Resistance bands are one of the most convenient and versatile pieces of exercise equipment you can own.
These bands are also known as exercise, stretch or flex bands and cables. They provide adjustable resistance for both stretch and strength exercises. Exercise bands come in two types — one that is made of tubing and comes with handles, and the other one looks more like a big ribbon. Both the bands are equally effective. If budget is a problem, try using surgical tubing, which can be picked up quite cheaply at any medical supply store.
It is always necessary to warm up for 5-10 minutes before beginning any exercise routine. For beginners, start with light resistance bands and aim for 1 set of 15 reps. On reaching the intermediate and finally the advanced level, you can change to heavier resistance bands and increase the number of sets and bring the reps down to 12.
This upper body routine will keep you toned and strong. When working out, always work your larger muscle groups first before moving onto the smaller muscles like biceps and triceps.
Chest Press for chest, shoulders and triceps
Wrap the band around a solid object behind you and face in the opposite direction. Bring your hands up to your chest, just in front of your armpits, and push outwards as if you are doing a push up. Check your body alignment, avoid twisting and make sure you do not lock your elbows.
Seated Row for back, shoulders and biceps
In a seated position, wrap the band around a solid object and extend the arms out in front of you. Pulling on the band, bring your arms back, squeezing your shoulder blades together and being careful not to hyper-extend and repeat. Changing the handles to a horizontal position will work more of the back of the shoulder.
Seated Shoulder Press for shoulders and triceps
In a seated position, wrap the band under a chair or bench and bring your hands to your chest. Extend your arms up above your head with palms facing out, making sure not to lock your elbows and repeat. For more of a challenge, start in a standing position and wrap the band underneath your feet.
Lat Pulldowns for back (lats) and biceps
Lying down on a bench, wrap the band behind you around a solid object. With arms extended above your head, pull the arms down until your hands are about level with your shoulders and repeat.
Lateral Raise for middle shoulders
In a standing position, wrap the band underneath your feet (or one foot for less resistance and an easier workout) and bring your hands to your side. Now raise your arms out to the side to about shoulder level, making sure you don’t arch your back and repeat.
Rear Deltoid Row for shoulders and upper back
In a standing or seated position, wrap the band around a solid object in front of you. With arms extended, pull the band in towards you until your hands are parallel to the chest and repeat.
Front Raise for front shoulders
In a standing position, wrap the band under your feet and relax your arms to your side, just in front of the body with palms facing you. Without locking your elbows, raise the arms up while keeping them straight, until they are level with your eyes and repeat. Be very careful with body position and make sure you don’t arch your back.
Triceps Extensions for triceps
Lying down on a bench or floor, wrap the band around a solid object behind you. With elbows bent and hands into your body with palms away from you, extend your arms out in front of you as if you are pushing something away and repeat. Remember not to lock your elbows.
Bicep Curl for biceps
In a standing or seated position, wrap the band under your feet and straighten out your arms in front of you with palms facing out and elbows held firmly to your side. Flex your arms, bringing your hands up to your shoulders, making sure you don’t twist or bend your wrists and repeat.
After exercising, make sure you stretch the muscles you just worked for at least 10 minutes.
A Resistance band takes up very little space and is the best fitness equipment to carry along while traveling. These bands are extremely cost effective, and a number of bands of different sizes can be bought compared to free weights. You can use them in the comfort of your own home. Resistance bands usually last a long time, but you should always keep track of any wear or tear.