Muscle-building workouts usually require weights like kettlebells, dumbbells, or barbells, but they don't have to. If you're after an alternative way to train, you don't need weights to develop full-body strength with this eight-move routine.
Instead, all you'll need is a set of the best resistance bands. These lightweight, portable bands often come in packs of varying strengths for you to add resistance to bodyweight exercises like squats or in place of weights when doing strength exercises like bicep curls.
If you've been weighing up resistance bands vs weights, both achieve muscle-building results, but bands are ideal for all experience levels, including beginners, and are substantially cheaper than investing in an equivalent set of dumbbells or kettlebells.
This is one of the reasons personal trainer Rhiannon Bailey (opens in new tab) describes this short eight-move routine as a "great holiday-friendly workout." You don't have to be on vacation to give it a go, though, as it's an excellent choice when you're tight on time or away from your regular workout space too.
Rather than aiming for a specific amount of repetitions, you'll do each exercise for 20 seconds, take a 10-second rest, and then start on the next move. You can repeat the eight-move circuit up to 10 times, depending on how long you have to train.
Watch Rhiannon Bailey's eight-move resistance band workout
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This workout style is known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to exercise intensely for short bursts with only minimal breaks. Your muscles will have to work hard, helping develop strength, but there are other benefits too.
Keeping the intensity high raises your heart rate, which helps burn energy during the session and boosts your metabolism for all-day fat-burning. It's similar to a HIIT workout for fat loss, except with a focus on resistance training rather than cardio exercise.
Bailey's routine combines several bodyweight exercises, including high-knee punches and thrusters, with some of the best chest workouts with resistance bands like banded push-ups and hammer curl front raises for muscle-building results.
Over time, you'll find the circuit easier with your usual resistance band. The key to getting results in the longer term is a technique known as progressive overload, where you gradually increase the resistance as you get stronger.
If you're reaching the top strength resistance band, it might be time to upgrade to a set of the best adjustable dumbbells instead. These customizable weights are a space-saving alternative to a full weights rack, and you can quickly switch the load, even mid-workout.
James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.
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