Resistance Band Exercises You
Can Do Almost Anywhere

There are a lot of misconceptions about resistance band exercises. Many people wrongfully think that they are tools used only by the elderly, the injured, or the out of shape. Yes, it is true that they are often part of physical rehabilitation programs, but they are also very popular among advanced athletes and body builders.

The great debate is whether or not resistance bands will give you the same results as free weights or machines. Well, that depends on who you ask. Some athletes and trainers say that they are one of the best pieces of equipment ever invented and will help build muscles or improve strength just as efficiently – or maybe even more effectively – than other forms of resistance training.

However, there are those who believe that, despite the many benefits, there are instances when resistance bands simply cannot deliver the same results as good old-fashioned weight lifting


Resistance Bands and Strength Training

While you might not want to put your dumbbells and barbells away just yet, evidence does show that adding resistance bands to your strength training workouts can burn calories, improve speed and endurance, increase flexibility, and build muscle. In fact, many trainers suggest using both bands and free weights together to maximize benefits.

Often, your muscles cannot tell the difference between bands, free weights, or even using your own body mass. As long as there is enough resistance, your muscles will get a good workout. In fact, many trainers encourage the use of elastic bands, tubes, or loops because of the long list of benefits they offer.

Advantages of Resistance Bands

  • A full-body workout. A lot of gym equipment is designed to target only one muscle group. With resistance bands, you can work out any muscle in your body simply by changing positions.
  • Affordability. Resistance bands are inexpensive and can be purchased as a set or individually. Some even include an instructional booklet or DVD.
  • Convenient. They are small, compact, and take up very little space. They can fit in your briefcase, your laptop case, or your suitcase. Since you can wrap them around almost any stable object or secure them in a door, they can be used anywhere, so you can get your workout in even when you are away from home.
  • Continuous tension. Gravity can actually lower the effectiveness of free weights because the tension is reduced at certain points. For example, when doing a bicep curl, you get more resistance during the upward lift, but gravity will make lowering the weight easier. With bands or tubes, the resistance is constant so your muscles will be working harder throughout the entire movement.
  • You can't use momentum to “cheat”. When using dumbbells, it is often easy to allow the “swing” to propel your lifts,  making some moves easier.
  • Versatility. Resistance bands can be used alone or with other pieces of equipment such as dumbbells, stability balls, workout bench, or steps.
  • Safety. You can give your muscles an intense workout without fear of dropping a heavy weight. This is particularly helpful if  you are working out alone or do not have a spotter.
  • Multiple muscle benefits. When using the bands, proper form requires that you engage supporting muscles for stability. So, even the muscles that you are not targeting will get a workout.
  • Variety. There are so many exercise you can do with one simple piece of equipment. And variety is the spice of life, right? At least it staves off boredom and keeps your workouts interesting. 


Resistance Band Exercises


Bicep Curls

  • Stand on the band with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the handles or grip the band with palms facing out.

  • To increase the tension wrap the band around your wrist or allow some tubing to gather between your feet, thus shortening the length of tube from your foot to hand.

  • Perform a traditional curl as if you were holding a dumbbell.
resistance band curls


Lateral Raise

  • Stand on the band with feet hip-width apart. Hold a handle in each hand (or grip the band if no handles).

  • Allow your arms to hang straight down at your sides and adjust the band by changing your grip or widening your stance until there is no slack between your hands and your feet.

  • The band should not be sagging. Palms should be facing toward your body with your arms slightly bent.

  • Slowly lift your arms out to the side until your elbows are at shoulder height. Lower and repeat for desired number or reps.
lat raise


Sitting Rows

  • Secure the elastic to an anchor at about knee height. Hold a handle in each hand or grip the band near the ends.

  • Sit cross-legged facing the anchor, extend arms straight out in front of you, and move back until the band is taught.

  • With palms facing toward each other and forearms parallel to the floor, pull your arms back until your hands are beside your rib cage.
sitting row exercise


Squats

  • Stand on the band with your feet shoulder width apart. Pull the band tight by wrapping it around your hands or bringing the handles up to your shoulders. Perform a traditional squat.
bosu ball squats


Chest Press

  • Secure the band in a door anchor or attach it to a stable object at about shoulder height.

  • Grip the band or hold a handle in each hand, with your back facing the door or anchoring object. Place your hands against the front of your shoulders with palms facing down.

  • Step forward until bands are taught. Push the handles forward until your arms are almost straight. Slowly bend your arms back until your elbows are inline with your shoulders
chest press


Tricep Extension

  • Stand with your feet on the band about shoulder width apart. Grip the band or handles and bring your arms up beside your ears with elbows facing forward.

  • Extend your arms straight up into the air then return to starting position. This can be done with both arms together or one arm at a time.

Other Tricep Extension Information


Resisted Push-up

  • Wrap the band across your shoulders with the handles or the ends of the band in your hands.

  • Lay on the floor with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle beside your chest.

  • Place your palms over the elastic, making sure that there is no slack. Perform a traditional push-up.

 

Variation Exercise

  • Hold your arms straight out in front of you with palms facing the floor.

  • Pull your arms back until your hands are touching the front of your shoulders. If you don't have an anchor, you can also perform this exercise by extending your legs straight out in front of you and wrapping the band around your feet.

 

Resistance Band Exercises

The number of resistance band exercises are limitless. With this small sampling, you will be able to add a few movements to your workouts so you can begin seeing the benefits right away. 

Resistance bands are low impact, so they will provide an  intense workout without putting pressure on your joints. This is especially important if you are older, have previous injuries, or want to use extremely  heavy weights that could strain your elbows, knees, or hips.


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I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum



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