Now that September is almost over (yeah, we can’t believe it either), school is in full swing, and the holidays are around the corner, it barely seems like there is time to think, let alone work out. Well, you can kiss the days of having to go to the gym for a sweat sesh goodbye. Resistance bands (or exercise bands) are perfect when you are pressed for time or don’t want to invest in a gym membership.
Resistance band exercises are extremely beneficial when you don’t want to do your strength-training with weights. Let’s be real, those weights probably just sit in the corner and take up space anyway. Resistance bands are easy to store and light weight and perfect to travel with (so your vacation doesn’t impede on your gym routine). Forget the confusing days of how to use scary looking gym equipment; resistance band exercises are not only easy, but they are incredibly effective. Additionally, exercise bands can help you boost stamina, flexibility, range of motion and more. Give your muscles a new challenge (while controlling the intensity yourself) and give them a try! We’ve listed some of our favorite resistance band workouts below.
Standing Hip Abduction
Target: Inner thigh and hip abductors
Loop one end of the band in a low position on a support (like an incline bench) and loop the other end around your ankle furthest from the support. Stand perpendicular to the band, slowly walk away from the support to build tension, and start with your feet hip-width apart. From that position, lift your leg outward slowly and make sure to keep your knee as straight as possible. Once at about a 45 degree ankle, slowly return your foot to the ground. Repeat this for about 10-15 reps before switching legs.
Target: Glutes, Abs, and Quads
Work that ass! While lying on your back, secure the exercise band around your legs about 2 inches above your knees until it is nice and taut. 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.
Lateral Band Walk
Target: Glutes and Quads
This isn’t a walk in the park! Step into your loop band or tie a therapy band around your lower legs, either just above both ankles or below the knees. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to create tension on the band. Dip into a half-squat for your starting position, shift your weight to the left side, and start stepping sideways with the right leg. Move the standing leg in a bit while keeping the band taut. Continue this for 10 steps to one side before going the other way.
Start this exercise standing with your feet a little wider than shoulder width. Place on foot on the band and hold one handle in each hand. Bring the band right up to the top of your shoulder. Step back (with whatever foot that’s not on the band) and bend your knee straight down like a lunge. Keep your chest up, abs engaged, and make sure your front knee doesn’t go over your toes. Rise back up to you start position and feel the burn for 10-15 reps on each side.
You know when people figuratively told you to put your back into it? Well now we’re speaking literally. Stand over the exercise band with feet shoulder-width apart, with a slight bend at the knee and hinge your waist, keeping your back straight (important for not injuring yourself) and hips back. Once you’re in position, firmly grasp one handle in each hand. Your elbows will be bent; begin pulling the band up toward your hips until you squeeze your shoulder blades together, then return to starting position.
Target: Lats and Chest
Think lying down is for rest? Think again. For this effective pecs and lats exercise, anchor the tube band in a low position (make sure the support is sturdy so it won’t come flying to hit you in the head). Next, lie on your back, grabbing the free end of the band with both hands, stretching arms straight out overhead. With elbows slightly bent, pull the band overhead, crossing your torso until the handle reaches your knees. Keep this up until you start to feel the burn, then do five more from that point.
Target: Back and Quads
It’s just like rowing a boat! Secure the resistance band on a support at about chest height, grab a handle in each hand, arms extended, and palms facing each other. Lower into a half squat, back straight, knees bent, and elbows bent. Pull the band towards your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Remember to always keep your abs engaged! Slowly return to starting position and complete 10-15 reps.
Target: Bicep, Tricep, and Chest
Take this classic move to a new level. 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—body facedown on the ground. 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). If you are unable to do a push-up try starting on your knees.
Target: Chest and Bicep
No barbell? No problem! Anchor a tube band on the bench legs, and lie on the bench, face up. Grabbing a handle in each hand, position them at shoulder height (so your thumbs touch the front of your shoulders). Extend the arms straight up overhead to full extension, moving your hands toward each other at the top. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Target: Front of Shoulders
To hit the front of the shoulders, stand on the middle of the band with feet shoulder-width apart and grip each handle at your sides with palms facing in. Next, without locking your elbows, bring your right arm straight out in front of you to shoulder height. Slowly lower back down and raise the roof for 8 to 12 reps before switching arms.
Okay, while we can’t guarantee that you’ll be smiling like the picture, we guarantee this resistance band exercise is very effective. Stand with feet positioned over the center of a tube exercise band, shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle with arms down at your side and palms facing in. Bending your elbows ever so slightly, raise your arms straight out to the side to shoulder-level, then lowly lower back down. Are you smiling? No? Good, that means you’re working!
Overhead Tricep Extensions
Target: Triceps and Shoulders
Sit on a chair or bench, placing the center of a tube band beneath your glutes. Grab a handle in each hand and stretch your arms up, bending your elbows so that your hands are positioned behind your neck. With palms toward the ceiling, press your arms straight up until they fully extend. If you want to get rid of that arm jiggle, this is the best exercise to target that area!
Attach the band to a high anchor (such as the top of a door or cable column) and kneel down, grabbing each side of the band. Extend the elbows out at shoulder-level, engage your abs, and crunch down toward your hips while contracting your abs. Switch it up from regular crunches with this ab exercise and just watch those abs of steel come in.
Standing Bicep Curl
Build up that gun show with this resistance band exercise. Stand with one foot (or two for even more resistance) on the middle of the exercise band. Grab the band in each hand, starting with your arms in a downward position. Position your hands so your palms face in front, pull your arms toward your shoulders by bending at the elbow until you reach a 90 degree position. Release slowly and continue for 10-15 curls.
Another of our favorite resistance band exercises — try this version of a crunch. While lying on your back bring your feet up to a table top position and wrap the band around your feet. To create tension in the band extend your feet out a bit. From that position pull your abs towards your naval, make sure you have a flat back, and begin to pull your knees towards your shoulders. Never disengage your abs! Try this for a set of 30 reps.
Target: Abs, obliques
To secure the band, sit with your legs extended and wrap the middle of the band around your feet. Grab a handle in each hand. Slightly bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor, and lean back at a 45-degree angle. Rotate the band right by bringing your left hand across your body and your right hand down by your right hip. Contracting your oblique muscles, bring the band toward your right hip while keeping your middle and low back neutral. Tackle this exercise with 10-15 reps on each side.
Full Body Workout
If you aren’t quite comfortable jumping right in and structuring your own workout, we have you covered with one of the best YouTube resistance band workout videos. Learn how to properly execute each exercise to reduce injury and maximize the results.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and ditch those traditional weights that you’re never going to use anyway and get yourself a set of resistance bands. Check out our friends over at the X-Bands; they have some awesome sales and can take care of any of your resistance band needs. If you don’t want to drive to the gym, make sure you prepare ahead of time and have the right supports at home. Think we missed an invaluable move? Tweet it at us @66Audio. We always love to see what workouts you’re trying out!