overuse injuries. Monster Walks also improve speed and quickness.

  • Place band under both feet and in each hand to form a giant circle
  • Keep elbows at 90 degrees and pinned to your sides
  • Step forward (right-together-left-together-right)
  • Step to the right, backward, to the left and return to starting position
  • Add resistance by crossing the band in front of your body to form an X

Kneeling Press

Upper-body strength is just as important as lower-body strength. You need to be able to block your opponent or push him away several times in a game. This exercise places resistance on your triceps while challenging your core to stay straight as your arms move overhead

  • Kneel in the center of the band with your hands holding each end
  • Press the band overhead simultaneously with both arms
  • Keep your abdominal region tight
  • Do not allow your back to arch
  • Slowly return to the starting position

Single-Arm Press

Working one side of your upper body with a Single-Arm Press fosters the same balanced strength as single-leg training. Unilateral training also places added stress on the core muscles, since only one side is loaded with the resistance.

  • Stand with one end of the band looped under one foot
  • Place your hand through the other end
  • Stand tall
  • Do not allow your body to lean or rotate as you press the band overhead
  • Return to the start in a controlled manner
  • Complete all repetitions on one side before switching the band to the other hand and foot

Push-Ups

  • Wrap band behind your back
  • Hold the ends of the band in each hand
  • Get into perfect Push-Up position
  • Press yourself off the ground with the increased resistance from the stretch band

Standing Push-Up

If  you're still trying to master the Push-Up, perform this exercise standing up straight. You will engage the same muscles of your upper body without resistance from your body weight. This exercise is good for days when the ground is wet or uneven.

  • Hold the ends of the band and wrap it around your back
  • Press the band forward as if you were doing a normal Push-Up

Bent Over Row

Many athletes overtrain their pushing muscles by maxing out Bench Presses and Push-Ups. This can lead to a forward rounding of the shoulders and too big a chest. Balance out pushing exercises with pulling exercises like the Bent-Over Row to work your back muscles. This will help you maintain perfect posture during the day.

  • Stand in the middle of the band with your hands holding the ends
  • Hinge forward at your hips
  • Keep your back flat and parallel to the floor
  • Pull the band until your hands are next to your ribs
  • Add resistance by placing some extra slack between your feet

Standing Row

The Standing Row is a safer way to perform the Bent Over Row for novice trainers or those with back pain.

  • Place the band around a stable object (e.g., a pole or tree)
  • Keep your feet even (not staggered)
  • Grab the ends of the band and pull your elbows back until your hands are next to your ribs
  • Return to the starting position in a controlled manner

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock