Do you want to increase your strength? If you don’t want to return to the gym and lack room for a weight bench, what can you do? The answer is resistance bands. These wonders fit under your couch and slide into a suitcase with nary any space taken when you travel. Here are eight exercises and three techniques to use when working with resistance bands.
When working with resistance bands, you get a bonus. You can use them like free weights to build strength and endurance, but you also get flexibility perks.
Are you ready to race to the store and come back with some bands? For best results, select those in various strengths to work each muscle group to its max. Then, try these eight moves for a total body workout you can do in your living room.
Moves that incorporate both your upper and lower body have the advantage of elevating your heart rate. You get a triple bonus with the addition of cardiovascular training. To perform this move, place the band beneath your feet. As you stand back up from your squat, raise your palms toward your shoulder to perform a biceps curl.
The backs of your arms don’t see much action — until they flap in the wind when you wave goodbye. Tone them so that nothing jiggles by stepping forward in a lunge position with the band underneath your forward foot. Bend your elbow to bring your hand even with your hip, then extend it behind you as you flex.
Do you want to get rid of the dreaded “muffin top?” Stand with both feet on the band, spread approximately a foot apart. Lean to one side as you raise the opposite arm slightly, using your core muscles, not your biceps, to do the work. Repeat, switching sides, for several repetitions.
Here’s another upper-and-lower-body combination move that will get your heart pumping like a sprint. Step your feet approximately two to three feet apart — your knees should reach a 90-degree angle when you lower your body.
As you sink into your lunge, raise your arms out to the sides. Imagine you have two giant milk jugs in either hand that you are trying to pour, leading with the elbow and activating your deltoid muscles.
If you want to have shapely lower legs that flex when you wear heels, calf raises are the answer. Begin with both feet on your band, bending your elbows to 90-degrees with your hands extended in front of you. As you raise on your toes, curl your fingers back toward your elbow like you were revving a motorcycle.
Your abductors move your limbs away from your body’s midline and help you tone your outer thighs and glutes. To perform this move, lie on your side and wrap the band around your ankles. Raise your upper leg until you feel resistance.
You can bend your knees or leave your legs straight. You can also incorporate more core work if you keep your upper body elevated instead of resting your head in your hand.
Who needs a weight bench? If you have a floor (who doesn’t?), take your resistance band and place it behind your back as you lie supine. Grab a loop in each hand and press upward along the midline of your chest, extending your arms. You can perform a variation by lowering only halfway on the contraction and adding a stationary hold or pulse.
This exercise is for those who want advanced core toning. Place your band around your ankles, making it tight enough to lend resistance. Lie down on your back with your hands beneath your glutes to keep your lower back pressed against the floor. Elevate your feet a few inches and flutter — you’ll feel the burn nearly immediately.
If you want an inexpensive piece of fitness equipment that is perfect for tiny apartments, why not give bands a go? Try these exercises and techniques when working with resistance bands to get the summer-ready body you desire.