As one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment out there, resistance bands can be used in their own specified routines or added to standard strength training and cardio workouts to boost their overall efficiency. Below are just a few suggestions to get started on getting the most out of your exercise with resistance bands.
One of the first exercises you can add resistance bands to is simple stretching. When you start out the day or warm up for your exercise routine, it’s a good idea to stretch out your body and muscles. Adding exercise bands at the lowest resistance to points of your stretching routine can give it just that little extra oomph by starting to work and warm up your muscles a little more.
Additionally, if you’re getting ready for your daily workout, that extra resistance can aid the efficiency of your warm-up by helping to get your heart rate into your desired zone whether the goal of the day is cardio, burning fat, or muscle tone. The important thing to remember in this is finding the right amount of resistance that will beef up your stretching without adding too much and tiring yourself out for the rest of the workout.
5 Exercises to Target Muscle Groups
This list has a few strength training exercises that can help you start targeting some of the basic muscle groups. These will primarily use exercise bands with handles to replace complex gym equipment and enhance your exercise by supplying some of the extra tension with your own body. It’s important to note that this is a basic beginning and not a complete list of all the possible strength-training exercises available.
- Seated Row: A standard stretch band exercise that works several muscles in your back, with secondary work in your arms and just a little tension control for your legs. With your legs extended in a seated position, set the center of the band at the soles of your feet and take the handles in your hands.
Keeping your legs and back straight, pull the band until your elbows are past your back, and your wrists are at your side. Maintaining control, move your arms forward again and continue these motions for the appropriate amount of reps for your routine. To increase the tension without switching bands, you can cross the band over your legs for a bit more stretch.
- Biceps Curl: This one easily replaces standard curls that might be done with dumbbells or a bar weight. Simply stand straight with your feet together and the center of the band under your feet. Gripping both handles with your hands facing out, bend at the elbows and curl your arms up for a rep. Remember that keeping control of your motion going down is just as important as going up and will give you a better workout.
- Lateral Deltoid Rise: A shoulder exercise with resistance bands that is another gym machine standard. This time, with the band under your feet, have your legs hip distance apart. Grip the handles with your hands facing in towards your body and just lift out to the sides to make a “T”. You’ll feel the tension in your shoulders by your arms going up and coming slowly back to your sides that will help build strength.
- Squat: Yet another gym favorite that helps work the overall lower body. Once again, standing on the center portion of the resistance band, this time with your feet positioned just a bit wider than your shoulders. Grip the handles and curl your arms up next to your head, holding just enough tension in them to keep everything aligned and have your lower body do most of the work. Bend your knees carefully and squat down as if you were about to sit in a chair. Bring your body back up to standing with control to complete the rep.
- Basic Crunch: For this one, you’ll need something low to secure the center of the band to that has no risk of moving itself or tearing at the band. Once you have it secure, lie on your back with your head at the center of the band and your knees up with your feet on the ground. Grip the handles and keep your arms in the same position, either curled tightly to your body or pointed towards your knees for greater tension. Lift your upper body in a crunch and feel the work in your abs as the band adds extra resistance.
4 Enhanced Cardio Exercises
This list contains a few of the best resistance band exercises for an enhanced cardio workout that will help efficiently get your heart rate into the right zone quickly and then keep it there. A good addition for these is something to monitor your heart rate so that you can properly adjust your effort to keep yourself right where you want to be.
- Boxing: There are a few ways to have resistance bands aid this cardio workout. Depending on the type and length of the band, you may need to have something to secure the center of the band to a wall, or you may be able to wrap the band around your back if that will supply the right tension.
Once you have the proper setup, then you can either simply do a freestyle routine of fast jabs, crosses, and uppercuts while holding the bands adds to your cardio effort, or you can use quick, set reps of punching out and alternating your feet in time while staying in place. Either way, you’ll get your heart pumping pretty quickly!
- Adjusted Jumping Jacks: This is a good workout to get your heart pumping and give some extra work to your arms and legs. Specifically designed for a strong loop-style band, you start with your feet together and a portion of the loop band under them. Gripping the other half of the band in your hands, stretch it up so that your arms are down with your hands facing forward.
As you hop your legs just a little out to the side, lift your arms up parallel to the floor in a curl. Come back to center and repeat quickly for a great resisted cardio exercise that will get your heart rate up and work your limbs. For a simpler version if these are a bit too much to begin with, simply grip the band out in front of you with your arms stretched and your feet together.
As you hop your feet out to the side, pull your arms apart and stretch that resistance band. You’re still getting good cardio with extra resistance to work your arms and add more to the simple motion.
- Hopping Squats: This is another workout that will need a place to secure the center of the band to the wall at about chest height. Once the band is set in place, grip the handles or ends and take a squat position, pulling your arms down to your sides. Begin your reps by extending your body and hopping up, moving your arms straight out as you rise.As you land, fold back into the squatting position, and bring your arms down again.
You can do this for a specific, high number of reps or simply keep the pace for a set length of time. Either way, you’re bound to really feel it by the time you’re done!
- Side Wood Chops: With a few variants available in this exercise, it provides a great combination of cardio and targeting abdominal muscles along with a few other muscle groups. As with many exercises, it starts with being able to secure the resistance band somewhere, above head level for this exercise.With your body sideways to the attachment point, grip the handles of the stretch band with both hands at one shoulder.
Then swiftly twist your body and move your arms down diagonally away from the wall, almost as if you were chopping wood. Once you’ve completed the appropriate reps or time on one side, be sure to switch and do the other for balance. You can also switch this up to a lower attachment point and sweep your arms upwards for a variant that will work muscles in different ways.
Remember that all of this is just a start to what you can do with your exercise bands. There are a ton of resistance bands workouts that you can find with a few searches to vary your exercise routine and target your individual fitness goals. With so many different options, there’s always a new way to switch up your workout and put those stretch bands to great use.