How to Use Resistance Bands to Work Out in Your Hotel

Band row

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

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Whether you're traveling for work or pleasure, vacations have a way of knocking your workout schedule off-track. This is especially true if the hotel where you're staying doesn't have a gym.

But you don't need to let a gym-less location thwart your fitness routine. With nothing more than a set of resistance bands and a yoga mat (if you want one), you can knock out this full-body resistance workout in just 25 minutes, all from the comfort of your hotel room.

Overview of the Workout

Given that your hotel room is limited on space, this full-body strength training routine is short, sweet, and doesn't require much in terms of equipment. All you need are one or two long resistance bands of varying resistances along with a set of mini resistance bands designed to be looped around the legs.

If you have access to a yoga mat, that could come in handy, too. But if not, just put down a couple hotel room towels if you want a little extra padding.

The workout below is based on sets and reps, rather than time, and shouldn't take longer than about 25 minutes. You will also hit all your major muscle groups including your glutes, quads, hamstrings, abs, chest, back, triceps, shoulders, and hip abductors.

The Workout

You don't want to be stuck all day in your hotel room all day, so this workout is a quickie. Simply warm up by walking, jogging, or marching in place for 5 minutes (or performing another dynamic warmup), then move right into the resistance band workout.

The workout has only five exercises. The set and rep scheme includes two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions for each exercise allowing 30 to 60 seconds rest between each set. Make sure when you are performing the resistance band wood chops that you perform the exercise to each side.

It's up to you whether you perform two or three sets. You can make this decision based on how you feel, or how much time you have for the workout. Just make sure you're using a resistance level that challenges your muscle groups, so you feel like it's hard (but not impossible) to maintain good form by the end of each set.

If you don't feel like the resistance you're using is challenging, switch to a stronger resistance band, or consider doubling up resistance bands such as using two bands of different resistances at the same time.

Squat Press

The squat press is an excellent way to start a resistance band workout because it truly challenges the whole body. You'll hit your quads, hamstrings, and glutes during the squat portion of the exercise, and target the core, shoulders, and back as you perform the overhead press. It's also a great exercise to further prepare your muscles for the work to come. Here is how to do a squat press.

  1. Stand on top of the resistance band with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart, holding one end of the band in each hand. The band should be taut but not tight.
  2. "Rack" your hands at your shoulders, your palms facing away from your body, as though you were holding a barbell across your back. This movement should increase the resistance on the band, but you should still have the ability to stretch it further.
  3. Press your hips back and squat down, lowering your glutes toward the floor as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  4. Keep your torso upright and your core engaged.
  5. Continue squatting until you've lowered yourself as far as you comfortably can.
  6. Push through your feet and straighten your knees and hips to return to standing. As you do so, press your arms straight up over your head, stretching the resistance band until your arms are straight.
  7. Bend your elbows and lower your hands back to your shoulders to complete the first repetition.
  8. Continue the squat-press combo for the remainder of the set.

Resistance Band Pushup

The resistance band pushup makes a standard pushup a little more challenging. It primarily targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps, but your core is also engaged while performing the move. To make the exercise easier, place your knees on the ground to perform a modified pushup. Here is how to do a resistance band pushup.

  1. Kneel on the floor or a yoga mat and loop the resistance band around your upper back, right across your shoulder blades.
  2. Grip the bands with each hand, just to the outside of your shoulders, adjusting your hands so the band is taut across your back, but not tight.
  3. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders so you're in a tabletop position, your arms straight, the band stretched tight.
  4. Engage your core and step your feet behind you to enter the high pushup position.
  5. Check to make sure your body forms a straight line from your heels to your head.
  6. Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor, stopping just before your chest touches the ground. Your elbows should form a 45-degree angle from your body (not pointing straight down at your sides or angled straight out from your shoulders).
  7. Press through your palms and extend your elbows to return to the starting pushup position.
  8. Continue for the remainder of the set.

Bent Over Resistance Band Row

The bent-over row helps target your upper back, and to a lesser extent, your biceps, core, and glutes. Following are the steps to completing a bent over row with a resistance band.

  1. Stand tall, your feet roughly hip-distance apart. Loop the resistance band under your feet to hold it in place.
  2. Position your hands on the band so that when you're standing tall, the band feels tight and stretched. (When you're in a bent-over position, the band should be taut, but not tight.)
  3. Engage your core to keep your torso erect throughout the exercise. Bend your knees slightly, press your hips back, and hinge forward from the hips until your torso is at a 45–60-degree angle.
  4. Allow your arms to hang down from your shoulders, but keep your shoulders rolled back to help with posture (you don't want your chest and shoulders to roll or hunch forward). The band should be taut, but not tight in this position.
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and draw your elbows up and back as you pull the resistance band toward your chest. When your hands reach your chest, hold for a second.
  6. Reverse the movement and slowly straighten your elbows as you lower your arms back to the starting position.
  7. Continue for the remainder of the set.

Banded Side Steps

Banded side steps (often called the lateral band walk) are an excellent way to target your hip abductors (the muscles that move your legs laterally away from the centerline of your body). These muscles are often underworked and can become weak, which can contribute to injuries and lower back pain. Here is how to do banded side steps.

  1. Stand with your feet roughly hip-distance apart with a looped mini band positioned around your lower legs, just above your ankles. The band should be taut, but not tight.
  2. Engage your core, bend your knees slightly and press your hips back to enter into a partial squat position.
  3. Step out laterally to the left, leading with your left foot. As you step, the band should stretch tight.
  4. Follow your left foot with your right foot so your feet are once again roughly hip-distance apart.
  5. Reverse the movement and step out laterally to the right with your right foot, again stretching the band tight.
  6. Follow your right foot with your left foot to return to the starting position. This completes one repetition.
  7. Continue the exercise for the remainder of the set.

Banded Wood Chops

Banded wood chops target your abdominals, particularly your obliques, as well as the deep stabilizing muscles of your core. Remember to perform this exercise equally to each side, first performing a set on your left side, followed by your right side.

  1. Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-distance apart. Loop the band under your left foot to hold it in place.
  2. Hold both ends of the band in your left hand to the outside of your left hip.
  3. Engage your core, bend your knees slightly, and press your hips back to position yourself in a mini squat position.
  4. Rotate your torso slightly to the left and tip forward from the hips (keeping your torso erect with good posture) until you can position both hands to the outside of your left knee.
  5. Grasp the resistance band with both hands (both hands holding the ends of the band together) and reposition your hands so the band is taut, but not tight.
  6. Keep your arms straight, and in a smooth and steady motion, rotate your torso to the right as you stand up, pulling the band at a diagonal across your body until your arms are reaching up and to the right.
  7. Hold the position for a second, then carefully reverse the movement, returning to the starting position.
  8. Continue for the duration of the set before switching sides.

Safety and Precautions

It's important to pay attention to how your body feels whenever you're trying a new exercise or routine. If any exercise causes pain, stop the exercise and try something different. If the pain continues, stop the routine and make an appointment with a physical therapist or another healthcare provider to see if there's an underlying injury.

It's also important to check your resistance bands for small tears or discolorations that may indicate weaknesses in the band. The last thing you want is for the resistance band to break or tear as you are stretching it—it could bounce back and snap you like a strong rubber band.

A Word From Verywell

Hotel rooms are a great place to fit in a quick workout, and with easily transportable equipment like resistance bands and yoga mats, you can complete a full-body strength training routine in less than 30 minutes.

Just remember to get a healthcare provider's clearance for exercise if you haven't worked out on a regular basis or if you're coming back from a serious injury or illness that could make regular exercise more challenging. They can evaluate your fitness level and your medical history and let you know if a resistance band workout is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you work out in a hotel with no gym?

    There are lots of ways to enjoy a workout at a hotel, even if there aren't gym facilities. Bodyweight workouts are one excellent option. You can also bring your own lightweight equipment with you (like resistance bands, yoga mats, or slide disks) to further expand the exercises you can do in your hotel room. Also, if the hotel has a swimming pool, you can always fit in a little cardio with a water-based workout.

  • Do resistance bands provide a good workout?

    Resistance bands can provide an excellent workout, but as with any strength training routine, it's important to use the right resistance level. Many people make the mistake of using resistance bands without a strong enough resistance level.

    For this reason, it's important to have a set of bands at your disposal that feature different levels of resistance. This way you can use a lower resistance level when working your biceps, and a more challenging resistance when targeting your lower body.

    Just as with dumbbells or barbells, when using resistance bands, the last one or two repetitions you complete of each set should feel challenging to perform. If you can power through a set of repetitions without a problem, your resistance level is too easy and you should try a more challenging band.

  • How do you use a resistance band while sitting?

    There are lots of ways to use a resistance band while sitting. For instance, if you're sitting on a chair, you can loop the band under your feet to hold it in place as you perform biceps curls. You also can loop it under the chair to do shoulder presses.

    Alternatively, if you're sitting on the floor with your feet extended in front of you, you can loop the band around your feet to perform seated rows or loop it behind your shoulders to do seated chest press.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. de Sousa CS, de Jesus FLA, Machado MB, et al. Lower limb muscle strength in patients with low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysisJ Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2019;19(1):69-78.

By Laura Williams
Laura Williams is a fitness expert and advocate with certifications from the American Council on Exercise and the American College of Sports Medicine.