Best Resistance Band Ab Exercises to Increase Core Strength
by Evelyn Valdez·
Your core involves more than just abdominal muscles, it supports your entire body. A strong core helps you move around, makes daily life activities easier, and helps you pick up and lift heavy objects – like weights! Fortunately training your core and abdominal muscles is easy because it doesn't require any fancy equipment. You can use your body weight, but if you want to take your ab exercises to the next level use resistance bands!
Resistance bands are typically used for full-body workouts at home, but their versatility makes them also great for core training. What makes resistance training so great is that the bands provide an external resistance that your muscles work against, similarly to free weights, except there's an added challenge for your muscles to fight the tension throughout the entire exercise being performed. This makes it extremely effective at improving core strength and helping anyone achieve their fitness goals of having rock-solid abs!
Ab exercises using bands aren't as common, but we'll be guiding you through 6 of the best resistance band exercises so you can create your own resistance band ab workout!
6 Resistance band exercises for abs
For the exercises below you'll be needing a short resistance band and a long resistance band. We recommend going with lighter resistance, so stick to a light resistance or medium resistance band (depending on your fitness level).
Banded dead bug
Dead bugs are already a great core exercise as is, but adding a short band will really increase the intensity of the exercise. It involves keeping your trunk stable while moving the rest of your body, and although it looks simple, it'll really fire up your core.
- Lie faceup on a mat, wrap a short band around one foot and hold it with the opposite hand. Your legs should be off the floor and knees bent.
- Keep your back pressed against the floor, and keep the hand and shoulder (on the banded hand) stabilized as you extend the banded leg out.
- Keep your core engaged to stabilize the spine as you extend.
- Slowly return the leg back to start.
- Do 10 reps, and then repeat using your other leg and arm.
Banded plank walk
Planks are by far one of the best core exercises because it requires you to put effort into maintaining your balance and keeping your body stable. This helps to work not only your entire core but also your upper body! Adding a resistance band and the added walking movement takes a regular plank to a new level.
- Place a short resistance band slightly above the knee and assume a high plank position (on your hands, not elbows).
- Keeping your upper body and core stable, walk your legs forward with knees floating just above the floor. You'll be in a bear plank position. As you walk forward, use your abdominals for control to avoid overworking your hip flexors.
- Begin to move your legs back into a straight-legged plank position. Repeat the movement, but alternate the lead leg.
- Do 8-10 reps.
Don't worry if you don't have a weight plate or dumbbell at home, you can easily do Russian twists with a long resistance band to target your obliques! Just be careful when performing this exercise, many people make the mistake of using their lower back which can cause pain and compress the lumbar spine. Protect your lower back by stabilizing the hips and focusing on rotating from the waist up.
- Begin by sitting with knees bent slightly bent out in front of you and heels on the floor, so that you're sitting in a V-sit position.
- Loop a long band around your feet and then hold the ends of the band in both hands.
- Maintain your lower body stable and being to twist your torso moving hands from hip to hip.
- For those wanting more of a challenge, lift your heels off the floor.
- Do 10-15 reps.
Standing knee tuck
The standing knee tuck is an excellent ab exercise that works your entire core, but especially the obliques.
- Loop a short band around the middle of your feet and then stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Place your hands behind your head and begin to lift your right knee toward your chest, crunching your left elbow towards your knee. Avoid rounding your shoulders.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- Continue alternating for 10-20 reps.
Banded bird dog
The bird dog is similar to the dead bug, except it's inverted, so you're facing down instead of up. This change of position helps target your core at a different angle.
- Get on all your hands and knees on a mat and wrap one end of a long resistance band around the arch of one foot. Hold the other end of the band using the opposite hand.
- Keeping your core engaged, and spine stable, simultaneously extend the banded arm and foot out. So that your arm is straight in front of you, and your leg is behind you.
- Complete 10 reps on each side.
Woodchoppers are one of the best cable exercises because it requires you to work in the transverse plane, allowing you to hit smaller muscles that you might've missed. Except now, you can do them at home by only using a long band! Aside from working your obliques and transverse abdominals, this exercise works your lats, shoulders, and upper back.
There are two ways to do this exercise, you can attach a long band in a secure high position (like using a door anchor or a squat rack) to do a high-to-low woodchopper. Or, if you don't have a secure attachment, you can simply follow the directions below to do a low-to-high woodchopper.
- Anchor one end of the band with your foot and stand with feet wide out to the sides.
- Hold the other end of the band with both hands.
- Begin to rotate from the torso (not pulling the band with your hands) in the direction away from the leg that is anchoring the band. Lift the arms to stretch the band while you maintain your core tight and your hips stable.
- Complete 10 reps, and anchor the band on your other foot to do the exercise on the other side.
Start building a stronger core
Now, you're ready to build an at-home resistance band workout for abs! Simply just 2-3 exercises above to do after your usual workout routine, two times a week to start building a stronger core. And if you need more core exercises you can do at home with no equipment, check out our list of Best At-Home Core Exercises!
Need a resistance band set for your gym and home workouts?
UPPPER Gear has what you're looking for! Our collection of Short and Long Resistance Bands are available in various resistance levels and are designed with comfort and durability in mind. All bands are made with a custom fabric blend, and are available in various colors and designs - for all your stretching and workout needs! Each band also comes with a matching carrying bag so you can easily store your bands in your gym bag, travel bag, or anywhere at home.