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4 Resistance Band Workouts Designed by Spartans To Take Anywhere


There’s a lot to love about resistance bands and loops, says Spartan senior director of training Sam Stauffer. From his home base in Boston, Mass., the 29-year-old athlete trains thousands of obstacle course racers across the world through the Spartan Fit app, and he also oversees the company’s elite group of trainers, the SGX. But even if you’re not swinging over mud pits and flinging javelins into hay bales, you can benefit from one of the simplest (and cheapest) pieces of gym equipment available.

“Resistance bands and loops are incredibly useful for a range of different exercises, mainly when it comes to progressing exercises,” Stauffer says. He explains that while the Spartan philosophy emphasizes body weight over all, even seasoned athletes likely have nursed imbalances and slight injuries for years that can be easily corrected, provided they’re carefully targeted. Furthermore, bands take comfortable exercises and make them harder: “Resistance bands are a great way to bring people back down to reality and challenge simple exercises a little bit more than you could with body weight alone,” he says.

Even if you’re not looking to correct, strengthen, or rehab longstanding niggles, resistance bands are the lightest, smallest, and most portable pieces of gear capable of delivering a high-quality workout. Whether you’re sweating it out in a studio apartment or just looking to get in a few workouts over a business trip, they’re easy to have nearby. Both the larger bands and the smaller loops can provide big gains in strength and balance, and to prove it, Stauffer has designed a few fast, effective, and exclusive-to-The-Manual workouts to get you closer to Spartan shape.

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Full-Body Loop


For this total body workout, you’ll need the small resistance loop. The series is an AMRAP, or As Many Reps As Possible, with each exercise taking one minute. After completing the three exercises, rest one minute to complete one round.

Reps: As many reps as possible in one minute

Sets: 5


  1. Bodyweight squat with Loop just above your knees
  2. Push-ups with Loop at your wrists
  3. Straight-leg sit-up with archer (complete a straight-legged sit-up, then pull the Loop in the archer exercise)
  4. One-minute rest

Repeat for five rounds.

Upper Body Destroyer


For this upper-body workout, you’ll need a large resistance band. Go thin, as many people underestimate the power of the band and get in over their heads. (You can always choke up if it’s too easy.) Finally, you’ll need an anchor point for your band — a tree or especially a sturdy railing are great.

Execute each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds:

  1. Upright two-handed row
  2. Pallof press (one arm)
  3. Alternate Pallof press
  4. Standing split-stance chest press (one arm)
  5. Alternate standing split-stance chest press
  6. Rest one minute

Repeat for three rounds, then with the same activity and rest period as the previous series:

  1. Strength-band push-up (see above image)
  2. Strength-band shoulder press (one arm)
  3. Alternate-arm shoulder press
  4. Bear craw static pull-through
  5. Rest one minute

Repeat for three rounds.

Lower-Body Lifts


Say goodbye to your glutes, hello to your hammies, and hasta la vista to about everything else south of your belly button. In this punchy workout, you’ll be moving fast between compound movements, recruiting every muscle fiber below your belt line. Take care with your form, keep an athletic posture, and don’t (repeat: don’t) cave your knees as the band pulls in.

For each round, 45 seconds of exercise, 30 seconds for rest and transition:

  1. With Loop just below knees and feet shoulder-width apart (tension on the Loop), six-inch side-steps
  2. With Band, deadlift
  3. With Loop below knees, lying on the ground, hip lift (curl toes to shins to focus on glutes)
  4. Two minutes rest

Repeat for three rounds, then, for 60 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds for rest and transition:

  1. With Band, prayer squat (similar to a goblet squat, with Band under feet, hook the other end into space between thumbs and index fingers, palms together)
  2. With Loop, reverse lunge to archer (hold Loop in hands, reverse lunge, return to neutral, then archer). Complete 30 seconds on one side, 30 seconds on the other, then rest for 30 seconds.
  3. Two minutes rest

Repeat for four rounds.

Read more: Best Leg Workouts

Tabata Banded Core


Fast and furious, this core-centric tabata-style workout moves quick, leaving you with a shaking (and, eventually, stronger) middle. You’ll only use the resistance loop. If adding the loop is too tough at first, the farther you slide it up your extremities, the easier it gets, allowing you to scale the difficulty.

  1. Plank jack with loop around ankles
  2. Alternating standing knee drive, loop around feet

Repeat for four rounds, then, for the same duration:

  1. Straight-leg sit-up, loop around wrists, arms shoulder-width apart and elbows locked out (with arms extended to ceiling, sit up by putting your head between your arms, which remain extended up)
  2. Palm plank, loop around wrists

Repeat for four rounds.

Read more: Best Ab Workouts

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Gugala
Features Writer
Jon Gugala is a freelance writer and photographer based in Nashville, Tenn. A former gear editor for Outside Magazine, his…
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