#MondayMotivation with Derval O’Rourke: Working with resistance bands

The gym equipment is great and I love nothing more than having an hour to myself in the gym to let off steam. But you don’t need a gym to have an effective workout. This week, let’s discuss resistance bands and how you can use them to get amazing results. There’s also a dinner recipe that’s quick and easy and great for friends.

I often have to travel and believe me, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds! Being away from family, missing children terribly, wasting time waiting in airports, living out of a suitcase, the list goes on. So over the years I’ve perfected some great ways to make time spent as close to my home routine as possible. One way is to move my body. I always feel better if I do something. There isn’t always a gym, so I bring with me the one thing I know to be versatile and convenient to use, resistance bands.

What I love about them is that they are so versatile. It doesn’t matter whether you are exercising for the first time, whether you are an athlete or a bodybuilding enthusiast. Resistance bands are for everyone! Here are five ways to use resistance bands in your workout.

  • Squats: Place the resistance band under your knees. Spread your knees until you feel resistance. Start your squats. It’s also great for supporting your knees if you feel any discomfort.
  • Thighs: Place them on your thighs. Lying on your side, raise your leg in the air gently and slowly. Feel this resistance, hold for two and slowly come back down.
  • Push-ups: Place the resistance bands above your elbows. Get into position for push-ups. It will feel good in your arms and will also help you up!
  • Ankles: Place them at your ankles and lie on your side. Raise your leg in the air in a slow motion,
  • Underarms: Place the resistance bands over your wrists and place your arms in front of you. Start stretching wide, you will feel the burn under your arms for a big burn.

What I like is that you can use the easy resistance band and progress to the stronger band as you increase your resistance. The real beauty of the bands is that you only use your own resistance to train, which means you can set the pace of your workout, especially if you have areas of pain or discomfort. I get a lot of my members asking about joint and lower back pain and this is the perfect piece of equipment for them. As always, be sure to consult your doctor or physical therapist when starting anything new and they can advise you on the best stretches to help you personally.

Sea bass with tomato and chorizo

I like to serve it with couscous, arugula and spinach for a rich and colorful dish.

Preparation time

19 minutes


  • Olive oil

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 6 very thin slices of chorizo, halved

  • Salt and pepper

  • 170g couscous

  • 2 sea bass fillets of 100g, skin slightly nicked (turbot or brill work well too)

  • a rocket handle

  • a handful if baby spinach

  • juice of 1 lemon


  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes and chorizo. Season and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook couscous according to package directions.

  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the bass fillets and place them, skin side down, in the pan. Cook, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until the fish is cooked through and the skin is crispy.

  3. Just before serving, add the arugula and spinach to the tomato mixture. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring all the time.

  4. Divide the couscous into warmed serving bowls and garnish with the cooked sea bass. Drizzle with tomato sauce, sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.