The Travel-Friendly, Resistance Workout

Resistance bands: versatile, travel friendly, and most importantly—extraordinarily effective. These little guys are cheap, compact, and super travel-friendly. In fact, I’m never without at least one band at all times; whether it be wrapped around my wrist, stuffed in my back pocket, or floating in the depths of my gym bag. For many of us, these are the perfect pieces of workout equipment that suit our on-the-go schedules, and will create a burn that will make you question your gym membership.

When it’s time to pack for your next trip, throw in a pack of mini bands and a ½ inch large band (Perform Better bands are my go-to!) into your bag and feel great knowing that you have all you need for a full-body resistance workout! Here are a few moves to try out circuit style, which will hit all major body parts while challenging your core strength and stability.

Mini Band Circuit:

Perform 3-4 reps of each exercise

Select a band with a resistance that feels challenging, yet sustainable for the entire circuit. Feel free to alternate different resistances with each exercise. Savor the burn while maintaining proper form by using slow and controlled movements!

Squats: 20 squats

Slide band 2 inches above the knee and position feet so that they are parallel and shoulder width apart; shift weight into your heels and sit back into squat so that your quads are parallel to the ground. To rise, drive heels into the ground and pull upwards with your glutes, giving them a squeeze at the top.

Diagonal Shuffle:15 steps on each side

Keeping the band in place, begin by standing with your feet and knees together and slightly bent. Keeping your hips squared off, step one foot out and forward at a 45 degree angle and root down through your heel. While resisting the band, encourage your front leg and glute to stabilize your hips and lower body as you slowly bring your back foot to meet the other. Repeat with opposite leg, walking in a forward diagonal pattern.

Deadlift:20 reps

Standing with feet shoulder width apart, stand on band so that your feet hold the base of it in place and you are able to grasp the top portion in your hands. Slowly and with a flat back, push your hips back in space, hinging at the waist and allowing your hands to travel down the front of your legs until they arrive at mid-shin. Press into your heels to activate where your butt and upper hamstring meet, and pull upward using these muscles!

Overhead Press + Bicep Curl : 60 seconds

Place band over forearms, arranging arms so that your elbows are down at your sides and your forearms are in a parallel eleven position while creating outward tension against the band. Keeping your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears, press and drive upward from underneath your shoulder blades into an overhead extension, keeping your arms parallel and resisting the bands inward pull. Return to beginning position by activating below your shoulder blades and pulling downward until elbows reach your sides. Get in some additional sculpting work by adding in a controlled bicep curl before the next overhead press!

Bicycle Crunches : 60 seconds

Place band around feet and bring knees into tabletop position. Curl up and twist your elbow towards the opposite knee while pressing your other leg into full extension against the resistance of the band. Repeat and alternate on each side, using your core and feet to maintain a balance of push-pull tension on the band as you twist through the movement.

Large Band Circuit

Perform 3-4 reps of each exercise

Find a doorframe where you can slide the band over and around both the upper hinge and the doorknob and completely shut the door

Straight Arm Lat Pulldown : 60 seconds

Loop band around upper door hinge and shut the door completely. Hold the band with palms down, about shoulder width apart. Keeping your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears, initiate a downward push from underneath your shoulder blades, using your back and straight arms to press the band down with straight arms toward the top of your hips. Resist the movement upward and repeat. For added resistance and glute work, perform the exercise on your knees.

Core Activated Leg-Lowers : 60 seconds

Loop band around the opposite doorknob and close door to secure. Lay down on back; hold band directly overhead shoulders and position legs toward the ceiling. Keep upper abs activated by holding constant tension on the band as you slowly lower your legs towards the floor. Engage lower abs and exhale to pull your legs back up.

Back Lunge with Knee Drive: 60 seconds on each side.

Loop band around the opposite doorknob and close door to secure. Step through the band with one leg, position the band 2 inches above knee. Step backward into a lunge with your opposite leg, using the banded leg to stabilize throughout entire movement. Press into your front heel and use your banded glute to motor up to standing. Challenge yourself further by adding an upward knee drive!

Anti-Rotation: 20 on each side

Keep band looped around doorknob. Holding band in both hands, step away from the door until band reaches a manageable tension. Initiating from deep within your core, use your abs to twist and rotate your torso 90 degrees away from the door. Keep your abs engaged, using them to control the tension as you bring the band and hands back to your midline.

About the Author

Chelsea DeLay is a certified personal trainer specializing in core conditioning and marathon training, and is licensed in pre- and post-natal fitness. With a background in running, gymnastics, and pilates, Chelsea’s unique training approach targets lean muscle definition through a combination of functional strength training, postural alignment, and high intensity interval training. Follow her workout stories on Instagram at @chelsealoreen and find her training near the Brooklyn Bridge waterfront at Equinox- DUMBO.