Strength training is touted as a must-do to sculpt the body of your dreams, but that doesn’t just mean pumping iron. While barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells are certainly examples of strength training options, don’t disregard resistance bands.
Why Bother with Resistance Bands?
Resistance bands, or those stretchy elastic tubes that look similar to either giant rubber bands or bungee cords, are similar to free weights in that they provide a force against your muscles to work. But unlike free weights, resistance bands take up very little space, are easy to travel with, and are an affordable choice when adding strength-training equipment to your home gym.
And when it comes to your body, the benefits of the resistance bands don’t stop. Coming in different tensions, resistance bands are easily adaptable to your fitness level. You can even create varied tensions from the same band depending on how much or how little slack you allow in the placement of the band during your exercise. Resistance bands also offer variety to workouts feeling humdrum or when your fat loss goals hit a plateau as your body adjusts to repetitive fitness routines.
Resistance Bands Exercises
Whether you use them alone or in combination with free weights or weight machines, resistance bands are sure to provide an effective workout at home, on the road, at work, or wherever you like to sweat it out. You can easily add resistance bands into many of the body-weight based moves you do now, but if you’re stuck for ideas or simply want to switch things up, give these full-body resistance bands exercises a try.
How to: Stand on the middle of the resistance band with your feet below your hips. With an overhand grip and the resistance band ends behind your arms, hold the handles at shoulder height. (Tip: Connect two bands of the same resistance together if the band is not long enough). Sit back and down into a squat position, with your rear dropping below parallel and your knees staying behind your toes. As your return to standing, press your arms straight up until your they are fully extended. Lower your hands to shoulder to complete the rep.
Reps: Complete three set of 10 reps, resting one minute between each rep.
Wall Sit Pulls
How to: Holding the handles of a resistance band, loop the band around each hand until you achieve the desired tightness. Place your back against a wall, and slide down the wall until your legs are in a 90-degree angle with your heels below your knees and the top of your legs parallel to the floor. With your arms straight in front of you at shoulder height, pull the band apart, making sure to keep your entire back flat against the wall. Bring hands back together to finish the rep.
Reps: Complete three 30-second rounds of wall sits, completing as many reps as you can in the time given.
Warrior II Axe Chops
How to: To get into Warrior II position, stand with your legs spread wide apart and your shoulders above your hips. Turn one foot to face forward so that your heel is in line with the arch of your back foot. Bend your front knee, so that your knee is above your ankle. Place the end of a resistance band under your back foot, and grab the opposite handle with both hands. Rotating at the waist, lower your hands toward the back foot and then slowly turn to raise the handle up and above your front foot. When your arms are fully extended, the band should be in a diagonal line from your hands to your back foot.
Reps: Complete three sets of 12 reps on each side.
What are your favorite resistance bands exercises? Share with others in the comments.