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Watch: How to get a full-body workout with one simple piece of equipment

Belfast PT Alan Waterman demonstrates how to still get a full-body workout even when the gym is jam-packed.

By Alan Waterman

You know how it is... come 5.30pm on a Monday, everyone and their grandmother seems to have made their way to the gym (often to make up for their sins of overindulgence at the weekend.)

Every barbell, dumbbell, and machine is soon in use, making it nearly impossible for you to get an effective training session in.

But did you know that resistance bands can deliver a great full-body workout, with next to no need for any other equipment?

Best of all, very little space is required, so it's perfect for those jam-packed gym evenings.

Check out my favourite banded exercises for a full-body exercise routine that's good to go when you're tight for space, equipment, or both.

1. Banded press-up

Bench Press taken? Try the Banded Press-Up instead.

The movement pattern and muscles worked are exactly the same, however we get much greater core recruitment through attempting to stabilize our entire body during the Press-Up.

The addition of the band is a great way to increase the difficulty of the exercise - the band delivers more resistance through the top range-of-motion, working us harder throughout the second half of each rep.

2. Half-kneeling band face-pull

Face-pulls are a fantastic upper-back exercise, perfect for straightening out that computer posture.

Developing the musculature of the upper back can help reduce neck and back pain, and are muscles which are typically underworked in our training routines.

Performing these in a half-kneeling position adds to the difficulty by reducing our stability (forcing our core to work harder) plus allows us to hold a stretch through our hips, which also tend to get tight through long hours sitting at a desk.

3. Banded Bulgarian split squat

Lower-body exercises don't come much more demanding than the Bulgarian split squat.

Elevating the back leg forces our entire body to engage as we work to maintain stability, and heavily targets our main lower body muscle groups.

As with all other band-resisted exercises, the amount of resistance increases as the band is further stretched, meaning that the movement becomes harder towards the top of each rep.

Your thighs will definitely be feeling this the next morning.

4. Banded hip thrust

Wanting to build a booty? Don't neglect hip thrusts!

Research has shown them to be just about THE most effective exercises for targeting the glutes (your backside). The addition of the bands around the knees means we have to work harder to keep our knees braced out, as the band works to cave them in- this means a higher degree of recruitment of the often-neglected glute muscles round the side of the hips  not just the main portion of the muscle round the back.

This will bring a whole new level to your glute training.

5. Banded pressdown

The triceps (i.e. the back of our upper arms) tend to be underdeveloped and weak compared to our biceps (the front of our upper arms) as we have a tendency to favour bicep exercises for arm development.

Though we often would perform pressdown movements off a cable machine, the banded version offers every bit as effective a tricep workout.

If we find it too easy, we can simply move our hands higher on the band to increase the tension and make the exercise harder.

6. Band pull-apart

Band pull-aparts, like the face-pulls, target the typically under-worked muscles of the upper back, as well as recruiting the muscles round the back of our shoulders.

As many trainees tend to overwork the front of their shoulders in a training programme, it's incredibly important to bring that balance by targeting our posterior muscles with at least the same amount of work.

Band pull-aparts are a great addition to a training routine to help keep our shoulders healthy and injury-free.

7. Banded pallof press

Can't get into a cable machine to perform your regular pallof press? Do it just as effectively with a band.

The pallof press is a brilliant core stability movement by challenging us to resist movement and rotation through our spine.

By training our core to resist movement, we increase the liklihood of preventing injury - that's good news for those of us who want to be able to continue to train pain-free as we age.

Full-body banded workout:

  • banded press-ups - 3 x 10-12
  • half-kneeling band face-pull - 3 x 10-12
  • banded Bulgarian split squat - 3 x 12-15
  • banded hip thrust - 2/3 x 15-20
  • banded pressdowns - 3 x 12-15
  • pull-aparts - 2/3 x 15-20
  • banded pallof press - 3 x 10-12

Make sure to check out the Phoenix Facebook page for daily tips and advice, as well as downloading your FREE chapter of our upcoming Fitness BS book here.

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