Switch up your regular core workout or turn up the notch on your favorite ab moves with these resistance band ab exercises. No need for elaborate gym equipment.

Research shows resistance bands may be just as effective as using machines at the gym for working core muscles, and – bonus – more enjoyable. That’s important too. Because, the more you enjoy your workout, the more likely you’re going to make it a habit. Plus, you can add a stability ball for even greater exercise variety. Who needs the gym?

Why Build Stronger Abs?

Yes, toned abs look great, but they’re important for more than aesthetic reasons; they work with your other midsection muscles to help keep your spine properly aligned and supported, thereby protecting it from excessive loads and injury.  A weak or imbalanced core is linked with lower back pain.

Furthermore, the core acts as a bridge between the upper and lower extremities, and transfers force from the upper body to the lower body and vice versa.

In other words, a strong core helps you throw further, run faster, and generally do everything better.

Core Anatomy

The muscles of your midsection are collectively called your core. The four main core muscles are:

Rectus abdominus – located on the front of your abdomen and running from your lower ribs to your pelvis, this is the muscle that is often called the six-pack. We’ve all got one – it’s just that some of us are hiding it under a layer of belly fat. Its main function is flexing your spine forward. 

Obliques – crossed your waist like diagonal elastic bands, your obliques are responsible for bending your spine sideways and rotating your spine. 

Transverse abdominus – circling your waist like a weight training belt, this muscle compresses your internal organs to produce intra abdominal pressure which supports your spine from within. 

Erector spinae – running from the back of your skull to the base of your spine, this long series of muscles extends your spine and also holds your spine up against gravity. 

Any good ab workout needs to include exercises for these less common muscles too if you are to ensure your midsection not only looks good, but functions properly too. 

Resistance Band Ab Exercises

Here are 10 resistance band ab exercises to work out your core. Remember to maintain good form. If you need to make the exercises more challenging change bands to one with a higher resistance level or add a second band.

1 Kneeling Crunches

Muscles used: Rectus abdominus 

  • Fix the middle of your band to a chest-high anchor and hold the ends. Kneel down below the anchor and place your hands next to or behind your head.
  • Crunch forward and down and try to touch your elbows to your knees.
  • Return to the upright position and repeat. 

2 Side Bends

Muscles used: Obliques 

  • Place your left foot on the middle of your band and hold the ends in your left hand with your arm by your side.
  • Lean away from the band and stretch your free arm as far as you can down your opposite leg without twisting your shoulders or hips.
  • Return to the upright position and repeat.
  • Perform the same number of repetitions on your opposite side. 

3 Standing Russian Twists

Muscles used: Obliques 

  • Attach one end of your band to a shoulder-high anchor pint and hold the other end in both hands.
  • With your arms straight and standing sideways on to the anchor point, step away to put tension in the band.
  • Rotate your upper body like a tank turret away from the anchor point and through around 180 degrees.
  • Turn back again and repeat.
  • Swap sides and perform the same number of repetitions in the opposite direction. 

4 Reverse Crunches

Muscles used: Rectus abdominus 

  • Form a loop with your resistance band and fix it to a low anchor point.
  • Lie on your back and place your feet in the loop with your legs bent and heels on the floor. Slide backward to tension the band.
  • Keeping your knees bent, pull your knees into your chest against the resistance offered by the band, lifting your butt off the floor as you do so.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat. 

5 Band Crunches

Muscles used: Rectus abdominus 

  • Attach the middle of your resistance band to a low anchor point and lie down with your head nearest the anchor.
  • Grab the ends of the band in both hands. Place your hands on your temples and bend your legs, placing your feet flat on the floor. Slide away from the anchor point to tension the band.
  • Roll your head and shoulders up and off the floor against the resistance offered by the band.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat. 

6 Good Mornings

Muscles used: Erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings 

  • Form a loop with your band and place the loop over your head. Bend your knees and step into the bottom of the loop. Stand up straight and bend your knees slightly.
  • Hinge foreword from your hips, push your butt back and lean forward. Do not let your lower back becomes rounded.
  • Stand back up and repeat. 

7 Planks with Rows

Muscles used: Rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus 

  • Attach your band to a low anchor point and hold the end in one hand.
  • Drop down and into the plank position resting on one elbow with the arm holding the band extended in front of you.
  • While maintaining a good plank position, pull your hand into your chest and then extend your arm again.
  • On completion, rest a moment and perform the same number of reps on the opposite side. 

8 Seated Russian Twists

Muscles used: Obliques, erector spinae

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended and your torso upright. Loop the middle of your band over your feet and grab the ends in both hands.
  • Extend your arms straight out in front of you.
  • Keeping your arms stiff, rotate your upper body to the left and to the right as far as your flexibility allows and without leaning back. 

9 Diagonal Reverse Wood Chops

Muscles used: Obliques 

  • Place the center of your band under your left foot and hold the ends tightly in both hands.
  • Keeping your arms straight, rotate your upper body to the right and raise your arms up above shoulder level so your band is stretched out diagonally across your body.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat. 

10 Single Arm Press

Muscles used: Rectus abdominus, obliques, pectoralis major, triceps, anterior deltoids 

  • Fix your band to a waist-high anchor point and grab the other end in one hand. Turn your back on the anchor point so that the band runs under your arm.
  • Step forward to tension the band and adopt a split stance for stability.
  • Keeping your hips and shoulders square, press your arm forward from your chest and resist the rotational force of the band.
  • Bring your arm back to your chest and repeat.
  • On completion, change arms and perform the same number of reps on the opposite side. 



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