These days, it’s more and more important to be able to work out from anywhere. Gyms aren’t always accessible, and memberships can be expensive. As more of us are working remotely, traveling, or just concerned about the impact we’re leaving on the planet, resistance bands can be the answer to your fitness goals.
You definitely want to add resistance bands to your workout, no matter what your fitness goals. Resistance bands are excellent for warm-ups, during workouts, and cool-downs. Here are some examples of resistance bands.
Let’s talk about a few effective ways to use resistance bands to reach your fitness goals.
Resistance bands for effective warm-ups
You can easily add resistance bands into your existing warm-up exercises. Resistance bands help get your blood flowing and help avoid getting injured.
You can try any of these exercises:
- Banded squats or jumping jacks, using a hip circle band around your thighs
- Banded push-ups with a resistance band around either your lower arms or your legs
- Banded crab walks or lunges, using a hip circle band around your thighs (above the knees)
- Banded donkey kicks with a band looped around the middle of one foot (use a longer band and hold one end in your hand)
- Banded pull-apart to warm up your chest and shoulders (use a longer band, holding both ends)
- Chest fly with the resistance band around your back
- Standing shoulder presses with the resistance band looped under your feet
Resistance bands for your main workout
Add resistance bands to many different exercises to improve your flexibility, balance, and strength.
Resistance bands work not only the main muscles but the surrounding stabilizing muscles. Using resistance bands also helps build strength without using momentum. The end of each movement is more challenging using resistance bands than using free weights because you are working throughout the entire movement.
Working out with resistance bands allows for a greater range of movement. This means you have to stay mindful of keeping the correct form while exercising.
You can make your exercises more or less challenging by adjusting the length of the band. By gripping it midway rather than from end-to-end, for instance, you’ll increase the resistance and, therefore, the difficulty.
Here are some ways to add resistance bands to the central part of your workout:
- Standing rows and/or squats with a long resistance band looped under your feet
- Lateral rows with a long resistance band under one foot and the end held in your opposite hand
- Sumo squats with the band looped under both feet and the ends in your hands
- Good mornings with the band looped under your feet as well as across your shoulders
- Hip bridges with a hip circle band looped around your thighs, or with a longer band looped under the middle of both feet and the other end around your waist
- Overhead presses, kneeling with the band under your knees and looped around your hands
- Bicep curls or tricep extensions with the band under the middle of both feet
- Plank with the band around the bottom of one foot and the opposite hand. You can lift and extend your banded leg, then the banded hand
If you want to see what some resistance band exercises look like, you can find an excellent selection here.
Resistance bands for your cool down
You want to give your muscles a good stretch after your workout, and resistance bands do an excellent job. Using resistance bands helps you deepen your stretches while improving your flexibility.
When doing stretching with resistance bands, hold each position for about 15 seconds. Stretch to a level that’s challenging but never painful.
Some stretches you can do include:
- Hamstring stretches: lying on your back with the band around the bottom of your foot. Pull your straight leg towards your chest
- Inner thigh stretches: on your back with the resistance band around the bottom of your foot. Extend your leg straight and out to the side
- Upper back stretches: loop the band around your feet and hold the band. With a flat back, bend over your straight legs
- Chest stretches: grip the band in both hands and pull it across your chest
Resistance bands are a powerful tool to add to your kit. Use them for warm-ups, your main workout, and your cool down. You’ll be improving your flexibility, muscle tone, balance, and strength all at the same time!