Strength training with resistance bands is a great way to add variety to your home or gym workout. Unlike weights, resistance bands apply tension during the entire movement and they can be used to effectively work smaller muscle groups over your entire body. Best of all, they are lightweight and versatile. In fact, because they can be easily folded into luggage, they are practical when you travel. There's no need to miss a workout or rely on a hotel gym away from home. Try out the following strength training exercises with resistance bands.
Resistance bands come in different varieties. The most common are rubber tubes with plastic handles at the ends. However, they also come as strips or pieces of stretchy rubber material. Although resistance bands are made by different companies, generally their color designates how strong they are. Yellow is usually a thin band perfect for beginners. Red is medium strength, while green is heavy. Blue, black, and silver are very heavy. It's easy to determine how strong the band is by pulling on it gently. The lightest bands offer almost no resistance, while the strongest ones require effort to stretch.
If you're a beginner with strength training, choose a lighter band to perform these exercises. Gradually work up to heavy bands as you become stronger. Always examine the band before use for tears. Avoid using a damaged band because it could snap during the workout and cause pain or injury. Exercise with resistance bands in the same way you would with other equipment. Maintain good posture, exhale when you contract muscles and inhale when you release. Make a weak band stronger by shortening it or folding it over for more resistance. Remember to perform a light aerobic 10-minute warm-up and 10-minute cool-down when using resistance bands or any other exercise equipment.
Strengthen your thighs by sitting in a chair and tying the resistance band into a circle with a secure knot. Arrange the circle around your ankles and keep one leg steady with your foot planted on the ground. Slowly extend the other leg straight in front of you. Repeat 12 to 15 times on each leg.
Stand on top of your band with legs hip length apart, and wrap each end of the band around your feet several times. There should only be a few inches of band between your legs. Take several steps to one side so that you feel tension in your thighs. Repeat in the other direction. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Stand in a staggered position with one leg in front and the other behind in a parallel line. Place the band under the front foot and pull up on each side with your hands until you feel tension. Bend your knees so the front leg is at a 90 degree angle to the floor, and slowly rise up in a straight line. Do 12 to 15 repetitions and change legs so the opposite leg is in front.
Lie on your back and place the band underneath the widest part of your back. Hold the band in each hand at a point that you feel tension. Alternate lifting your arms into the air. Do 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions on each side. To maintain tension, you might need to wrap the end of the band around your hand several times.
Put the band underneath a step bench or exercise ball and lie on top. Hold each side of the band in your hands and position your arms outward so they make 90-degree angles with the floor. Press your arms upward in 12 to 15 repetitions.
Stand on top of your band with legs hip-length apart. Pick up the ends with both hands and palms facing out. Slowly curl your biceps upwards and downwards. Do not let the band snap back while you release. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 curls.
Stand upright holding the band with one arm at your side. Grab the end of the band with your other hand from behind and position it so your elbow is at your ear. Extend your arm until it is straight over your head and you feel a contraction in your tricep. To maintain tension, you might need to wrap the band around your hand. Do 12 to 15 on each side.
Stand on top of your band holding each end in your hands with arms straight and palms facing the side of your body. Slowly lift your arms to the side away from your body and release. Do 12 to 15 on each side.