But after awhile, they can get boring. And while they can definitely push you to gains, those mainstay moves cant do everything. Thats why many add home gear, things like adjustable dumbbells, kettlebells, and parallettes. But you actually dont need all that gear to get a good home session.

You can actually get a vicious home workout with a piece of gear that may be lying around in your gym bag, an underrated version of the resistance band, the miniband. Yes, this tiny, stretchy band can give you a vicious workout, and its a lifesaver if youre stuck at home and youve exhausted basic bodyweight exercises and their variations. Its the perfect home workout companion, and it wont exactly break your wallet either.

Why and How Resistance Bands Work

To be clear, this miniband workout wont get you Captain America jacked. What it will do, however, is challenge stabilizing muscles you forgot you had while still pushing you through classic size- and strength-building motions.

Workouts like this supplement the training you do in the gym, and if youre stuck without gym access, theyre a perfect way to mix your training up for a few days, or even weeks. Theyll help you when you do get back in the gym, too, strengthening smaller muscle groups to fuel you to bigger gains when you get back to hitting the weights.

Essentially, they make you a more well-rounded gym-goer. Think of yourself as a golfer: You cant only focus on their long drive. You have to practice their chips and your putts for a complete game. Thats what youre going to do with this workout. (Need a miniband? Get it above.)

Why Bands Work

Both standard resistance bands and minibands differ from your traditional weight training in two key categories: accommodating resistance and line of pull.

Accommodating resistance is the principle of the movement becoming more difficult through the range of motion. Chains and bands are two very common forms of this foundational movement modality. Chains have a meathead rep, but really, theyre just metal accommodating resistance: With every inch higher the chain gets elevated from the ground, another link comes off the ground. This creates greater weight dangling as you move upward through a movement. Bands are much more approachable than chains -- and easier to use in the house, too.

The other key thing bands offer is an ability to mix up your line of pull. Pick up a dumbbell and do a biceps curl, and really, you can only curl it in one direction. But bands let you curl in multiple directions, changing angles and challenging different stabilizing muscles, everything from abs to obliques to rotator cuff muscles. You can adjust what direction you pull from making room for vertical, horizontal, pulling, and pushing motions.

The general goal of most miniband workouts is simple: Get yourself moving and keep the tissues active. Band work can help you harness your movement pattern quality, aid in joint health, and test muscles you may be missing in your standard routines. Theres a reason pro sports teams all have stashes of minibands. And if the pros take them seriously, you should, too. Try them in this workout.

The Key to Resistance Band Exercises

Youll do a variety of exercises you might consider standard in this workout, but the miniband will add challenge. The key is taking advantage of that challenge. Keep the miniband taut throughout this session, pulling it apart and tense. Your goal is to maintain good standard form on classic exercises: Apply tension to the band steadily and aggressively so that it looks as if youre not using a band at all. This applies to standard resistance band training, too: The variable resistance will change as you do, say, a biceps curl, but aim to keep lifting at the same rate.

The Workout

Directions: Do this workout as a circuit. Do three rounds of the circuit, resting one minute between each. Youll be wrapped up with the entire session in about 15 minutes.

Miniband Squat

Wrap a miniband around your knees, just above your knees. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width, core tight, knees pulling the miniband outwards. Bend at the knees and push your butt back, lowering your thighs until theyre about parallel with the ground; stand back up, continuing to pull the miniband tight. Thats 1 rep; do 15. Some basic squat tips, which apply to this squat variation, are below.