What are Strength Bands Used for?
Originally used as a fitness technique, strength band exercises are even used in rehabilitation settings today. You can easily substitute these stretch bands for the free weights you use in your exercise routine.
These bands may look small but research has shown that the muscle activity when you are involved in resistance band training is similar to that of free weights training. The free weights and the stretch bands have similar properties; both offer you a free range of motion as well as some form of resistance.
However, there are stark differences between the fitness bands and free weights. While free weights only offer resistance in the vertical plane due to their reliance on gravity, fitness bands offer resistance in both the horizontal as well as the vertical plane.
Some of the other benefits of these bands are that it is easy to store, portable, and less expensive than your gym membership – if you have one. If you do, hopefully it is not with someone like White Goodman!
The best thing about these bands is that you can perform strength band exercises almost anywhere, in the park, at home, or at your hotel room. This ensures that you are never away from your own personal gym.
Resistance Band Training
Many basic exercises such as push-ups and triceps curls can be performed using stretch bands. There are also a number of strength band exercises that work on specific muscle groups such as the back muscles or the shoulder muscles. Choose the muscles that you want to work on and incorporate the exercises that specifically target these muscles in your daily exercise routine. Some of the workouts that can be performed with the use of exercise resistance bands are:
Sit on the ground with your knees slightly bent and your back straight. Wrap the fitness band around
your feet and hold the ends in your hands. Hold the bands in a way that your palms are facing down and the elbows are bent on your sides.
Remember to focus on your back muscles when you are bending the elbows. Ensure that your abs are pulled in tight and bend your upper body forward. Simultaneously, pull the fitness band behind you by extending both arms. Slowly return to the resting position and perform a total of 20 reps for best results.
- What are the target areas? Core muscles – lower back muscles, abdominal muscles, and pelvic floor muscles
This strength band exercise mimics the move of a woodchopper and works on all your core muscles. Begin by securing the stretch band to the top of your door or any other support. Stand with your right side towards the door and hold the free end of the band with both your arms. The band should be secured in such a way that you will need to stretch your arms overhead to reach the free end.
Now without stopping, pull the band down (with both hands) till it reaches the front of your knees in one fell swoop. When you are pulling the band down, you should also pivot your back foot and rotate your right hip simultaneously. Return back to your starting position and perform 8 to 10 reps of this exercise on each side.
Front squat is a classic exercise that when performed with a fitness band adds more resistance to it. Stand in the center of the band with your feet apart, the distance between your feet must be slightly more than your shoulder width.
Hold an end of the band in each of your hands and pull the resistance band up till it reaches the top of your shoulder. Now all you have to do is squat – sit down with your back straight and abs firm till your knees make a 90 degree angle. Get back up to your rest position and perform at least 8 to 12 reps of this exercise.
Bridge Kick Press
- What are the target areas? Legs, shoulders, and glutes
Lie down on your back on your yoga mat with feet flexed so that only the heel is touching the ground. Ensure that your knees are bent. Raise your right leg up so that the knee is at a 90 degree angle and loop the fitness band around it. Hold the ends of the band in your hands with elbows bent and palms facing towards your body.
Slowly lift your hips off the ground and extend both arms over your head. At the same time, extend your right leg in a way that it forms a 45 degree angle and both knees are in line. Bring your hips and arms back to the starting position. Do 10 reps on each of your legs.
Sliding Plie Squat Pull
- What are the target areas? Glutes, arms, hips, and inner thighs
Stand straight with your heels together, while your knees and toes are turned outwards. Fold the resistance band and hold it above your head by extending your arms. Start with taking a wide step with your right foot on your side, and ensure that you have bent your knees too, so that you are in a plie squat position.
At the same time, pull the band down towards your chest while stretching it as wide as you can. Slowly return to your starting position, with your heels touching and your arms extended overhead. Move on to the other leg. For best results, perform 20 reps, 10 on each leg.
- What are the target areas? Muscles of your lower back and hamstrings
This is an exercise that is usually performed with a barbell, but a stretch band works too. Bend over, place your feet on top of the ends of the stretch band or in the handles and loop the center of the band behind your neck. Bend in a way that your torso is parallel to the ground.
Using the muscles of your lower back and your hamstrings, raise your torso upwards till you are standing with your back straight. Slowly sitting back in your hips return to your starting position. Pay close attention to your back while bending, it should not arch.
On a yoga mat, get down on your hands and knees, while holding the ends of the resistance bands under your chest. The center of the band must be wrapped around your right foot, specifically the arch. While keeping your back flat and bracing your core muscles, kick back your right leg powerfully as far as you can manage. Remember to hold it in this position for about a second before returning to the starting position. Ideally, perform 20 reps of this exercises, 10 reps on each leg. You should complete a set on one leg before moving on to the other.
Standing Biceps Curl
- What are the target areas? Biceps
Another basic exercise performed with the help of a fitness band is the standing biceps curl. Stand with your feet over the center of the band, your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Grab a handle (or an end) of the band in each hand and place your arms on the sides. Now just like you would do with a dumbbell, bend your elbows and pull the resistance bands towards your shoulders. Perform a total of 12 to 15 curls for best results. You can do this while watching 24, The Wire, True Detective, and so on!
Incorporate these strength band exercises in your daily exercise routine and see how effective they truly are!
For a look at our favorite resource for resistance bands and workouts head on over to ResistanceBandsPro.com.