Images & simple instructions: best exercises for weight loss & toning using a resistance band or tension tube.

However, I must stress that the level of resistance in the band (also known as a tension tube) must be sufficient to make you work hard enough to achieve weight loss.

Using a resistance band that’s too light in tension, relative to your strength/fitness, will not result in the weight loss that you desire.

For optimal weight loss results, you’ll need more than one resistance band to provide different tension levels.

Row: Standing or Seated. Loop tubing around the leg of a heavy sofa or other stable anchor. Grab handles and stand (or sit) away from the anchor point, facing it..

Shutterstock/Kaderov Andrii


Keeping back straight, pull handles towards you, driving elbows behind body. Then reverse the motion.



Your distance from the anchor point should be sufficient to make 8-12 repetitions very challenging (this rule applies to all exercises).

Chest Press. Loop tubing around a secure anchor that’s not close to the floor, if you can find one. This may be the handle of a sliding deck door.



You can use the leg of a heavy sofa, but this isn’t the best angle for a chest press.

Stand with back facing the anchor and push the handles out in front. Weaker people can be challenged by looping the tubing around the back of a sturdy chair, having a seat and then pushing the handles out in front.

Shoulder Press. Stand on center of tubing with equal sides on either side of feet. Grab handles, straighten and push overhead.



If this is too difficult, use a lighter tubing, or, kneel on the tubing and try again. Another option is to wrap the band under a sturdy chair and push overhead while seated.

Squat. Stand on tubing, feet at least shoulder width apart, holding handles at shoulder level, palms facing out or towards each other.

Shutterstock/Jasminko Ibrakovic


While in this position, there should be enough tautness in the band such that if you lower to a squat, the band doesn’t slack out, and that when you rise back up, you can feel yourself fighting against the tension.

Leg Press. Lie on floor after looping the tension band or tubing around a stable surface behind your head.



Place feet against the opposite side of the band, or tuck feet inside the handles of the tubing, legs bent, then push legs outward.

Lateral Raise. Using a tension band that has handles, stand on the band at its center point, then grab the handles and raise your arms out to the side. Release with control.

Shutterstock/Oleksandr Zamuruiev


The more distance between your feet, the tighter the tension (or the greater the resistance.

Triceps Extension. Stand on top of the band and raise your hands overhead, arms straight.


Keeping the upper arms still and tight to your head, bend your elbows so that your hands are behind your head. Then straighten your arms to complete the rep.

Biceps Curl. Place your feet over the band and simply curl up the handles, keeping your upper arms vertical and against your sides. Release with control.



Glutes Extension. On all fours, situate yourself with the resistance band as depicted below.

Shutterstock/ F8 studio

Bring your knee towards your chest, then extend your hip outward, leg straight behind you, to recruit the gluteus maximus. Hold for two seconds, then repeat.

And remember, to achieve weight loss, you must use a resistance band with adequate tension, and adjust your body position for adequate tension, so that 8 to 12 repetitions are very challenging.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/OSTILL is Franck Camhi