Forget the gym — you just need 1 resistance band and 20 minutes to develop full body strength

a man performing bicep curls with a resistance band
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you own one of the best resistance bands and have 20 minutes to spare then we think you're going to like how convenient this full-body workout is from Kayla Itsines.

Itsines refers to this routine as her "Hotel Room Workout" as it doesn't really get much less maintenance than this strength-building circuit. Designed to target muscles all over, you'll be engaging key muscles in your upper and lower body, as well as activating the core. 

This workout takes up minimal space so it's great for using at home, on holiday, or in a crowded gym. Want to find out how it's done? Let's take a look.

What is the workout?

In total there are seven exercises to complete and all require use of the resistance band. You will perform 12 reps per exercise and the goal is to complete three rounds of the entire circuit.

Depending on the level of resistance you are working with you may want to add in some 30 second breaks between each move. This won't hinder your results but instead let your muscles recharge and offer more for the rest of the workout.

Take a look at Istines' demonstrations below for guidance on how to execute proper form for each exercise. 

If you're used to training with weights such as the best kettlebells or perhaps you're a total newbie to strength training and don't know if resistance bands will get you the results you're looking for, we can explain the effect they have on your muscles.

Resistance bands provide continuous tension throughout the entire range of motion during an exercise. This constant tension helps in building both strength and endurance, as the muscles must work harder to control the resistance throughout the movement. This can also improve muscle tone and definition, as the muscles are continuously challenged without any rest points that typically occur with free weights.

Plus, the range of exercises in Itsines' routine above targets the major muscle groups across the entire body. It engages the shoulders, upper back, and arms, building strength and stability in the upper body. 

Additionally, the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, are all actively engaged, promoting muscle development and functional strength. Functional strength is the ability to perform everyday tasks with ease, and we need it to improve our overall quality of life by enhancing our physical independence and reducing the risk of injury. 

The exercises also work the core muscles, helping to tone and define the muscles in your midsection and improve things like your overall balance and stability. For example, the core is engaged particularly during the single-arm squat and press and lunges. These exercises require core stabilization to maintain balance and proper form, as they involve functional movements and unilateral actions. 

If you own a set of bands then you can also implement progressive overload training into your workout to continue working toward your strength goals. It's worth noting that bands can be incredibly effective, especially for beginners or individuals looking to improve muscular endurance and tone. However, for those seeking significant muscle hypertrophy or aiming to lift extremely heavy weights, traditional weight training with free weights or machines may be your next step. You can find some workout inspiration for this below.

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.