crossfit bands exercises
Crossfit

16 Best Crossfit Bands Exercises For Any Fitness Level

Resistance bands gained popularity in the 1980s, and in recent years their popularity has soared. 

The benefits of crossfit bands exercises go far beyond the positive impact it has on our health. The Bands themselves are relatively cheap compared to costly gym memberships or home equipment. The exercises are easy for any fitness level to execute. 

Resistance bands are extremely popular among professional athletes. They are practical to use and take no time to set up. Crossfit bands exercises and movements can be performed anywhere, providing another positive benefit for athletes who are continuously moving with travel.

The bands are known by many names such as theraband, tubes, and resistance bands. They offer numerous health benefits such as:

  • improved functional capacity
  • increases in strength
  • increased muscle activation
  • improved body composition 
  • quality of life

This article provides 16 resistance crossfit band exercises that can be performed anywhere. The training covers the upper and lower body and is designed for all levels of fitness. 

1. Wrist Extension And Flexion

Wrist extension stretches improve flexibility and strength in the wrist and forearm. An excellent crossfit bands exercise, especially for those undergoing rehabilitation.

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Wrists, Forearms

Coaches Advice : 

  1. Place the tubing under your foot, make sure it’s secure
  2. With your palm facing down, grab the band, with your forearm by your side
  3. Start by extending your wrist up as far as you can, hold for a two count and return
  4. After completion of the exercise, change your grip so that your palm is facing up
  5. Repeat 

Coaches Tip: Only take the movement as far as you comfortably can

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15 reps

2. Resistance Band Row

The bent-over row hits the lower and upper back, lats and shoulders, and to a certain degree, the core as well. 

Equipment: Resistance Band 

Primary Muscles: Shoulders, Lats, Core

Coaches Advice :

  1. Start with one foot on the band in a staggered stance
  2. Keeping your back straight, slowly bend at the hips
  3. Elbows extended, grab one end of the resistance band 
  4. Slowly bring the resistance band upwards using the rowing motion
  5. Pause at the top for a three count
  6. Return to the start position and repeat using your other arm

Coaches Tip: Keep the core engaged at all times 

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15 reps

3. External Shoulder Rotation

Having adequate external rotation in your shoulders keeps them strong and improves your overall posture. An excellent crossfit bands exercise, this external movement provides strengthening with limited stress on the joints. 

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Shoulders

Coaches Advice: 

  1. Securely attach one end of the resistance band to an anchor such as a door frame or fence
  2. Take a rolled-up towel and place it under your arm, with a bent elbow ensuring your forearm is in front of your body.
  3. With your elbow at your side and your forearm parallel to the floor, slowly pull the band outwards
  4. Pause at the top of the movement and return to the starting position
  5. Repeat on both side of the body 

Coaches Tip: Keep your head and back straight and perform the movement in a controlled fashion

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 12 reps

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4. Resistance Band Shoulder Hug

The resistance band hug is an excellent activity to use as a warm-up before undergoing more strenuous activity. It increases the range of motion and flexibility in the shoulder joints and helps strengthen the core.

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Shoulders, Delts, Lats

Coaches Advice:

  1. Place the resistance band behind or around your upper back, holding the handles in each hand
  2. Pull both ends of the bands together, crossing your forearms, with a bend in the elbow and wrists straight. 
  3. At the top of the movement, pause and slowly return in a controlled fashion
  4. Repeat

Coaches Tip: For an added stretch, make it a bit of fun; imagine your hugging a long lost love one or a dear family friend. 

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps

5. Reverse Fly With Resistance Band

This crossfit bands exercise is great for strengthening and improving your posture and provides an excellent substitute to the weighted version, which can be a complicated movement to learn. 

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Shoulders

Coaches Advice:

  1. At shoulder level, firmly grasp the handle of the band
  2. Slowly extend the resistance band outwards, maintaining shoulder height level
  3. As always, be sure to return in a slow controlled manner.
  4. Repeat

Coaches Tip: Maintain a strong core throughout the entire exercise

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15 reps

6. Core Crunch Using Resistance Band 

This is a classic exercise, and utilizing the resistance band puts a new spin on it. As the name suggests, it works the core muscle groups. It provides strengthening and mobility for your pelvis, hips, and lower backs.

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Core and Abs

Coaches Advice: 

  1. Firmly secure the resistance band at ground level close to your head
  2. In each hand, hold one handle
  3. Start the crunch movement by slowly pulling the band away from the anchor point
  4. Be sure to keep your feet flat on the ground, pause and repeat

Coaches Tip: Maintain a straight back when returning to the start position

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15 reps

7. Resistance Band Lunge

This crossfit bands exercise provides you with added resistance and turns the humble lunge into a beast of a workout. Hitting the hamstrings, glutes, and quads, it will get the heart pumping and help you burn those unwanted calories.

Equipment: Resistance Band 

Primary Muscles: Hamstrings, Glutes, Quads

Coaches Advice:

  1. Stand in the middle of the tubing with one foot on the band
  2. Hold the grips at chest level with elbows slightly bent
  3. Put one leg in front of the other with knees slightly bent
  4. Make sure your front thigh and back shinbone is parallel to the ground
  5. When returning to the start position, be sure to keep the core engaged and your back nice and straight
  6. Repeat

Coaches Tip: Only step forward as far as you feel comfortable; this will keep stress off the knees and help to prevent injury

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 12 reps 

8. Bicep Curl 

An excellent alternative to the traditional free weight bicep curl, the resistance bicep curl is one of the best crossfit bands exercises helping build bigger biceps. The bands offer a broader movement range while providing little to no impact on the elbows and wrists.

Equipment: Resistance Band 

Primary Muscles: Bicep

Coaches Advice:

  1. Stand in an athletic position with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Grab the handle with one or two hands and keep them by your side
  3. Slowly bring the resistance band up, making sure to get a good contraction in your bicep.
  4. Lower to the start position
  5. Repeat on the other side if doing a one-handed version 
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Coaches Tip: Pause at the top for a good contraction

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15

9. Resistance Band Fly 

The Resistance band chest fly is an excellent crossfit band exercise that offers a great alternative to the weighted version. The fly works the chest and stimulates the muscle fibers uniquely when compared to traditional weight training due to your muscle’s natural curve.

Equipment: Resistance Band 

Primary Muscles: Chest, Shoulders

Coaches Advice:

  1. With your arms stretched at chest height and straight, hold both handles in your hands
  2. Bring your hands together by pushing the resistance band in front of you.
  3. Make sure your elbows are upwards through the movement and be sure to contract your chest muscles when pressing
  4. Return to the start position in a controlled manner 

Coaches Tip: Keep the core tight to help prevent injury and allow for a better contraction

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10

10. Front Squat 

The frontal squat helps improve your strength in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings; these benefits help attribute positive gains such as speed and power.

Front squats put less stress on the lower back due to the weight positioning, which does not compress the spine as the traditional back squat does. 

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core

Coaches Advice: 

  1. Shoulder-width apart, stand on the band in an athletic position, with knees slightly bent
  2. Pull the resistance band up so as it rests on your shoulders
  3. Slowly perform the squat, keeping your core engaged at all times
  4. Stop when your knees are parallel to the ground
  5. Hold for a 3-second pause and 
  6. Repeat

Coaches Tip: To avoid injury, only lower as far as you feel comfortable

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15

11. Hip Abduction (Side)

The hip abductors are literally one of the most forgotten muscle groups we have. They affect and contribute to the way we walk, stand, run, and sit. 

This exercise is excellent for women looking to tone and shape the legs and buttocks area, with a limited impact on the body. 

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Hip Abductors

Coaches Advice:

  1. On the floor or yoga mat, lie on your side
  2. Your hips and knees should be at 90 degrees with the band secured around your knees
  3. Slowly bring your upper leg up, effectively pulling separating both knees to make a space
  4. Hold for a 3-second pause and return 
  5. Repeat on the other side

Coaches Tip: The 3-second pause at the top of the movement helps with shaping and toning 

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10

12. Resistance Band Glute Bridge

The Glute Bridge hits the abs, lower back, and of course, the glutes, as the name suggests. The bridge is an essential movement in the Crossfit band exercises category, as it does not place pressure on the lower back, making it a versatile exercise for all abilities. 

Equipment: Resistance Band 

Primary Muscles: Glutes, Core

Coaches Advice:

  1. Lying on your back, wrap the resistance band around your knees, with your knees bent at 90 degrees
  2. Bring your hips up to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders
  3. Be sure to squeeze your glutes and butt 
  4. Return slowly 
  5. Repeat

Coaches Tip: At the top of the movement or when in the “bridge” position, squeeze your core/abs for extra contraction and toning of the muscle

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 12 reps

13. The Banana Split 

The banana split focuses specifically on the chest muscles and to a certain degree the shoulders and lats too. A great exercise for flexibility and those looking to open their chest and shoulders. 

Related Post:  10 Easy CrossFit Back Exercises for Strength and Endurance

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Chest, Shoulders

Coaches Advice:

  1. In an athletic position, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Both hands should be in front and at shoulder height
  3. Grab the resistance band at shoulder width length
  4. Slowly pull the resistance band out and slightly back, making sure your shoulder blades contract
  5. Return to the start 
  6. Repeat

Coaches Tip: Squeeze the pecs for a count of 3 seconds to accentuate the contraction in the muscle

Sets and Reps: 3sets of 12 reps

14. Monster Walk

This exercise helps reduce injury and is a critical movement for professional athletes, particularly tennis and basketball players. The monster walk combines strength training with preventative injury measurements by increasing the strength of the knee joints. 

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Butt

Coaches Advice:

  1. Above knee height, wrap the resistance band around your legs
  2. Lower into an abbreviated squat with your feet apart to create tension on the band
  3. Start taking 10-12 steps in one direction, maintaining tension on the bands at al times
  4. Return by stepping in the opposite direction
  5. Repeat

Coaches Tip: The slower, the better for this movement; this helps keep resistance on the band, thus making the exercise more difficult 

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15 steps on each side 

15. Resistance Band Push-Up

Traditional push-ups are an excellent movement for developing upper body strength, so coupling this movement to a resistance band, takes it to the next level. 

The Resistance Band push-up works the chest, lower back, and core. 

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Chest, Back, Shoulders

Coaches Advice:

  1. Drop into the plank position as you would for a regular push-up
  2. The band should be wrapped around your chest with ends under your hands
  3. Lower to the floor like a traditional push-up and return, being careful not to lock-out the elbows at the top of the movement
  4. Repeat

Coaches Tip: Lower until your nose touches the ground for a better stretch and contraction

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps

16. Squat To Overhead Press

The Squat and Overhead Press is a full-body movement that helps us function at our full intensity day in day out.

The squatting movement strengthens your quads, glutes, and abs, while the pressing movement works your shoulders, back, and lats. 

Equipment: Resistance Band

Primary Muscles: Glutes, Core, Shoulders, Butt, 

Coaches Advice:

  1. Start by standing on the resistance band feet shoulder-width apart
  2. With your hands at shoulder level and your palms facing up, firmly grasp the handles of the band
  3. Lower into a squat, then explosively return, extending your arms overhead, imitating the pressing movement.
  4. Repeat

Coaches tip: When returning from the squat position, explode upwards with everything you have 

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 8 reps

Related Post: 12 Best Resistance Bands for Home Gym

Conclusion

Evidence suggests that resistance training with therabands provides strength gains, which are similar when compared to traditional weight training. 

Resistance bands let coaches, physios, athletes, and everyday people to use the bands with low costs and ease of handling. The bands can be used in a variety of settings and help to not only maintain strength but increase it too.

Being made of durable rubber, the bands provide constant tension to the muscles helping stimulate continued muscle growth. In contrast, lifting free weights in a direction other than upwards and downwards, muscle tension is removed at specific points in the movement range.

Resistance bands provide users who may be suffering from injury or who are at a lower level of fitness, to still gain all the benefits one would from traditional training methods such as weight training.

Brenton Barker

Brenton holds a Degree in Sports Coaching from the University of Delaware and was the former Head Advisor for the Japanese Government's Sports Science Institute. He has held Managerial and Head Coaching roles with Australia's National Governing Body, Tennis Australia, and served on the Dunlop International Sports Advisory Board for eight years. Brenton currently consults with several professional athletes and clients in the areas of Self-Accountability, Health, and Goal Orientation.

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