You probably don’t need us to tell you that you need your core for just about everything. From 100-kg back squats to sitting up in your chair with correct posture, your core is constantly at work. Resistance bands are a great ally because they’re low-impact (read: safe), compact, and incredibly versatile. Let’s go over five ab resistance band workouts you can do from just about anywhere.
5 Ab Resistance Band Workouts for a Stronger Core
1. Mountain Climber
You’ve likely done this one before, perhaps as a warm-up or as part of a cardio workout. But did you know you can up the intensity by introducing a mini resistance band?
Loop the band around your toes so that you’re inside the band, and then perform the movement. Think of bringing each knee to the elbow on the same side. Your upper body should be stationary!
You’re probably going to be moving slower than normal. This is totally normal and actually preferable. The goal isn’t to move as fast as possible or knock out as many reps as possible. Slow and controlled wins. This means you’re constantly on tension and your abs are getting a real workout.
Here’s what it looks like:
2. Bicycle Crunch
This is similar to the banded mountain climber in that you’re bringing one knee to an elbow. However, you’re flipped on your back, and you bring the opposite knee to an elbow. By doing this, you get an extra burn from the twisting of your core. This ab resistance band workout is so simple but forces you to engage multiple muscle groups.
Remember to push your lower back into the floor. Think of pulling your belly button down into the ground. If there’s a gap anywhere between your lower back and the surface you’re laying on, it means that your core isn’t engaged enough.
3. Flutter Kicks
You wouldn’t suspect that an exercise with so little movement could be so hard. But often, the most challenging core exercises are the ones that require you to stabilize yourself more than anything else.
With flutter kicks, loop a mini band somewhere between your calves and ankles. The lower it is, the more challenging this is going to be. Lift your legs into the air and scissor them back and forth. For an added challenge, lift your head and shoulders off the ground so that you’re in a crunch position. Remember to push your lower back into the floor!
You can make these even harder by starting with your legs closer to the ground. Alternatively, the higher up they are to start, the easier this is going to be. As an added bonus, these are especially good for targeting your lower abs.
Yes, deadlifts are a core exercise! Let’s put a spin on them to make it an ab resistance band workout.
Grab the ends of a long resistance band in each hand. Then, step onto the middle of it so that the band is secured under your feet. From there, you’re going to perform your standard deadlift. Simple! Mind your form so that you don’t get sloppy. Your core should be engaged throughout the entire movement.
Deadlifts are one of the cornerstones of functional fitness.
5. Glute Bridge March
Yes, this is a great glute exercise to build your backside. But it’s also going to target your core. Place a mini resistance band just above your knees. Lay down on your back and bend your legs. Lift your hips off the ground and begin “marching.”
You won’t be able to maintain this position and lift your legs without utilizing your core. This is a spicy one!
3 Tips for Bigger Gains with Ab Resistance Band Workouts
We’d like to leave you with a few final pieces of advice to get the most out of these core exercises.
Tip #1: Always Keep the Resistance Band on Tension
We’ve talked before about how time under tension is what builds muscle. This is one of the biggest benefits of ab resistance band workouts: You’re constantly under tension without the wear and tear that something like a barbell could bring.
But this also means that the band should always be on tension. If it ever loses it — meaning the band goes slack — you need to readjust. You should always be resisting against it — hence the name “resistance band.”
Tip #2: Play Around with Where You Place the Resistance Band
Remember what we said about flutter kicks? The higher the band on your legs, the easier they’ll be. The lower, the harder.
This concept applies to many different ab resistance band workouts. Before you tackle any exercise, spend a minute trying different placements for the band.
Tip #3: Try Different Thicknesses and Even Double Up
You’ll notice that bands come in different thicknesses. A thinner band is going to offer less resistance than a thicker band, meaning it’s going to be less challenging. You’ll likely need different thicknesses for different ab resistance band workouts. This goes for both mini and long bands.
You can also try using more than one band. We saw this in the deadlift video above. Using two (or more) bands is going to increase the resistance and thus make the exercise more challenging.
When it comes to training with resistance bands, there’s no shortage of exercises you can do. You can even craft an entire workout using nothing but a single band! Get creative, always challenge yourself, and you’ll be on your way to a stronger, healthier, happier you.