The Fitness Papers: Working Out with Resistance Bands
Rock out with the band! 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.
Resistance training can offer a variety of health benefits, the most obvious being that it strengthens and tones your muscles. This, in turn, can make you less susceptible to injuries and help build your stamina over time.
Resistance bands can be used for at least four different types of exercises:
- Stretching and mobility
- Warm ups and muscle activation
- Resistance training and “getting a pump”
- Developing the “mind-muscle” connection (learning to better “feel” your muscles working)
The most common types of bands include tube bands with handles, loop bands (aka giant rubber bands), and therapy bands.
Want to give resistance band exercises a try? Here’s a sample upper and lower body workout designed for building muscle.
Stand on band with feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Holding a handle in each hand, bring the top of the band over each shoulder. Sit straight down, chest up, abs firm, pressing knees out over your toes. Rise back up to start position and repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
Stand over the centre of the band with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and hinge at the waist, keeping your hips back. Grasp each handle with hands facing the outside of your knees. With elbows bent, pull the band up toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Lower and row for 10 to 12 reps.
Tie a band around your legs right above your knees. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, bending your knees to 90 degrees. Rise up with your hips until your shoulders, hips and knees align, contracting your glutes through the entire movement. Do 15 to 20 reps.
Get in plank position, draping the resistance band across your upper back. Loop the ends of the band through each thumb, and place your hands on the ground in starting position. Contract your glutes and abs, and push straight up until your arms fully extend. Lower back down, chest to the floor, and see what you’ve got for 5 to 20 reps (depending on your strength).
Anchor the band on a low support. Lie on your back, bending knees 90 degrees. Wrap band around the tops of both feet and scoot back to create tension. Pull your knees toward your shoulders, contracting your abdominal muscles. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
Standing Biceps Curl
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with your feet placed over the middle of the band. Grab a handle in each hand, starting with your arms down at your sides. With palms facing in front of you, pull your arms toward your shoulders by bending at the elbow until you get a good bicep contraction. Slowly lower back down and go for a total of 12 to 15 curls.
Underrated and underused, resistance band exercises can help you build muscle, improve your flexibility, allow you to train hard at home, and upgrade your workouts. Try it today!
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