4 of the best resistance band core exercises
When it comes to lower-body workouts, adding a band to rev up the intensity is a no-brainer.
But did you know that resistance band core exercises can challenge your abs to work harder, too?
While you can use long loop and tube resistance bands for a core workout, we’re focusing on floor work with fabric bands (sometimes called mini or booty bands). These small, versatile bands increase intensity by demanding good form and constant engagement, making your core and supporting muscles work harder with every rep.
Hit the mat and get set for 4 core exercises with resistance bands to strengthen, sculpt and power your performance.
Our trainers are using Centr’s 3-band set, which comes with a light, medium and heavy resistance band. This set provides a range of options to tailor your workout intensity to your specific fitness level. You can buy the bands as a set, or as part of our Workout Kit at shop.centr.com.
What is your core?
While you may immediately think of six-pack abs, your core actually encompasses all the muscles in your torso, from your diaphragm to your back and down to your pelvic floor.
And your abdominals are packing three layers of muscles, the deepest transversus abdominis, the rectus abdominis at the top, and obliques on either side. Want to know more? Take a deep dive into your core.
We’ve selected exercises that won’t just work your abs, they’ll help you to create a functionally strong core that looks good and performs even better.
1. Banded slow mountain climbers
Adding a band around the thighs forces your rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscles) and obliques to work harder to stabilize your torso and maintain good form. Your lower abs, hip flexors and glutes will also need to work against the resistance to pull each leg forward, building your overall strength and coordination.
How to do banded slow mountain climbers:
Place a resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees.
Get into a high plank position, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from head to heels.
Engage your core and bring your right knee towards your chest, under your body, without letting it touch the ground.
Slowly return your right foot to the starting position.
Repeat the movement with your left knee.
Continue to alternate legs in a controlled, slow motion – control over speed, all the way.
Maintain a steady pace, ensuring your hips stay level and your core remains engaged throughout.
2. Banded rope pulls + alternating hand drop
Centr strength expert Ingrid’s famous rope pull brings the fire to your six-pack abs, deep core muscles and internal and external obliques. The hand drops will help to increase functional mobility and dynamic core strength, all contributing to a strong and pain-free back. Bonus: your mind-body connection will get a workout from maintaining tension in the band as you perform the move.
How to do banded rope pulls + alternating hand drop:
Place a band around your mid-to-upper thighs.
Lie on your back, with a slight bend in your knees and your heels on the mat.
Engage your core muscles and lift your hands up above your torso, as if you are holding an imaginary rope.
Slowly pull yourself up this imaginary rope until you are in a sit-up position.
At the top of the movement, while you continue holding the ‘rope’ with your left hand, swing your right arm toward the floor, rotating your torso to follow your arm.
Rotate back to return your right hand to the ‘rope’, then swing your left arm toward the floor.
Return your left hand to the ‘rope’ then lower yourself back down slowly until your back is on the mat.
3. Banded elbow taps
Banded elbow taps elevate the classic sit-up, requiring engagement from your core, glutes and quads. By drawing your knees toward your elbows as you lift your shoulders off the ground, you’ll engage your deep core muscles, as well as the lower parts of your rectus abdominis and pelvic floor.
How to do banded elbow taps:
Place a band around your mid-to-upper thighs.
Lie flat on your back. Bend your knees to a 90-degree angle, with your heels on the floor. Push against the band to drop your thighs out away from each other, so your knees are wider than your hips.
Place your hand on either side of your head, with your elbows pointing forward.
Activate your abdominal muscles to press your lower back into the mat.
Using your core, lift your head and shoulders off the ground, and at the same time lift your knees toward your elbows. Ideally, your knees should touch your elbows, or at least come as close as possible.
Slowly lower your torso and legs back to the starting position with control.
4. Banded windshield wipers
Don’t let the gentle side-to-side movement of this exercise fool you. The resistance band demands good form and constant engagement from your deep abdominal muscles, while your obliques wipe their way to stability and strength.
Place the band around your mid-to-upper thighs, then lie on your back with your arms extended out to the sides in a T-shape for support.
Lift your legs off the ground, bending your knees so your shins point to the ceiling.
Activate your core, then rotate at the hips to lower your legs to the left, aiming for the side of your left thigh to touch the floor (or get as close as possible).
Return your legs to center, then repeat the movement, this time lowering your legs to the right.
Continue to alternate left-right in a controlled windshield wiper motion.
Focus on maintaining stability in your core and avoiding excessive twisting in your upper body. Your head should remain looking straight up at the ceiling throughout.
Form tips for your resistance band core workout
To protect your abdominal muscles and back while training your core – and ensure you’re getting maximum bang for your effort – follow these tips.
- Avoid doming: Any bulging or 'doming' of the stomach can put excessive pressure on your core and may lead to improper muscle engagement. Focus on keeping your core tight and pulled in toward your spine throughout the entire movement. This engages the deep core and helps to keep your back straight.
- Breathe: Proper breathing is crucial for effective core workouts. Inhale deeply through your nose during the relaxation phase of the exercise, and exhale through your mouth during the exertion or contraction phase. This helps to engage your core muscles correctly and avoid doming.
- Slow and controlled: Avoid rushing through core movements. Slow, controlled repetitions ensure that you're engaging the right muscles and maintaining proper form. This will also reduce the risk of strain or injury, as it places the focus squarely on muscle engagement over momentum.
Find fully-coached resistance band workouts with expert trainers on the Centr app.
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