If you don’t currently use resistance bands as part of your regular workout rotation, you’re missing out! Resistance bands are ideal for sculpting muscles and stretching muscles before and after your workout. They are also small, extremely portable, and easier to handle than free weights, especially if you travel often for work.
If you’re new to resistance bands, be sure to select high quality bands from a reputable fitness shop. Low quality resistance bands are more prone to snapping from tension, which can cause injury. Before each exercise, make sure your band is securely held in place by whichever body part or object you are using to anchor the band. You don’t want the band to slip free at the moment of highest tension. Experiment with your resistance bands and get a feel for how tubes of different width change overall resistance. Once you’re ready to give it a shot, try out these four exercises:
Squats: Stand on the middle of the resistance bands with your feet about shoulder width apart and the handles of the bands in your fists at shoulder height. Starting in a squat position, keep your hands by your shoulders as you move to a standing position. You should feel resistance as you stand and work to control movement as you return to a squatted position. Repeat 10-20 times.
Glute kickbacks: Start on all fours with your spine in a neutral position and hands about shoulder width apart. Carefully position the middle of the resistance band around the arch of your foot where it won’t slip. If you’re worried about the band slipping, you can also loop it around your foot once. With the handles in both hands, extend your working leg back straight. You should feel resistance as you extend and as you slowly return to your starting position. Repeat 10-20 times on each side.
Tricep kickbacks: Standing on the middle of the resistance band with your feet about shoulder width apart, take a slight bend in your knees and lean slightly forward, keeping your back straight. With the handles in both hands and your palms facing up, keep your arms straight at the elbow as you lift the band to work out your triceps. Repeat 10-20 times.
Bent Over Rows: In the same position you completed the tricep kickbacks, let your arms hang long before raising your arms at the elbow to simulate a rowing motion. Be sure to keep your movements controlled throughout the entire movement to get a more complete workout.
Unlike free weights, resistance bands force your muscles to remain engaged throughout each movement, maintaining resistance throughout the motion. With each part of the movement working your muscles, you can expect to improve your range of motion strength and expand overall muscle stimulation. While there are some limits to what you can do with resistance bands, we still think they are an essential part of every home gym! As with all strength training exercises, be sure to stretch out your muscles before and after you exercise. Stretching muscles helps keep them long and lean even as you build up muscle mass.