Lightweight, affordable, and compact, resistance bands make it easy for almost anyone to get a full-body workout at home. That’s why they’re a staple for Seth Keena-Levin, an alpinist and coach with the training platform Uphill Athlete. You can work in any plane of motion and make precise tension adjustments, so they’re great for mimicking the demands of outdoor activities. To boost performance and prevent injury, Keena-Levin suggests running through this beginner-friendly workout two or three times a week. Cycle through the entire sequence three to five times, with a one- to two-minute rest between each circuit. You will need a mini band (small, with a flat profile) and a heavy-duty band (longer and thicker).
Lateral Leg Extension
Why: Works the glutes, which promotes knee stability and prevents common overuse injuries.
How: Loop a mini band around your legs just below the knees. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with light tension on the band. Kick one leg back diagonally as high as you can in a slow and controlled motion, keeping your knee extended and your ankle and toes flexed. To add intensity, move the band to your ankles. Perform 10 to 15 reps with each leg.
Why: Develops scapular (shoulder bone) stability, which helps prevent shoulder and elbow injuries.
How: With your feet shoulder width apart, gently engage your glutes and core, and pull your shoulders back and down. Grasp one end of a heavy-duty band in your right hand and bend at the elbow to bring it to your right hip. Hold the other end in your left hand and raise your arm up and out to the side, until your biceps is by your ear. Complete 10 to 15 reps, then repeat with the right arm.
Why: Develops grip strength and wrist and shoulder stability.
How: With your arms by your sides and your elbows at 90 degrees, hold one end of a mini or heavy-duty band in each hand, palms down. With light tension in the band, turn your palms up, then down. After 8 to 12 reps, flip your grip and perform the same motion in the opposite direction. This will work your muscles both eccentrically and concentrically.
Forward Lunge with Knee Drive
Why: Targets your posterior chain and hip flexors, and mimics sustained uphill movement.
How: Secure a heavy-duty band to the leg of a couch and loop it around your hips. Maintain a forward lean through your upper body and step your right leg forward into a lunge, knee bent 90 degrees. While straightening your right leg to a standing position, kick your left knee up toward your chest. Step your left leg back to return to a lunge before returning to the starting stance. Do 15 to 20 reps per leg.
Lead Illustration: George Wylesol