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The Secluded Strength Program: Get Fit with Just One Band

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Imagine, if you will, there’s an outbreak of a virus threatening the lives of millions of people, and the only way to stop the spread is to stay indoors and not interact with the general public. “Stay in your homes,” we’re told. Well, not being able to leave your home for much besides essentials will make a lot of us stir-crazy. Not only that, but it will also make many people sedentary and out of shape.

Without a gym to visit, it’s difficult to know how to approach a fitness program to stay in shape for whatever is in store for us down the line. The good news? Bands are a readily-available and versatile piece of exercise equipment you can take full advantage of in a home exercise setting. Sit tight, and we’ll show you exactly what you can do to stay fit and healthy, and most of all, prepared with our coronavirus workout.

Just One Band

Exercise bands come in many different forms. There are bands with handles, wrist cuffs, leg cuffs, one large loop, and many other scenarios. For this program, we’re going to utilize just one large circular band, which you can find just about anywhere. While bands are commonly-used, most stores still stock a decent supply. Many of us probably already have some in the basement or storage room somewhere, which is great if you don’t have to purchase one.

What’s different about bands compared with traditional weight training equipment? Well, a couple of things. The most unique part of bands is the type of resistance they provide, which we can call variable resistance. When you lift a traditional dumbbell or barbell, the amount of resistance is consistent the whole time; it weighs what it weighs. When you use a band, however, the amount of resistance is dependent upon how much tension there is in the band. In other words, the more you stretch it, the more resistance it provides.

This is great for a lot of exercises because there are parts of a joint movement that you are stronger in than others. It depends on the joint angle and the length of the muscle. For example, let’s look at a squat. The bottom of the squat position is going to be much more challenging than near the top. The same goes for a bench press or even a pull-up. A band can allow you to get more resistance where you’re stronger, and less resistance where you’re weaker. This even works at the highest level of strength and power sports. There are legions of athletes and coaches that swear by the use of bands in conjunction with traditional free weights for one simple reason, they work!

The Exercise Program

We have created a full-body strength program for you to follow for the next 3-4 weeks, or longer, that will help you not only build strength, but also power, stability, and athleticism. The best part is we are just going to use your body weight and a medium-thickness band such as ¾”. The goal for most of these movements is to perform each movement quickly. In the absence of heavy weight or resistance, the only other way to stimulate the muscle fibers that are responsible for power and strength is to move fast. Alternate the day one and day two workout with one day of rest in between each workout.

Day 1

A1. Squat Jump

  • Beginning in a standing position, squat down quickly and swing your arms back behind you.
  • Explosively swing your arms to the ceiling and jump as high as you can.
  • Land softly and repeat.

A2. Split Stance 1-Arm Band Row

  • Begin by standing with the band around both feet in a split stance and your back leg nearly straight.
  • Grab the band with the same hand as your back leg.
  • Keeping your back flat, bend over so your chest is facing toward the floor.
  • Pull the band back with your arm as you squeeze your shoulder blade back.
  • Slowly return your arm to the starting position and complete repetitions on both sides.

B1. 1-Arm Low Band Split Squat

  • Attach the band to a sturdy object at approximately mid-shin- or ankle-height.
  • Stand with one leg forward and the other behind you in a stationary position similar to a lunge, and hold the band with the hand on the same side as your back leg.
  • Keeping the weight in your front foot, slowly descend until your back knee touches the floor.
  • Return to the starting position by pushing your front heel through the floor, and complete repetitions on both sides.

B2. Band-Resisted Push-Up

  • Wrap the band around your upper back, under your armpits, and put your thumbs through the loops. This will prevent the band from sliding up your back during the movement.
  • Move to the floor and get into a push-up position.
  • Keeping your body in a straight line, slowly lower yourself until your chest is about 2-3” from the floor.
  • Exhale as you reach through the floor to return to the starting position.

B3. Side Plank w/ Band Row

  • Fasten the band to a sturdy object at approximately mid-shin height.
  • While holding the band in your top hand, position yourself on the floor perpendicular to the band.
  • Prop yourself up in a side plank position.
  • Begin rowing with your top arm, and complete repetitions on both sides.

Day 2

A1. Band-Resisted Broad Jump

  • Fasten the band to a sturdy object at approximately waist-height, and place the band around your waist.
  • Explosively swing your arms as you jump forward and land softly.
  • Step back to the starting position.

A2. ½ Kneeling 1-Arm Band Chest Press

  • Keeping the band at about waist-height, position yourself on one knee facing away from the anchor point with it in one hand. The down knee should be the same side as the band.
  • Exhale as you press the band forward.
  • Slowly return to the starting position. Complete repetitions on both sides.

B1. Band Front Squat

  • Begin with your feet on one end of the band a little outside shoulder-width with the other end of the band across the front of your shoulders.
  • Cross your arms and grip the band with your index and middle fingers along with your thumb.
  • Slowly squat down thinking about sitting between your knees with your weight in your heels.
  • Exhale and return to the starting position.

B2. Standing 1-Arm Band Row

  • Wrap the band around a sturdy object roughly lower-chest height.
  • Stand with your feel about shoulder-width and the band in one hand.
  • Pull the band back with your arm as you squeeze your shoulder blade back.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, and complete repetitions on both sides.

B3. Tall Kneeling Band Anti-Rotation Hold

  • Slide the band down to roughly hip-height.
  • Kneel perpendicular to the band and hold it with both hands at your chest.
  • Exhale fully as you press the band out and hold it for the prescribed amount of time, then switch sides.

Day 1

A1. Squat Jump38-1030-45s
A2. Split Stance 1-Arm Band Row310-12/ea30-45s
B1. 1-Arm Low Band Split Squat310-12/ea30-45s
B2. Band-Resisted Push-Up38-1230-45s
B3. Side Plank w/ Band Row314-18/ea30-45s

Day 2

A1. Band-Resisted Broad Jump36-830-45s
A2. ½ Kneeling 1-Arm Band Chest Press310-12/ea30-45s
B1. Band-Resisted Front Squat310-1230-45s
B2. Standing 1-Arm Band Row310-12/ea30-45s
B3. Tall Kneeling Band Anti-Rotation Hold315-20s/ea30-45s

As you can see, you don’t need very much equipment to maintain or improve your current fitness level. There’s a ton you can get done with just one band. You’re really only limited by your imagination and work ethic.

By Ryne Gioviano, M.S.Ed., NSCA-CPT

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