Resistance loop bands may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking about building muscle. For people who are looking for a cost-effective, safe and effective replacement to going to the gym, however, they are the ideal choice. They can build muscle just as effectively, and to some degree even more effectively, than working out with traditional barbells and dumbbells.
Keep in mind that your working muscle has no idea what type of resistance you are using. Whether you have in your hand a dumbbell, a barbell or a resistance loop band is immaterial. What matters is the effect that it has on that muscle. The variable resistance, ability to hit the muscle from every angle and adaptability of bands allow you to place the right amount of tension on the muscle in the right way.
In this article, we highlight the ten best resistance loop band moves to build serious muscle. For these exercises, we recommend using our Pro Series Resistance Bands.
Muscle Builder # 1: Band Face Pulls
Band face pulls are a terrific move to target your trapezius and rear deltoids. Loop the band around an upright object that is at chest height. Now grab the band with an overhand grip and stand about two feet away from the anchor point.
With your elbows up, pull the band toward your forehead. As you pull back, also pull the band apart. Hold the fully extended position for two to three seconds. During this hold period, squeeze your shoulder blades together as tightly as you can. Focus on a slow deliberate movement and feeling the muscles in your traps and at the back of your shoulders doing all the work.
Muscle Builder #2: Band Push Ups
Push-ups are the bodyweight king of upper body exercises with a special emphasis on the chest muscles. Loop band push-ups allow you to extend push-ups beyond the limits of your bodyweight to make them more challenging.
Take a heavy loop band in your hands and cross it over to form an ‘X’. Put your hands on the insides, making sure that it is still crossed in the middle. Now place the band over your shoulder blades. The band should be over the meaty part of your palms.
Now get down into a push-up position with your feet together and arms a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Start in the top position with your arms, and the band, fully extended. Lower slowly to the ground and then explode back to the start position. As you lower on each rep, you should resist the tension on the band that is pulling you toward the floor.
Muscle Builder #3: Band Pull Through
The loop band pull through is a fantastic exercise to hit your glutes and hamstrings, two muscle groups that often get neglected with conventional training.
Loop a band around an upright which at about the height of your knees. Stand about two feet in front of the band and facing away from it. Now pull the band between your legs, holding it with both hands. Step out further to place tension on the band.
Start the exercise with your knees slightly bent and back in a neutral position. Now bend down at the torso until it is parallel to the ground. From here squeeze with your glutes to push back to the start position.
Muscle Builder #4: Standing Band Corkscrew
The standing band corkscrew targets your intercostals and obliques. Place the band through an upright positioned overhead. Now place the upper arm of one arm through the loop so that it rests against your triceps. Grab hold of the upper portion of the band with your hand.
Step forward about two feet in front of the anchor point, facing away from it. Stagger your feet with the same side leg as the arm in the band forward. The movement involved comes forward with the elbow and then twisting diagonally. Be sure to strongly contract your obliques as you do so.
Muscle Builder #5: Band Triceps Extension
The band triceps extension will allow you to get a tremendous stretch and extension through all three heads of the triceps. Stand on the loop band and grab the other end with an underhand grip (palms facing up) a little narrower than shoulder width.
Now bring the band up and over your head so that it is behind your neck. Bring the elbows in together rather than letting them stray out. This position puts your elbows in full extension. Straighten your arms directly upward to contract them.
Focus on keeping the elbows close to the head throughout the entire range of movement. You should also resist the force of gravity to control a slow descent during the lowering of the band on each rep.
Muscle Builder #6: Loop Band Front Squats
Squats are the master mass and strength builder for the legs and the loop band provides you with an excellent variation. The loop band front squat will target your quadriceps and gluteus maximus.
Stand on the loop band and grab the other end with an underhand grip (palms facing up), a little narrower than shoulder width. Your feet should be a little wider than shoulder width.
Now bring the band up to your upper chest, with your elbows flared out. The band should be running over your triceps. Look straight ahead and maintain a neutral spine as you go down into a full squat position. Keep your chest up and do not bend over at the waist. Go down slowly to resist the tension in the band and them explode back up to the top position.
Muscle Builder #7: Loop Band Row
Rowing is the basic mass builder for back and the loop gives you an effective option that you can perform anywhere, anytime.
Place the band under your feet, which are a little wider than shoulder width part. Take a hold of the bands with a neutral grip (thumbs up) at shoulder width. Bend your knees slightly and angle your torso at about 45 degrees. Now retract the scapula as you pull your elbows up and back.
Squeeze tightly as you pull the band up and resist the tension as you lower it back down.
Muscle Builder #8: Loop Band Shoulder Press
Stand on the loop band and grab the other end with an underdid grip (palms facing up) a little narrower than shoulder width. Your feet should be a little wider than shoulder width.
Now bring the loop band up to the level of your shoulders. Your palms should now be facing towards the ceiling. From a band position just below the chin slowly push up until just below full lock-out. This will keep the tension on the shoulders the whole time.
Lower the band in a slow, controlled manner in order to resist the tension on the band.
Muscle Builder #9: Loop Band Biceps Curls
Place the band under your feet, which are a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Take a hold of the bands with a neutral grip (thumbs up) at shoulder width. Keeping your elbows in at your sides, curl the band up to your upper chest. The only movement should be rhythmic up and down movement of the forearms.
Perform the curl slowly as you squeeze your biceps tightly. Resist the tension of the band on the negative (lowering) part of the exercise. Go down until the arms are straight in the bottom position, but do not pause between reps.
Muscle Builder #10: Bad Hamstring Curls
The hamstrings are often called the leg biceps. They are vital muscles in the lower body that we need to keep strong. Loop band curls are one of the best ways to do so.
Place the loop band around an upright at the level of your shins. Place a seat about three feet in front of the anchor point. Now stand inside the loop band facing toward the anchor point with the band against your shins. Walk backward until you are sitting on the chair. If the band has not reached full tension then you need to move the seat further back.
Grab the sides of the chair and extend your legs out to full extension. Hold for a second and then curl them back to the starting point. Remember to perform the exercise slowly and deliberately in order to resist the tension on the band.
Putting It All Together
The ten exercises described above work every muscle in our body. To create an effective muscle building program, you can divide them into two workouts, each of which is performed twice per week.
Loop Band Front Squats 3 x 12
Band Pull Through 3 x 15
Band Hamstring Curls 3 x 15
Loop Band Shoulder Press 3 x 12
Standing Band Corkscrew 3 x 12
Band Push Ups 3 x 12
Loop Band Row 3 x 12
Band Face Pull 3 x 12
Loop Band Biceps Curls 3 x 12
Band Triceps Extension 3 x 12