Do you have a resistance band gathering dust at home? Resistance tubing is an extremely effective and versatile exercise tool. Resistance bands can be thrown in your bag if you are traveling or need to exercise on the go. Bands and tubing come in different levels of resistance, so you can bring a few bands with you and get in a workout as if you had a whole set of dumbbells with you. When you first start doing an exercise, you can use a band with lower resistance, and as you get stronger, you can use thicker bands. This is a great way to progress your exercises and track your progress. This workout uses just one resistance band with handles at the end. If you have them, feel free to use different brands for different exercises. This is a quick circuit you can do to work your entire body.
To complete the circuit, perform one set of each exercise back to back. Take a quick break to catch your breath, then repeat the circuit. Perform as many circuits as you would like, starting with one or two, and working your way up to three or more.
1. Side Lunge and Reach
The side lunge and reach is a compound exercise that works both your lower and upper body simultaneously. The side lunge targets the quads and glutes like a regular lunge, but also works the inner and outer thighs. Side lunges are important for sports that involve lateral movements, but are also useful for functional lower body strength. Adding in the reach movement works your shoulders, upper back, and core.
Begin in a wide stance with your toes pointing forward. Anchor one end of the resistance band under your left foot and hold the other end of the tubing in your right hand. Lunge onto your left leg, sitting your bum back behind you and working to keep your left knee over your left ankle. As you lunge down, lower your right hand down towards your left foot. Press into your left foot, squeezing your left glute, then press back up to the starting position. As you press up, reach your right arm across your body and above your right shoulder. This is considered one repetition. Throughout the movement, keep your chest up and your core engaged. The movement should be slow, smooth, and controlled. Repeat the sequence of movements on the other side.
Perform 10 repetitions on each side.
Modifications: To make this exercise easier, go through the same sequence of movements without the resistance band. Work on your form and go through the exercise in a controlled movement before using the band. To make this exercise more challenging, use a thicker resistance band.
2. Bent Over Rows
Bent over rows are a great upper back workout, strengthening your lats, traps, rhomboids, and rotator cuff muscles. Rows help to improve your posture by strengthening your upper back muscles, preventing you from slouching forward.
Begin with your feet hip-distance apart. Loop the center of the band under both feet and hold a handle in each hand. Slightly bend your knees and hinge forward at your hips, keeping your spine long. Keeping the rest of your body in this position, lower your arms down toward your feet. Then, keeping your arms close to your body, pull your elbows upward in a rowing motion. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top position. This is considered one repetition.
Perform 10 repetitions.
Modifications: To make this exercise easier, use a thinner (less resistive) band, or omit the band altogether. To make this exercise more difficult, use a thicker (more resistive) band or hold lower down on the band to increase the resistance.
3. Squat and Press
The squat and press exercise is another compound exercise, which means it combines more than one exercise into one to be more impactful. The squat will strengthen your legs and glutes, and the press will strengthen your shoulders.
Begin with your feet hip-distance apart. Loop the center of the band under both feet and hold a handle in each hand at shoulder-height. Bend your knees and hinge from your hips to squat down, similar to sitting down on a chair behind you. Stick your bum out behind you and keep your knees behind your toes. Squat down as far as is comfortable while keeping your chest up. Press into your heels, squeeze your glutes and stand back up. As you stand back up, press your hands up above your shoulders, straightening your arms. Bend your elbows to return to the starting position. This is considered one repetition. Repeat the sequence of movements.
Perform 10 repetitions.
Modifications: To make this exercise easier, omit the band and simply use your bodyweight. You can also do a shallower squat by not bending your knees and hips as much. To make this exercise more challenging, use a thicker band or squat down deeper. This will require more flexibility and more muscle activity.
4. Seated Rows
Similar to bent-over rows, seated rows will strengthen your upper back muscles and help improve your posture.
Begin in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you. If you can’t fully straighten your legs, keep a slight bend in your knees. Loop the center of the band under your feet and hold a handle in each hand. Sit up tall with your core engaged and your shoulders back. Extend your arms in front of you, then bend your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull the band back in a rowing motion. Keep your elbows high, just under shoulder-height, as you pull your arms back. This is considered one repetition.
Perform 10 repetitions.
Modifications: To make this exercise easier, change your sitting position. If you have a secure way to attach the resistance tubing in front of you (instead of using your feet), you can do this exercise seated on a chair or bench. This sitting position will likely be an easier place to move from. To make this exercise more difficult, use a thicker resistance band.
These four exercises require only one resistance band and will give you a full-body workout. Use this circuit for quick and effective full-body strengthening. Enjoy!
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