Looped exercise bands are affordable, accessible, and transportable pieces of exercise equipment that we at Nielsen Fitness often recommend. Trainers are able to bring a variety of sizes and strengths that can suit all client levels, right to your door. However, it’s not uncommon for a trainer to suggest a client purchase their your own set of bands: Owning some basic equipment can help a trainee stay on top of their exercise goals between sessions. This is especially useful for those who travel, as bands can easily be stowed in a suitcase or backpack for workouts on the go. If you’re looking to brush up on your arsenal of looped band movements, read on to learn a few of our favourites:

Our five favourite looped band exercises

lateral shuffles

Step into a looped band with your feet about shoulder-width apart. You should be standing with tension through the band around your ankles or shins. Slightly bend your knees and push your hips back to engage your glutes. Increase the tension on your glutes by using those muscles to shuffle side to side: Start by taking four steps to the right, then four steps to the left until you hit twenty repetitions. Rest, then repeat two more sets. Your glutes should feel nice and warm. If this feels too easy, use a band with higher tension or widen your stance.

standing external rotation

Place a looped band around your wrists with your palms facing each other. You should be standing with your hands around shoulder-width apart and tension through the band. Keep your upper arms against your torso as you compress your shoulder blades and engage the external rotators of your shoulders to pull your hands apart. Keep your forearms parallel to the floor as you perform 12-15 repetitions. Rest, then repeat two more sets. This is a surprisingly tough one!

braced hip extension (bridge)

Sit down on the floor and place a looped band around your ankles or just above your knees. Lay back in semi-supine with your feet about hip-width apart. You should feel tension through the band. Engage your glutes to lift your hips to the ceiling, all while pushing slightly outward on the band. Slowly lower back to start, then repeat. Perform 12-15 repetitions for 3 sets. This will optimize glute engagement—particularly in the gluteus medius muscles—and protect the knees during hip extension.

braced squat

Step into a looped band and place it just above your knees. You should be standing with tension through the band around your legs. Next, perform a basic squat by hinging from your hips to sit your glutes back, lowering until your quadriceps are parallel (or close to parallel) with the floor. Maintain a neutral spine and forward gaze. Slowly return to start, then repeat 12-15 repetitions. You should be pushing slightly outward on the band throughout the range of motion. Similar to braced hip extension, this will optimize glute engagement and protect the knees.

horizontal abduction

Hold a looped band between two hands with your arms extended in front of you at chest height. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows to prevent hyperextension. Compress your shoulders and drive them together as you pull the band apart as far as you can without altering the hinge of your elbows. Slowly return to start. Repeat 10-12 repetitions for 3 sets. You should feel this through the backs of your shoulders.

If you’re in need of some one-on-one guidance to properly hone these looped band skills, we can help. Our trainers specialize in functional exercise to keep you feeling your best, wherever you are.