If you’re pushed for time or tight on space resistance bands are an extremely versatile, compact and portable piece of kit. Use them to add load to your lunges, super-charge your squats and tone your upper body.What’s more they work in a different way to weights because the greater the range of motion the greater the resistance. This challenges the muscles in a different way to working with a constant load.
In addition, as long as you keep them taut while you train, resistance bands really engage your muscles during the concentric and eccentric phase of the exercise.
You won’t be able to resist these five excellent exercises.
1. Resistance Squats
Works your: butt, lower back, quads and hamstrings
Stand on a resistance band with you feet a hip distance apart and your knees slightly turned out. Hold the handles of the resistance band in each hand passing each side of the band up the back and over the shoulders. Bend the knees to 90 degrees and pull the handles down to make the resistance band tight.
Slowly lengthen the legs to stand tall, pushing against the resistance of the bands as you do so, then return to the bent-knee position at the same speed.
Aim for three sets of 15.
2. Resistance Rotator Cuffs
Works your: biceps, chest and shoulders
Stand tall with the resistance band under your right foot with the handle outside the foot. Hold the other handle in the left hand and step your left foot back a little. Bend your left arm and rest your knuckles against your right hip. Adjust to ensure there is some tension in the band at this position.
Slowly rotate from your left shoulder to bring your left elbow in line with your left shoulder and your left hand directly above your left elbow. Return to the start position just as slowly.
Complete three sets of 8 on each arm.
3. Resistance Bicep Bends
Works your: Biceps
Stand on your band with both feet a hips distance apart and hold the handles of the resistance band in each hand with the palms facing forward. Extend your arms by the side of the body and ensure there is tension in the band in this position.
Slowly bend your right arm, keeping your elbow free of the torso and positioned beneath the right shoulder until the hand reaches shoulder height. Keep the right hand there and bend the left arm in the same way. Just as slowly return the right arm to the extended position, followed by the left.
Repeat with the left arm leading to complete one round and aim for three sets of 8 rounds.
4. Resistance Hip and Butt Blasters
Works your: Hips, glutes, abductors (outer thighs)
Stand on the resistance band with both feet a hip distance apart and hold the handles in each hand and rest the hands on the hips. Ensure there is tension in the section of the band between the feet.
Tone your thighs and flex your ankles throughout as you take five progressive steps out with your right foot. Then bring the right foot under the right hip and take five progressive steps out with your left foot.
Take 100 steps in total – that’s ten reps on each leg.
5. Resistance pull-downs
Works your: Chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps
Fold the resistance band in half and hold both handles in one hand and the loop in the middle in the other.
Lengthen your arms, lift them above your head and then take the hands wide to tighten the band.
Maintain the horizontal tension as you bend your arms and bring the band down behind you narrowing the elbows to the waist.
Then return to the start position.
Enjoy 3 sets of 15 of these for sculpted shoulders and a toned upper back.
As you get stronger increase intensity by progressing to a more challenging resistance. Enjoy!