Resistance bands are a great addition to any strength training routine or rehabilitation program and come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and strengths. This portable exercise equipment is also easily stored, making it perfect for home use, hotel workouts, or when you're tight on space at the gym.
A band you can't resist
Resistance bands are an inexpensive piece of equipment that can help you break through a plateau or just provide a fun and challenging way to add variety to you workout routine. “Resistance bands cause resistance throughout the entire exercise and on both horizontal and vertical planes, not just through gravity like dumbbells,” says Katie Chung Hua, a Bodybuilding.com TEAM Athlete and personal trainer. If you incorporate resistance bands into your routine regularly, it will improve your range of motion and flexibility. Resistance bands are available in a variety of resistance levels. “Start with an easier one and work your way up,” says Chung Hua. “Just like lifting weights, your last few reps need to be difficult, but remember not to sacrifice form.”
4-Count T Squat
Place the resistance band around the middle of your thighs. Feet should be hip distance apart with toes facing forward. Start standing tall with the arms out to the side, pressing the shoulders down away from the ears. Begin to squat down at a slow pace, using a four-count cadence. While going down into the squat, begin to bring your arms in to lay one on top of another like a genie.
Pause for a moment at the bottom of the squat and begin to rise back up to standing using a four-count cadence. On the way up, return the arms back to their starting position. Do 20 reps. “This is a great move for your legs and butt,” says Danielle Natoni, AFAA Personal Trainer and CEO and Founder of Fit and Funky. “The addition of the arms creates a layer of instability, really forcing the core to work as well.”
Single Leg Tap Backs
Place the resistance band around one ankle and the arch of the opposite foot. Slightly bend your standing leg and extend the opposite leg back. Maintain a flat back. Squeeze the glutes as you lift and squeeze the leg up and then tap the leg down again, keeping the toe pointed toward the ground. Do 10 reps with each leg. “This specifically targets the booty, but also gives your standing leg some quad work as well,” notes Natoni.
Knee Lift Bicep Curl
Please the band around your wrists. Standing tall, core engaged, extend your arms out in front of you, palms up. As you curl your arms up towards your face, lift one knee up towards your chest. As you lower your arms, lower your knees. Do 20 reps total, alternating knee lifts.
Bring the band into your hand by your chest and then straighten out the band and place the other hand through it. While keeping the band tight to your body, slowly engage the triceps and, using a four-count cadence, bring the triceps down toward the floor and back up. Switch sides for 10 reps on each arm. This targets the the tricep muscle at the back of the arm.
Modified Plank Row
Place the bands around your wrists and get down into a modified plank on your knees, ensuring that your hips are lifted and your hands are directly underneath your shoulders. From this position, row one arm up close near the body, pointing the elbow towards the ceiling. Repeat on the other side, alternating arms for 20 reps total. This move targets the shoulders and the core.
Place the band around the wrists and then take the arms out slightly wider then the shoulders so that the work is in the chest. Get down into a modified plank position on the knees, ensuring that hips are lifted and back is flat. Bring the chest toward the ground into pushup position and then rise back up for 10 reps. This exercise targets the chest and the core.
With the resistance band around the arch of both feet, sit back into c-sit position, making sure the abs are engaged. Place your hands by your side to keep you stable. Extend one leg out and one knee in, alternating the movements in classic cycling style for 20 total reps. “This move targets the abs, though your legs will get a workout, ” says Natoni.
Get into modified side plank, lifting the hip up but keeping the bottom knee down. Place the band around the arch of the feet. Drop the hip down, rise back up into modified side plank, then extend the top leg, keeping the toe pointing toward the front of the room. Complete 10 reps; then switch to other side. Great move for the obliques and outer and inner thighs.