Resistance bands are a very versatile piece of equipment. They’re cheap and can come in an array of different shapes and sizes. Some take the form of a simple circle, while others come as one long strip, or even with handles at each end. Resistance bands are excellent for strengthening the stability of your joints, helping to prevent injuries. As you progress, you can use different levels of resistances to increase your strength.
In short, they’re pretty awesome, and super easy to adapt to different levels of fitness. So how can you utilise them in your workouts at home or in the park? Let’s find out.
Band squats are an excellent way to build and strengthen your glutes. First, place the band around both legs and above your knees, then sit down into a squatting position. The resistance of the band will pull your knees in, which you should resist with an outward tension. This outward drive of the knees activates the glutes and will strengthen them over time.
Developing this area will not only make your jeans fit a little better, but will also increase your metabolism. It’s a win-win.
Band Pec Fly
The pec fly is a chest-focused workout that helps to perk up pectoral muscles. It also focuses on your arms and shoulders. For pec fly reps using a resistance band, wrap the band around a tall object, like a pole, at chest height. Face away from the pole and grab each end of the band in your hands. With feet staggered, bring your arms up to the level of your chest with a slight bend in the elbows. Bring your hands together, and create some tension here, as if you were hugging a tree.
Top tip: We find thinking as if you’re hugging something really helps to engage the pecs, rather than just moving your arms through the motion.
Toning your back isn’t always easy, but band rows will really help with that, along with your biceps, too.
To start, place the band in the same position as the pec fly, around a tall object or pole. This time, face towards it with your arms straight out in front and some tension in the band. Drop your shoulders and back so your chest is slightly lifted, then tuck in your ribcage to stop your back from arching.
This will be your starting position and from there, pull your hands towards your chest, driving the elbows back as if you were pushing something away with them. Throughout the motion, you want your wrists straight and shoulders back. Squeeze those shoulder blades as the hands reach the chest and avoid hunching upon the slow release of the band as you move back into the starting position. Exhale when you pull the band, and remember to keep your core tight!
Band Shoulder Press
You might not really think about strengthening your shoulders during a workout, but shoulder stability isn’t something to skip! Having sturdy shoulders can prevent injuries, and they’re really easy to work on with the shoulder press. This is also a great exercise for toning your arms. Trap the middle of the band under one foot, holding both handles in one hand. By bringing the hand up to your shoulders, you should feel some tension. With palms facing inwards, lift the arms until they’re straight, then make sure you’re really controlled when you bring them down again. Feel free to modify this exercise; turning the palms in different directions will work the muscles slightly differently.
Everyone wants toned abs, and a great way to activate and work on them (without putting yourself through gruelling planks!) is with band twists. Place the resistance band in the same position as the band row and the pec fly around a pole, and while holding both ends in one hand, create some tension in the band with your arm extended out at a right angle to it.
Stand with your feet forward, slightly wider than your hips, and the arm straight out by your side, then rotate your torso so that the second hand can reach the first. Keep your shoulders down and continue to twist round as far as you can go. Return back to your starting position in a controlled manner without letting the band pull you. Don’t forget to squeeze your core throughout!
If you like the sound of these resistance band exercises, try combining them for a great full body workout. Perform each movement 10-15 times with three or four sets of each. Remember that movements with bands are all about control. You’re the boss of the band, so don’t let it pull your body around!
Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.
Main Photo Credit: Ljupco Smokovski/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Olena Yakobchuk/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Lolostock/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/shutterstock.com