If there's one tool you need in your fitness arsenal, it just might be the resistance band. Whether you're short on time, traveling, or just don't have a lot of space for a home gym, this is the go-to equipment that you need in your life.
Resistance bands are not only affordable, but they're also versatile and lightweight, and can give you a powerful strength-training workout no matter where you are.
Here's why: Like free weights, resistance bands provide a free range of motion and progressive resistance, meaning you can increase or decrease the resistance based on your needs. However, unlike dumbbells, resistance bands don't work with the laws of gravity. Instead, they work with the tension in the bands.
Ideal for all fitness levels, resistance bands rev up any bodyweight workout, but don't put the same sort of pressure on your joints that free weights do. Plus, they're a great tool when it comes to flexibility and mobility.
Ready to get started? First, choose a resistance band that feels challenging, but not too challenging that you can't properly perform an exercise.
For a full-body burn, do 12 to 15 reps of each exercise from each category and repeat for three sets. Once you complete these exercises, you'll soon realize that the resistance band might be small, but, boy, is it mighty.
Lateral Raises: Stand upright on the resistance band, holding one end in each hand. Keeping your back straight and your core tight, lift arms out to the side until your hands reach shoulder height, keeping elbows soft. Lower arms back down.
Bicep Curls: Stand with both feet on a resistance band, holding one end in each hand, arms extended, palms facing forward. Slowly curl your arms towards your shoulder, squeezing the bicep as you do, and return to starting position. You can do one arm at a time or both.
Shoulder Press: Holding one side of the band in each hand, bend your elbows so that your hands are on either side of your face, your elbows at shoulder height, with your palms facing forward. Keeping your core tight and back straight, press your hands above your head in a shoulder press. Lower arms slowly back to starting position.
Squat: Loop the resistance band just below the knees. With your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, and core tight, sit your hips back into a squat, ensuring your chest is lifted and back is straight as you do so. Push through your heels to return to starting position, squeezing your butt as you do.
Lateral Walk: Loop the resistance band around both legs, just above the ankles. Ease into a squat position with core tight and neutral spine. Keeping the squat position, step out with your left leg, then follow it with the right leg. Continue for four steps. Then repeat on the right leg until you return to your starting position.
Donkey Kicks: Starting on your hands and knees with a neutral spine (or table-top position), loop the band around your legs, just above the ankles. Keeping your core tight, lift your right leg straight back behind you, lifting it as close to hip height as you can. Then slowly return the leg back to starting position. Finish reps on one leg before alternating.
Plank Jacks: Looping the band just above both ankles, start in plank position. Step right foot out to the side, then step the left out to the side. Return the right foot back to starting position, followed by the left. You can amp up the exercise by jumping both feet in and out, like a jumping jack.
Side Plank: With the band above both ankles, get into a side plank position on the right side (right hand underneath right shoulder and hips stacked on top of each other). Lift right leg up and hold for 30 seconds. Alternatively, you could do tiny leg lifts for 12-15 reps. Repeat on the left side.
Flutter Kick: Loop the band around both legs, just below the knees. Lying on your back, ensuring that your lower back is pressed firmly to the floor, lift your heels about four to six inches off the floor and rapidly kick your feet up and down in a quick, fluttering motion.
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