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Workouts for Women

Mix-and-Match Workout: Mini Bands

With 30 minutes and a set of mini bands, you can tackle all your major muscle groups.

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Few pieces of exercise equipment match the “bang for your buck” you get with mini bands. For about $10 (and oftentimes less), you can get a five-band set that will provide a great at-home workout for all areas of the body.

Mini bands are typically used primarily for glute-specific exercises, but they can do much more than that with a little creativity. The below 30-minute workout from Shayla Rog, CPT, transformation coach and owner of Operation: Badass, gives you plenty of glute work, of course, but it also targets the lats, triceps, hamstrings and core. Pretty important muscle groups, we’d say. And all you need are your mini bands and a little bit of floor space.

Check out more installments of the Oxygen Mix-and-Match Workout series!

Bodyweight Warm-Up

Instructions: This is an “activation circuit” that Rog recommends doing at the start of all her mix-and-match workouts. Perform the below three exercises as a circuit (one after the other without resting), completing the circuit two times. Rog’s website offers video demonstrations of the three exercises (first three exercises shown).

 

Exercise Reps
Bird Dog 10 (each side)
Frog Pump 10
Arm Circles 10 (each way)

Mix-and-Match Mini-Band Workout

Instructions: This workout can be performed with a single mini band, though having a complete set of three to five bands will allow you to use different resistances for different exercises, depending on the difficulty of each move.

On supersets, go directly from the first exercise to the second without resting. After the second exercise in the pairing, rest 60 to 90 seconds and repeat the superset. After your third time through the superset, go straight to the next exercise (banded lat pulldown).

Exercise Sets Reps
Banded Lat Pulldown 1 20
Banded Glute Bridge With Abductor Pulse
— superset with —
Banded One-Arm Triceps Kickback
3 15

12 (each side)
Banded Lat Pulldown 1 10
Banded Low-Lateral Squat Walk
— superset with —
Banded Side-Step Plank
3 10 (each direction)

10 (each direction)
Banded Lat Pulldown 1 max reps

Do: Use a heavier/thicker band for lower-body movements compared to upper body, Rog advises. Your glutes, quads and hamstrings are stronger than your chest, back, shoulders and arm muscles, and thus should be able to handle more resistance. 

Don’t: Stop short on your reps. Reaching full range of motion is especially important with bands because the top of the rep is when the band offers the most resistance for increasing strength. 

Intensity Tip: “Use a band that allows you to feel challenged by the time you finish all the reps in a given set but not cause you to strain or lose form,” Rog says.

Exercises

Banded Lat Pulldown

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Loop a mini band around your arms near your wrists. With your hands in a pronated position (palms forward), elevate your hands above your head. Slowly push out and down, leading with your elbows and squeezing your lats, until your upper arms are slightly past a 90-degree angle with your body. The band should pass in front of your face. Return to the starting position. 

Banded Glute Bridge With Abductor Pulse 

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Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and a mini-band around your thighs just above your knees. Pressing your knees outward against the band tension to active the glutes, perform a glute bridge. At the top, hold the bridge position and do three quick reps of hip abduction (pressing your knees out, then back in), then lower back down to the floor. That’s one rep. 

Banded One-Arm Triceps Kickback 

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Anchor one end of a band in front of you on a wall with one hand, leaning your weight into the wall. Grab the other end of the band with the opposite hand (this will be your working side) and create tension in the band. Start with your torso at roughly 45 degrees to the wall and your working arm in tight to your side. Bend that arm to 90 degrees, then contract your triceps to extend your elbow completely. Squeeze the contraction at the top. Complete all reps with that arm, then switch arms and repeat. To increase intensity, incorporate a three-second hold at peak contraction at the top of each rep. 

Banded Low-Lateral Squat Walk

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Stand with the mini band around your legs just above your knees. Spread your feet to shoulder width to put tension on the band, and perform a full squat. Stay in the down position of the squat (thighs parallel with the floor) and perform 10 lateral steps in one direction. When you reach 10, go in the opposite direction for 10 steps to that side. 

Banded Side-Step Plank 

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Place a mini band around your thighs just above your knees and assume a plank position with your forearms on the floor below you. Step one foot out to the side as far as possible (the mini band will make this difficult), then bring it back in and repeat with the other leg. That’s one rep.

Check out the rest of the Oxygen Mix-and-Match workouts here.