The resistance band is an awesome tool if you have little space to work out, travel a lot, or just want some variety. It also works your muscles differently than weights–providing resistance during the eccentric part of each exercise, rather than just the concentric portion. I love using the band during my fitness classes because it is so versatile, and have based full classes on band exercises.
Here’s part I of a full-body band work out (Part II coming next week). You don’t even need an anchor for any of these moves. I’ve combined optional lower-body moves with some of the band exercises to increase the calorie burn. Adjust the band’s resistance to your level by placing your hands closer together (or farther apart) on the band. Perform 2-3 sets of each exercise.
1. Bicep Curl (with Squat)
Place the band under your feet, hip-width apart, and hold the handles at your sides, arms slightly bent (pictured). Bend your knees to perform a squat. As you straighten your legs to come out of the squat, perform a bicep curl. 12-18 reps.
2. Side-Steps OR Supine Hip Abduction
Place the band under your feet, hip-width apart, and hold the handles at your sides. Side-step to your left, bringing your feet apart, and then back to hip width again with your right foot. Perform 5 side-steps to your left, and then 5 to your right. Repeat this sequence twice more. Increase tension in the band by lifting the handles higher from the floor or bringing them together in front of you.
Supine Hip Abduction:
(I don’t really like this photo because I hold the band with both hands closer to my chest…but this photo gives you an idea) Lie on your back, feet extended in the air, hip-width apart. Bring the band under your feet and hold it by the handles or rubber tubing, together at your chest. Move your outward as far as you can, away from each other, then return to hip-width. 15-18 reps.
3. Lat Pulldown (with Static Lunge)
Grab each end of the band by the rubber tubing, arms overhead, extended but not locked. Slowly lower your arms laterally, parallel with the floor, still extended but slightly bent. (pictured). To add the static lunge, get into the lunge starting position (pictured) with your arms overhead. Keeping your feet planted, bend your knees into a lunge, while simultaneously performing the lat pulldown. As you straighten your legs back up, bring your arms back overhead to starting position. Repeat for 12-18 reps.
4. Anterior Raise (with Backward Lunge)
Standing, bring one foot slightly forward with your band under it. Raise your extended arms in front of you, parallel to the floor, holding the band’s handles. (pictured) Lower. To add a backward lunge, bring your other leg back behind you simultaneously as you raise your arms forward. (This second photo does not show a full backward lunge. You need to lower your back leg more, bending your back knee, to perform a full lunge.) Return to standing and lower your arms. 12-18 reps.
5. Standing Row
Pictured is a one-arm band row, but you can perform a two-arm row using both handles. Stay in the pictured position, abs tight, shoulders back, back straight. Bring your elbows up, keeping them tight at your sides, then lower. 12-18 reps.
6. Arm Pull (with Side Lunge)
Begin with your arms extended, holding each end of the band by the tubing loosely in front of you. Tighten the band by pulling each arm sideways, keeping them extended but not locked, and parallel to the floor (pictured). Return to starting position. To add the side lunge, go into side-lunge position (pictured) while simultaneously performing the arm pull. Return to standing. Repeat on the other leg. As you lunge, keep your knee tracking the toe. 12-18 reps.