Let's (resistance) band together!
I love my resistance band workouts! I encourage every client to own a couple, escpecially for when they travel. They fit in your suitcase and can be used in your hotel room, or taken with you to use outside after a jog or a hike. For those of you traveling over the holidays, this could be an important key to keeping you on track when you are away from your regular routine (and could also be a good stocking stuffer for someone you love!) When you go to buy a band, make sure you have enough resistance so the band never has extra slack, but also make sure you can perform a couple different exercises without straining other muscles in order to perform properly. So, while you want a challenge, keep in mind you need to perform multiple repetitions of each exercise. Enjoy!!Start with 2 or 3 sets of 8-20 repetitions on each side. Play around with set and rep numbers if things feel too easy or too hard!
1) Punches- With the band under your feet (shoulder width apart) punch one arm at a time across the body, keeping the biceps, core and obliques engaged. Remember to keep a soft knee.
2) Woodchops- Place band under one foot, grab handle of band with both hands pulling band from hip to the sky in a diagonal line across front of body. Play around with the placement of the band under the foot so you have enough resistance to make the exercise effective. Remember to keep a slight bend in your knees and pull the tummy in! Perform 8-20 on one side, then switch.
3) Upright row- Place band under feet (shoulder width apart) criss-cross the band and pull handles up to armpits, then slowly lower to starting position. Always keep palms facing the body and lead with the elbows.
4) Overhead tricep extensions with calf raise- Place band behind back, the lower hand facing out and holding stable while you pull up to the sky with the top hand (palm facing in) then slowly lower to start. Add a calf raise on the pulling up phase of the exercise, then slowly lower feet and arm together. Keep enough resistance in your band so that you never feel any slack. It's important to only move the forearm of the working arm, and to keep the elbow in the same spot throughout to give the tricep all the work!
5) Squat with row- Place band around a pole or a tree (something very stable), grab the handles and walk back until you find a "sweet spot" where you and the band slightly hold eachother up. With arms extended straight in front of you, dip into a deep squat, keeping knees behind the toes. While you come up to standing position, in one motion, pull the handles back to the sides of the body in a rowing position. Repeat.
6) Straight- legged side swing- Place band under feet (shoulder width apart) and pull handles up to shoulders or waist to add plenty of resistance. Swing one leg at a time, with a flexed foot keeping the leg straight, out to the side. Keep upper body still. You may need to play around with how much band is between your two feet. Add more band in between feet if your legs seem to barely move! This should be a challenge, though!
7) Banded body folds- I would only recommend this to someone who has experience with resistance bands. Please be aware of placing your band under your shoe in a spot where it won't roll off your foot and snap back at you! That being said, make sure you are wearing the proper shoes with this one. Hold the handles in a bicep curl position (arms stay in the same position throughout) with band carefully placed under proper shoes. Keeping head and feet slightly off the ground, fold the body at the waist bringing upper and lower body up about a foot or two, then carefully lower back to start. Beginner tip: To avoid the band snapping, or for anyone with lower back pain, keep the legs on the ground the entire exercise, only moving upper body!
There are endless wonderful exercises you can perform with a resistance band, so ease into these if you are new to using them. Always use caution, and ask for help when finding the right band for yourself. It's also a good idea to ask a trainer at your local gym for tips on how to safely use resistance bands.