Want to get stronger and firmer without lifting weights, going to a gym, or spending a lot of money?
Meet your new best friend, the resistance band. It’s a simple but effective piece of exercise equipment. Tone up with this simple tool that’s perfect for home, hotel or office.
One of the best things about resistance bands is that they are so portable – much more so than free weights and other strength training equipment. You can take them anywhere, which makes them perfect for traveling and a hotel room workout. They take up little space in your luggage and weigh next to nothing. Resistance bands are also ideal for working out at home or the office, and they’re a great way to target specific muscle groups.
Plus, they’re safer to use than a heavyweight. You don’t need to worry about dropping a resistance band.
They’re also inexpensive. At less than $15, the versatile resistance band offers a lot of fitness bang for the buck. So grab one and let’s get in shape with these resistance band exercises!
Which band should I choose?
Bands challenge our body in a similar way to weights. But unlike weights, which rely on gravity, resistance band workouts use tension to add resistance to movements. Resistance bands are made from elastic rubber and come in two forms – wide and flat (called loop bands), or a tube with handles. This workout utilizes the tube with handles.
Resistance tubes are available in different levels of resistance, and thicker bands offer more tension than thinner ones. Manufacturers typically use a color-coding system for resistance levels. For example, yellow for light resistance (a good place for beginners to start); green and red for medium resistance; and blue and black the heaviest. The colors may vary by manufacturer. If you find you can’t complete the movements with proper form, you can always choose a lighter band.
Here’s a full-body workout routine I created that you can do anywhere. Be sure to do a few warm-up moves first, and wear shoes while doing these exercises.
Upper body exercises
Here’s the resistance band version of the classic arm strengthening exercise. Begin with feet together, band securely underneath your feet, palms facing out. Bend arms, bringing your hands toward shoulder height, then lower back down.
Begin with palms facing to the back. Bend arms, pulling the handles up toward your shoulders. Keep your hands close to your body as you raise and lower. You can keep a slight bend in the knees during this movement.
This exercise really works your shoulders and upper back. Stand on the exercise band, feet together, with palms facing in. Raise arms out to the side, either together or alternating one arm at a time. Keep your wrists straight and not bent down, and straight arms.
This exercise tones the back of your upper arms. Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your back straight and not hunched over. Stand on the band, feet together. Bend your arms and straighten them to the back, lifting as high as you can. Imagine your shoulder blades coming together. Return to starting position and repeat.
Front lunges with curl
Begin with the band underneath your left foot, and your palms facing forward. Lunge forward with your left leg, striking with your heel first, while you bend arms into a bicep curl. Push up with foot to return to a standing position. Complete reps, and then do the right side.
This one is great for your hips and the side of your legs. Stand on the band, and step side to side, leading with your heel.
Side leg lifts with squat
Begin with the band under feet, feet shoulder-width apart, palms facing in. Squat, then stand as you lift your leg to the side, leading with the heel. Return to a squat, then repeat with the other leg.
Squat and lift
Begin with the band under feet, palms facing in. Squat, then stand as you lift up on the handles (as if you are lifting up two suitcases), keeping elbows to the back. Return to squat, repeat.
Begin with the band under feet, feet slightly apart. Raise your left arm in front, as you lift your right leg in the back. Bring feet together, squat, then repeat with other arm/leg.
Sit on the floor with legs extended. Wrap the band around your left foot, bring both handles toward you and twist to the right. If you need more resistance, hold on the tube below the handles. Do reps, then change the band to the right foot and twist to the left side.
Put each foot in a handle. Lie on your back with legs lifted and toes pointed toward the ceiling, and hold the band with both of your hands. Draw your belly button into your spine. Scissor your legs up and down, moving slowly and keeping toes pointed.
Make it a routine to see results
Do these strength exercises at least three times a week, alternating days with a cardio workout for a well-rounded fitness routine. For example, Strength work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and an aerobic exercise such as power walking on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If you are faithful with your workouts, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you will see results! We hope you agree that the humble resistance band is a great choice for any fitness level.
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