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Saturday, May 28, 2022

How to Use Resistance Bands: For Absolute Beginners

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The right training plan looks different for everyone, depending on your current fitness level and your goals. If you’re not currently doing any strength training, start with two days per week. As you become proficient in the exercises, you can add a third day into the week, says Matthews. (The training plan below includes the progression from two to three days per week, but if you do not feel comfortable adding a session, you can stick with two until you feel ready.)


If you are already doing other strength training, you can start by swapping in one resistance band workout for one of your strength sessions. Make sure that these sessions are on nonconsecutive days, which provides the rest and recovery your body needs.

Don’t forget the value of rest and recovery. “You need 48 hours of rest between sessions where you eat a healthy diet that includes good sources of protein to repair muscles,” says Charlie Goehl, professor in the department of kinesiology at Elmhurst University in Illinois. This is why the resistance band workouts in the plan below are not on consecutive days.


For the plan below, Matthews recommends doing a full-body workout for all the resistance band sessions. Choose a combination of exercises that target all the major muscle groups and take up the full 30 minutes of the workout. Matthews suggests doing three to four sets of each exercise, aiming for 20 reps per exercise. If that feels like too much to start with, complete one set including each exercise and gradually add sets over a few weeks as the workout starts to feel easier.

No matter how you structure the workout, make sure that you are doing a combination of upper and lower body. Matthews likes a workout that has at least one type of squat (to target the lower body), a push move (like a pushup to target chest and shoulders), and a pull move (like a seated row to target biceps and back).

If you’re not currently doing any other exercise, Matthews advises brisk walking or another aerobic exercise of your choice on your non-resistance-band workout days to meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendations to get 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week.



If you are currently doing other aerobic exercise, Matthews recommends either doing strength workouts on off cardio days or, if you choose to do them on the same day, structuring your workout to do resistance before cardio. (This way, muscles will be fresh and not worn out for the band workout.)

Ready? Let’s go.

Week 1

Day 1 30-minute walk or other cardio

Day 2 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 3 30-minute walk or other cardio

Day 4 30-minute walk or other cardio

Day 5 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 6 30-minute walk or other cardio

Day 7 Rest (or gentle activity, like an easy walk)

Week 2

Day 1 30-minute walk

Day 2 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 3 30-minute walk or other cardio activity

Day 4 30-minute walk or other cardio activity

Day 5 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 6 30-minute walk or other cardio activity

Day 7 Rest (or gentle activity, like an easy walk)

Week 3

Day 1 30-minute walk or other cardio activity

Day 2 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 3 30-minute walk or other cardio activity

Day 4 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 5 30-minute walk or other cardio activity

Day 6 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 7 Rest (or gentle activity, like an easy walk)

Week 4

Day 1 30-minute walk or other cardio activity

Day 2 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 3 30-minute walk or other cardio activity

Day 4 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 5 30-minute walk or other cardio activity

Day 6 Full-body resistance band workout, 30 minutes

Day 7 Rest (or gentle activity, like an easy walk)



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