Ab Exercises with Resistance Bands

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed.
Woman exercising with resistance bands.

Resistance bands come in a variety of shapes and sizes, enabling you to perform a number of exercises for your abdominals. Performing ab exercises with resistance bands can help you define and strengthen your stomach muscles while placing less strain on your neck than traditional ab exercises like crunches or sit ups.

Abdominal Exercises

Resistance bands can be an effective tool for any strength training workout routine including targeting your midsection. In fact, ab exercises with resistance bands can help you get that well-defined six pack look, but before you start be sure to warm up and stretch to avoid injuries. Perform ab exercises two to three times a week on non-consecutive days in order to develop strength in your core. Here are a couple of ab exercises to get you started:

Roll Down with a Twist

The roll down with a twist will target your rectus abdominus, or your "six pack" muscles that run down the center of your torso. As you twist, it will also target your oblique muscles that wrap around your sides.

  • Sit on the floor (keep your knees bent a little).
  • Position the broad part of resistance band around balls of your feet.
  • Hold one end of the band in each hand (knees and feet stay together).
  • Tighten your abs and sit up tall as you inhale.
  • Exhale as you pull in your stomach muscles and gradually roll down.
  • Lift your right arm up high and to the left twisting your torso (Keep your seat flat on the floor).
  • Come back to center and gradually roll up to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise raising your left arm.
  • Completing 4 repetitions (both sides) equals one set.

Seated Crunch

This exercise will also target your rectus abdominus, but this version puts less strain on your neck

  • Sit in a straight-back chair with the resistance band circling your body and the chair.
  • Sit straight, feet flat on the floor (keep feet on the floor throughout the exercise).
  • Hold in your stomach muscles.
  • Little by little bend forward to about a 45 degree angle (keep your back as straight as you can).
  • Gradually return to starting position and repeat.

Standing Twist

The standing twist exercise will primarily target your obliques.

  • Tie one end of a resistance band around a stationary object like a pole or another exercise machine.
  • Stand about three feet to the left of the resistance band and hold the loose end in both hands on the right side of your body.
  • Keeping your hips facing forward, tighten your abs and pull the resistance band across the midline of your body, twisting your core.
  • As you twist, keep your arms relatively straight to avoid using your arm muscles instead of your abs.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat 12 to 15 times before targeting your other side.

Exercise Band Woodchop

The exercise band woodchop exercise will target your obliques and rectus abdominis.

  • Tie one end of a resistance band around a stationary object at a height approximately two to three feet over your head.
  • Stand about one foot to the left of the resistance band, reaching up with both hands to grasp the loose end of the band just above your right shoulder.
  • Bend your knees slightly for stabilization.
  • Keeping your hips facing forward and your arms relatively straight, pull the band down and across your body to the outside of your left thigh in a diagonal motion. As you pull, your torso will twist, but your hips should remain stable.
  • Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. Repeat 12 to 15 times before targeting your other side.

Using Resistance Bands

It takes some practice to effectively use resistance bands. The ideal way is to find the proper amount of resistance. You may have to try an exercise with several different bands before finding the band that offers the right level of resistance. Remember, as you improve your muscular strength, you'll need to continue increasing the level of resistance to continue gaining strength. When performing abdominal exercises with resistance bands, you want the last two repetitions of a set to be almost too hard to perform. If you find yourself breezing through your routine, you know it's time to increase the level of resistance band that you're using.

Ab Exercises with Resistance Bands