Traveling and looking for a simple workout you can do from your hotel room? Perhaps you live in a small apartment and have limited space for storing your workout equipment. Or maybe you just know the benefits of workouts that implement resistance bands. Whatever your reason, incorporating resistance band workouts into your exercise regime is a great decision!
Benefits of Resistance Band Workouts
Resistance bands are extremely versatile. In just a quick movement of your body, you can shift to add another “lift” to your exercise. For example, if you are doing squats using the resistance band, it is easy to add a bicep curl which also engages the arm muscles. One shift in movement adds an entire muscle group!
Resistance bands are also affordable. Whereas you may need to have multiple weights of dumbbells, you can purchase bands in varying degrees of tension (light, moderate, heavy, etc.) to meet all of your workout needs. If you plan on using your bands for all body engagement, you will probably want at least three bands. Larger muscle groups like quads, glutes and hamstrings require a band with heavier tension, while smaller muscles like biceps typically require smaller bands with less tension.
Bands are also portable and small, allowing you to store them in a small area and take them anywhere. This enables you to be consistent with your workout even if you are traveling.
An excellent tool to work on coordination, bands require you to focus on stability in ways that dumbbells do not. While trying to keep the band aligned into the correct position, you will engage multiple muscle groups (not just the one the exercise targets).
There are a lot of bands from which to choose so it would be easy to get confused, but it does not have to be complicated. Most bands are color-coded by tension which makes it easy to remember which one to grab for specific exercises. It is recommended to get at least three bands to start, with varying degrees of tension.
Also, consider purchasing simple loop bands to start. They sell fancier bands, but you can get the job done with basic long tubes. Many athletes also prefer loops with handles, so consider that point.
There are attachments you can purchase such as interchangeable handles to help you do different moves. Also, there are door attachments, ankle cuffs and other items. While these items will certainly help you, don’t feel the need to jump on board with all of the bells and whistles. You can get a quality workout in using only basic bands!
Types of Bands
Traditional Bands are cylindrical with handles. These vary by thickness which determines how much resistance they will have, which makes it either harder or easier to manipulate.
Braided Bands are braided, just like the name implies. Also made in varying degrees of tension, the braided bands tend to be more durable and last longer. Of course, they also cost a bit more upfront.
Flat Bands are the simple “flat” ones that you typically receive if you have to do physical therapy of some kind. These aren’t typically used in gyms or for serious workouts, but are certainly a great starting point!
Superbands were created specifically to work large muscle groups such as leg muscles. They are heavy duty exercise bands that followers of Crossfit love to hate!
Exercise Band Exercises
As illustrated above, there are many exercises that can be completed with a resistance band.
Squats – Put the band under your feet and loop the band over your shoulders. When you squat down and back up, the band will add resistance! Keeping the band in place will also work stability.
Rows – Feet together, stand on the band. As illustrated, bend over with your knees slightly bent and row up.
Lunges- Place the band under one foot (the one that will be forward in the lunge). Holding the bands in each hand with arms bent and hands up, go into your lunge.
Triceps – Stand on the band and grab the ends with your hands behind your head. Pull up and gently release back down using control. Do not allow the band to snap back to loose.
Reverse Crunch – Place the closed part of the loop across the lower part of the knee while in a crunch. Hold the open ends with your hands at your sides, and crunch your legs back and forth.
Wood Chops – This exercise is done by using a loop or attachment to hold the band behind you. Perform the exercise as illustrated.
Cardio with Bands
You can take many calisthenics and add a band to them for some resistance. How would that work?
Jumping Jacks can have a band added around your legs. Or, you could hold a band between your hands.
Burpees can have a band around the thighs to work on resistance and coordination.
Walking Lunges are another exercise that can incorporate a band to add resistance.
Workout Videos and Apps
If you are looking for guidance on incorporating resistance bands into your workouts, there are some great resources out there.
YouTube is a great source for this type of workout! Try the 30 Minute Full Body Resistance Workout! It is engaging and good for men and women!
Pinterest is a great source for workouts. Use the search bar to find workouts that meet that criteria.
Bands For the Win!
Whatever your fitness goals or motivation for adding fitness bands to your workout, there is an exercise for you! Resistance bands can be used in place of traditional weights for standard lifts done in a gym. Also, they can be incorporated into dynamic movements in order to engage multiple muscle groups in one exercise. Lastly, bands can be used for cardio including HIIT training.
If you are looking for an inexpensive, easy to store piece of workout equipment, this should be on your must-purchase list!