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Health & Exercise Forum

The 10 Best Home Exercises Using Resistance Bands

Aug 5, 2013

Dr. Mackarey's Health & Exercise Forum

Frequently, patients ask for a home exercise program that is quick and easy. For some, they want to do some exercises before or after work to gain or maintain muscle tone, but don’t have time to join a gym. For others who are retired, they want to do some simple exercises to help them maintain independence and safety performing daily activities around the house such as; climbing stairs, getting in and out of a shower, putting on shoes and socks, cooking, cleaning, and carrying groceries or laundry. I have comprised 10 simple exercises including upper and lower body and balance and core. The only equipment you will need is a chair and resistance bands; yellow has the least resistance, black the most, red, green, blue in between. They can be purchased at any sporting goods or department store.

Remember, for most people it is more harmful not to exercise, so contact your physician to discuss whether independent exercise is appropriate for you. If you have special needs, you may need to consult with a physical therapist to get started.

Sitting Resistance Band Exercises

These exercises are performed while sitting in a chair with backrest, slowly and hold the position for 3 seconds, 5 -10 repetitions, and 3-5 times per week. Begin with a yellow light resistance band.

Row the Boat

  • Tie the band to a doorknob.
  • Pull both arms back at a 45 degree angle with bent elbows as if “rowing  a boat”

Saw Wood

  • Tie the band to a doorknob.
  • Pull both arms back with arms at side with bent elbows as if “sawing wood”

Elbow Extension

  • Place band around your back or back of chair.
  • Extend your elbows in a  punching motion. Then, switch arms.

Hip Spread

  • Tie the band around your legs, above your hips.
  • Spread your legs apart and keep feet on the floor.

Hip Hike

  • Tie the band in a circle.
  • Place the left THIGH under the loop while placing the right  foot on the knot. Hike the right hip up 4-6 inches while pushing the left heel down.
  • Then, switch legs.

Leg Kicks

  • Set up as in previous Hip Hike – BUT place the band on the left SHIN.
  • Then, extend the left knee as if kicking the foot forward to 45 degrees.
  • Then, switch legs.

Standing Resistance Band Exercises

Shoulder Shrug

  • While standing on top of the band, shrug top of shoulders up toward the ears.

Elbow Bend

  • While standing on top of the band, bend elbows.

Standing Leg Curl

  • Stand and face countertop and hold on for balance.
  • Tie the band in a circle.
  • Place the left calf under the loop while placing the right foot on the knot.
  • Bend the left leg up to 90 degrees while pushing the right foot to hold the band.
  • Then, switch legs.

Standing Walk Aways  - Backward

  • Tie a long band around a door knob or pole and then around your waist.
  • Facing the doorknob, pick up slack in the band, slowly walk away backwards 5-7 steps, hold 3 seconds.
  • Then, slowly return to starting position by walking forwards.

Standing Walk Aways  - Forward

  • Use the same set-up as the previous Backward Walkways exercise, but turn around so the doorknob is at your back.
  • Slowly walk away forward 5-7 steps, hold 3 seconds.
  • Then, slowly return to starting position by walking backwards.

Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body. Keep moving, eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and live long and well!

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College.