This $3 tool has the ability to supercharge your strength-training routine.
Imagine your dream home gym. Is it stocked with shiny dumbbells, complex-looking pulldown and pullup machines, or your own (no waiting!) squat rack with rainbow plates?
Pocket that cash for a well-earned vacation instead. You can actually reap the benefits of a killer strength workout with a single piece of no-frills equipment: a good ol’ resistance band.
Bands take up almost no space and cost as little as $3, but their beauty lies in their versatility, explains Keith David, C.P.T., assistant fitness manager at Crunch Fitness in Hoboken. Resistance bands allow you to train almost every muscle group in your body through a vast array of movements—many of which you’re unable to do with dumbbells. Plus, adds David, your core muscles get an extra blast from the instability.
Grab either a tubed band with handles or a flat band without handles for this total-body resistance circuit from David. Once you’ve finished each exercise, rest for 30 to 90 seconds, then repeat twice for three rounds total.
- Keeping it flat, place a band around both ankles.
- Standing with ankles shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly and sit in a partial squat. Squeeze your glutes.
- Keeping your feet in line with your shoulders, shift your weight to one leg and step sideways with the opposite leg. Keep your hips level and try not to bounce.
- Shift your weight back to center slowly, and switch legs. That’s one rep.
- Perform 20 reps on each side.
- Secure a band from a fixed point close to the ground. Place a bench a few feet away from the fixed point.
- Sit on the bench and loop the band behind your ankles, keeping your legs straight. This is the starting position.
- In a controlled motion, bring your feet toward the bench. It’s OK to lean back slightly, but try to keep your body stable.
- Pause when your ankles reach the bench, and slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
- Perform 12 to 15 reps.
- Start with your arms extended in front of you, a band secured in both hands.
- With control and keeping your shoulders back, pull the band wide to the sides in a reverse fly motion until your hands are 180 degrees away from each other. The band should touch your chest. Pause to complete the movement.
- As you start moving your hands back to center, make sure there is still some resistance in the tubing. That’s one rep.
- Perform 15 to 20 reps.
- Stand on a band with feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the ends of the band with your hands and lift until your elbows are slightly bent. You should feel some tension.
- Rotate your wrists so that your palms face forward. This is your starting position.
- Exhale and lift the handles until your arms are fully extended over your head. With control, lower the handles back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
- Perform 15 to 20 reps.
- Grab both ends of a resistance band and stand firmly on the middle of the band, with your feet hip-width apart. Let your arms hang at your sides, with your palms facing forward. Your elbows should be straight but not locked.
- While still standing on the band, spread your feet apart until you feel slight tension in the band. Brace your core. This is the starting position.
- From here, keeping your elbows tucked into your sides and torso still, slowly curl the ends of the bands to the front of your shoulders. Pause, then slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
- Perform 10 to 15 reps.
Although you can achieve an effective workout using resistance bands at home, it’s important to ensure you’re performing each motion safely and with control. When you sign up for a flip50 membership, you gain access to 10,000-plus gyms nationwide with certified trainers who can help keep you on the right track to achieve your goals.
Note: Please consult your physician before beginning a physical activity program to make sure it’s safe for you.