Resistance bands are the home exercise equipment I’d recommend you buy first. They are inexpensive, they take almost no storage space, they travel well and they are incredibly versatile. The sets that come with handles and door anchors are really nice, and if you have any sort of hand or wrist pain I’d recommend them. That said, if money or, as at our house, space is a major concern the simple thera-band type bands work just fine and in some instances I like them better (because they don’t slide off your feet and don’t hurt as much if they snap back).
1. Double or Single leg Squat
Wrap the band around one leg, and cross it into x, and hold firmly. WIth both feet on the ground, sit back as if you were going to sit in a chair, and come back standing. Progress by first lifting the heel of your free leg and then the entire foot off the ground.
3. Bicep Curls.
Standing on the bands, hold an end in each hand. With your upper arms fixed and your elbows as the hinge, raise your hands up towards your shoulders, and then slowly extend them all the way down. You can have the bands under one foot or both, and crossed or uncrossed, depending on how much resistance you want.
4. Lunge to Curl
Stand with bands firmly under one foot. Step the other foot back into a lunge while simultaneously curling your hands up to your shoulders. With a slow, controlled movement return to standing. For increased intensity you can cross the resistance bands.
5. Tricep Lunge
Starting in the same position as above, step back into a slight lunge. Bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle so your the bands are lightly weighted. Extend your hands back so your body makes a straight line from your rear foot straight through your head. You should feel this is primarily in your triceps and between your shoulders.
6. Kneeling Hip Extension
Wrap the band firmly around one foot (for tubular bands I’d recommend crossing or looping) and kneel in table top. Engage your cure and extend the weighted foot straight back and up, returning slowly to tabletop.
7. Shoulder Press
Kneel on the floor with the band wrapped under your upper legs, just below your knees. Bring your arms out to a right angle. This alone can be fairly intense and a good stopping point. If it feels safe in your shoulders, raise your arms above your body. I like to do this with the bands behind my shoulders, but if you have less open shoulders and tight chest muscles it will probably feel better with the bands in front. I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you have any history of rotator cuff problems.
8. Seated Fly
Sit on the ground with the band wrapped behind both feet. Knees can be bent (more comfortable for most) or straight. Extend your arms out and back, keeping your back straight and your core engaged. The progression would be to pick your feet off the ground and do this in a v-sit. Return slowly to your starting position.
9. Seated Row
In the same starting position as the above exercise, bend your elbows and bring your hands even with your torso in a rowing motion. Progress the exercise by raising your feet off the ground into a v-sit. Return slowly to your starting position.
There are SO many ways to use these bands and this is just a very small selection, but I hope it gets you started. As always, don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right for your body or that is contraindicated for you, and feel free to contact me with any questions.
Jenn is a personal trainer at Manchester Athletic Club and is currently accepting new clients. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.