Workout Plan: Best Resistance Band Training Practices to Build Muscle

Resistance bands are small, portable pieces of equipment that can be used to strengthen and tone the entire body. One of the best things about resistance band training is the exercise bands are durable and compact, allowing them to be used at home, work or on vacation!

There are so many benefits of using resistance bands, but one that deserves special attention is their ability to increase mobility and strengthen stabilizer muscles.

Stabilizer muscles play a vital role in overall health. These are the smaller muscles that work in unison to provide support for the body, help maintain balance, and prevent excess movement. Stabilizer muscles surround the larger muscles and tendons, allowing them work more efficiently. In many exercise programs, stabilizers are often neglected, but resistance bands can be used to target and help strengthen these key muscles. Weak stabilizer muscles can lead to muscular imbalances, which can decrease a person’s mobility and increase their risk of injury.

Check out the symptoms of common muscle imbalances:

Poor Posture. Poor posture is often the direct result of uneven body mass and muscle imbalances. The most common signs of poor posture are rounded shoulders and a head tilted forward.

Tight Calves. Sitting over time can cause tight calves, especially for women who sit with high heels planted on the ground. A big culprit of this uncomfortable condition is constant sitting with feet in a relaxed forward position. Symptoms include a sensation of gradual tightening in the claves.

Glutes Imbalance. A common gluteal imbalance can be the result of injury or inactivity. There may be no explanation for it at all! Muscle imbalances in the glutes (and hips) can be the cause of issues like sciatica, a tight piriformis, or tight abductors.

Hamstring Issues. Sitting for extended periods of time can create tight hip flexors, which can cause the pelvis to tilt downward. As a result, the glutes can become weak, increasing the risk of hamstring injuries.

Many people are likely unaware that their health issues are caused by muscle imbalances. That's why it's so important to use the best resistance bands to strengthen stabilizer muscles and help eliminate these imbalances.

Here’s how to use resistance bands:

Resistance bands are available for all fitness levels. It’s important to choose the correct resistance band for your level of fitness and desired goals. Here’s a chart highlighting the different resistance bands:

LevelResistance Band ColorResistance Level (lbs.)Fitness Level
Extra LightYellow5-10Rehab
LightGreen15-20Beginners
MediumRed20-15Intermediate
HeavyBlue25-30Experienced
Extra HeavyBlack35-50Advanced

 

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Check out these tips for stabilizing muscles with resistance band exercises:

  • Choose a light resistance band. Good form is more important than using a heavier weight or resistance
  • Keep movements slow and controlled. Slow movements will help to activate the stabilizer muscles and increase mobility
  • Do not overextend. Your range of motion may be limited due to decreased mobility. Do not attempt to fully extend if it’s uncomfortable
  • Focus on your reps or time. These exercises can be performed by doing specific repetitions (10-20) or for a specified period of time (60 seconds)

Here are the top exercises for correcting muscle imbalances and increasing mobility per body part:

Shoulders and Upper Back

These workout band exercises are designed to increase mobility in the shoulders and back. They can also improve strength in the rotator cuff and the surrounding stabilizer muscles.

1. Hand External Rotation

  • Attach one end of the resistance band to a stationary object
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Place a towel between your elbow and right side
  • Hold the resistance band with your right hand as your arm crosses your body
  • Keeping your elbow tucked to your side, slowly pivot your arm to the right
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Repeat!
  • Perform the identical movement on the left side, holding the handle in your left hand

Notes: Your range of motion may be limited. Do not attempt to push past a comfortable point or if there is pain.

2. Lawnmower Pull

  • Hold one end of the exercise band in your right hand, while you step on the other end with your left foot
  • Take one step back and place your left hand on your left knee and extend your right hand (holding the resistance band) towards the floor
  • Exhale and pull the resistance band towards the right side of your body
  • Inhale and and extend towards the floor
  • Repeat!
  • Perform the identical movement on the left side, holding the handle in your left hand

Notes: Make sure you keep your back straight and pull your arm close to your body. Keep movement slow and controlled to activate the stabilizer muscles.

3. Resistance Band Pull-Aparts
Resistance band pull-apart exercise technique

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Extend your arms and hold the resistance band in front of you
  • Exhale and extend your arms outwards
  • Inhale and return to the starting position
  • Repeat!

Notes: Do not bend arms. Use your shoulders only to move the resistance bands. Keep movement slow and controlled at all times.

Core and Lower Back

A strong core and lower back go hand-in-hand, with many lower back exercises activating the core. These exercises are designed to strengthen the stabilizer muscles that are neglected in other commonly performed exercises.

1. Resisted Bridge

  • Lie your back with your knees bent and feet shoulder width apart
  • Place the resistance band across your hips
  • Hold the ends of your workout band in both hands
  • Exhale and raise your hips off the ground towards ceiling
  • Inhale and lower your hips back down towards the ground
  • Repeat!

Notes: Keep shoulders planted on the ground and focus on lifting and lowering your hips evenly throughout exercise.

2. Single Leg Lateral Raises

  • Place the resistance band under your feet
  • Hold the resistance band handles at your sides
  • Raise your left leg slightly behind you
  • Exhale and slowly raise your arms to shoulder level
  • Inhale and lower your leg and arms
  • Repeat!
  • Perform the same movement standing on your left leg

Notes:Standing on one leg forces the stabilizer muscles to maintain balance and simultaneously helps to strengthen the core. Find a point of concentration to look at as you perform the movement.

3. Bird Dog Motion

  • Begin on all fours
  • Hold one end of the resistance band in your right hand
  • Affix other end of the exercise band to your left foot
  • Exhale and raise your right hand and left foot simultaneously
  • Inhale as you lower your hand and foot
  • Repeat!
  • Perform the movement holding the resistance band in your left hand and affixed to your right foot

Notes: This movement can be performed as either reps, or held for 30-60 seconds at a time.

Hips, Glutes, and Legs

Weak hip and glutes can cause a variety of problems. Here are resistance band exercises designed to strengthen these often neglected stabilizer muscles.

1. Standing Lateral Leg Raise

  • Stand on the resistance band
  • Hold the handles in front of you
  • Exhale and extend your left leg away from your body
  • Inhale and lower your leg back to the starting position
  • Repeat!
  • Perform the same movement with your right leg

Notes: Keep legs straight throughout entire exercise and extend leg to a comfortable distance without strain.

2. Hip Flexion Exercise

  • Affix one end of the resistance band to a stable object close to ground
  • Wrap the other end around your left ankle
  • Begin with your left foot slightly behind right foot
  • With hands on your hips for balance, exhale and slowly bring left foot forward as if you're taking a step
  • Exhale, and return to the starting position
  • Repeat!
  • Perform identical movement with the band wrapped around your right ankle

Notes: To maintain balance, keep both hands on hips, look straight ahead and perform movement slowly.

Resistance bands are an excellent way to target stabilizer muscles that have been weakened from lack of use or physical strain. By targeting these muscles, you can reap so many benefits, including better posture, increased core strength, and a decreased risk of injury.

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