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Staple Exercises To Do With Bands

By: Dr. Lisa Bodratti, PT, DPT

Do you have a compilation of workout bands hanging out at home and not sure what to do with them? Here are a few staple exercises we like to do in the clinic that give you some “bang for your buck!”

All of these exercises can be done with either a long band that you tie into a loop or a mini band. Start with an “extra light” or “light” resistance band.

Lower Body

Side steps (glute muscles, especially the gluteus medius): Place a loop around your ankles. Start in a mini squat position with hips back as if you are going to sit in a chair. Take a step to the side with your left foot, then bring your right foot toward your left. Make sure you are controlling the band and not dragging your feet on the floor.

Try to take 10 steps in one direction, pause, then stay facing the same way and take 10 steps back in the direction you came.

Standing hip circles (glute muscles): Place a loop around your knees. Stand on your left foot. With your right foot, kick forward, then draw an imaginary 1/2 circle from the front of you to the back. Slowly reverse direction. Try to repeat for 10 repetitions before switching sides.

Upper body

Shoulder external rotation (rotator cuff): Place a loop around both forearms near your wrists. Sit up tall. Hold your hands in a neutral or “thumbs up” position. Keep your elbows fairly close to your sides as you rotate your hands outwards. Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Shoulder flexion w/ band (rotator cuff and scapular stabilizer muscles): Place a loop around both forearms near your wrists. Sit up tall. Hold your hands in a neutral or “thumbs up” position. Rotate your wrists/forearms outward slightly. Holding the slight rotation, keep your elbows locked at 90 degrees as you raise your arms in the air toward the ceiling. Slowly lower. Repeat for 10 repetitions.


Deadbug with band at feet (core and hip flexors): Place a loop around both feet. Lay on your back with your hands reaching up toward the ceiling and feet on the ground. Engage your core muscles and bring both knees/feet into the air with your knees bent and toes pointed toward the ceiling. Keeping your core muscles engaged, each your left arm backwards overhead and kick your right leg straight out. Slowly return to center and alternate sides. Try 10 repetitions each side.

As always, go slowly when starting any new exercise. Remember that no exercises should be causing pain.

I hope that this quick read offered you some inspiration to use those resistance bands you have scattered about!

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