A resistance band is one of the smartest additions you can make to your fitness arsenal. They’re cheap, available everywhere and can be used for a huge variety of exercises.
“Incorporating a resistance band into your workout has many benefits and can make a great addition to a strength-based or rehabilitation programme,” says Fitness First trainer James Capon.
“You can adjust the tension of the band in order to increase load and customise your workout. Also, given that a resistance band does not rely on gravity, unlike free weights, you can use it to train all three planes of motion which will help to improve functional strength.”
One extra advantage of resistance bands is that it’s pretty hard to hurt yourself using them, but it’s still worth getting some in-person tuition first.
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“If you’re new to using a resistance band, I’d always recommend consulting a personal trainer first to demonstrate some of the exercises and show you correct form,” says Capon, who designed the workout below. You could also get some experience with the band at Fitness First’s 30-minute Glutes Gains class which alternates between bodyweight and resistance band exercises.
Resistance Band Circuit
“This workout is made up of six exercises targeting different muscle groups,” says Capon.
“Complete 12-15 reps of each exercise back to back in the circuit with little to no rest. Do three to four rounds of the circuit in total, with a minute’s rest between circuits.
1. Straight-leg deadlift
“Holding the resistance band handles in both hands, step on the centre of the band and stand tall, with your feet shoulder-width apart,” says Capon.
“Keeping your back straight and legs mostly straight with just a slight bend in the knees, bend forwards at the hips and reach down until you feel a stretch in your hamstring muscles. Make sure there is no slack in the resistance band while you’re performing the movement. Return to the starting position.”
“Place the resistance band so it sits around your knees and stand with your feet hip-width apart,” says Capon.
“Perform full-body squats, ensuring you push your knees outward and keep your chest up. To make it harder you can add a pulse at the bottom of the squat for three seconds or a jump at the top.”
3. Triceps kick-back
“Stand on the resistance band with both feet and pick up one handle,” says Capon. “Bend your knees and bend forwards from the waist. Bring the handle up by drawing your elbow back behind your body. Straighten your arm behind you, keeping your body still and moving just your forearm. Perform all the reps on one side, then switch.”
4. Biceps curl
“Stand on the resistance band with both feet and pick up both handles,” says Capon. “Start with your arms extended along the side of your body and palms facing towards your body. Make sure there is tension in the band so it isn’t loose.
“Bend your elbows to lift the resistance band handles up towards your shoulders. Keep your elbows tight to your torso and pointing down to the floor. Use an underhand grip so the palm of your hands face in towards your body and keep your shoulders down. To increase the resistance, wrap the band around your feet a few times.”
5. Resisted boxing
“Anchor the resistance band securely to a wall or hook and stand facing away from it,” says Capon. “Hold the handles of each band with your elbows bent by your sides. Step forwards with your right foot and extend your left arm in front of your chest with your palms facing downwards.
“Switch legs and repeat with the right arm and continue alternating. To add more resistance, stand further away from the point where the band is anchored.”
6. Reverse crunch
“Begin by lying on your back and loop the resistance band under your feet with your legs extended in front of you,” says Capon. “Perform reverse crunches by lifting your legs towards your chest. Push against the band as you straighten your legs to return to the starting position.”
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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