Resistance Bands for Home Exercise
Resistance bands or tubes are made of thin, durable rubber and can be in the form of flat bands or hollow tubes with or without attached handles. Flat, flexible bands are usually cut to size from a large roll and are often used in physical therapy or other rehab centers. Tubes are more durable and usually come with attached handles that make it easy to do a variety of exercises.
Both kinds of bands come in several strength levels so be sure you get a variety that suit your fitness needs. You can also find kits that include DVDs or exercise posters and other equipment and attachments.
Advantages of resistance bands:
- They're cheap - you can get bands for under $10
- Convenient and portable - they're small enough to take just about anywhere
- Easy to store - they take up very little space. You can tuck them in a drawer or hang them in a closet or on the back of a door
- Adaptable for all fitness levels - they come in several resistance levels and the slack can be adjusted in the band to make the exercise harder or easier
- Easy to use - resistance bands are not complicated so there's no learning curve when it comes to exercises. You can use bands to perform the same exercises you would with dumbbells or just bodyweight
Disadvantages of resistance bands (yes, there are a few!):
- Resistance bands are basically large rubber bands so they can, and do, break.
- For someone at an advanced fitness level, bands may not provide enough resistance to be an effective workout.
Full-Body Resistance Band Workout
Some bands come with attachments that you can use to position the band in a doorjamb with the door closed. This may be helpful for some of the following exercises.
- Standing Chest Press - Loop the band around a sturdy object or connect in a doorjamb attachment at chest height. Face away from the band and hold the handles at chest height with elbows pointing behind you. Step forward to take up the slack in the band and create some tension. Keeping arms chest high and palms facing the floor, press straight out, pause and come slowly back to start.
- Seated Row - Loop the band around a sturdy object or connect in a doorjamb attachment about 18 inches off the floor and sit facing it with legs straight out in front of you and sitting tall. Grasp the handles and scoot backwards until there is slight tension in the band and your arms are fully extended with palms facing each other. Leading with your elbows, pull backwards squeezing your shoulder blades together and keeping your upper body still and tall. Slowly return to start and repeat.
- Shoulder Press - Stand on the middle of the resistance band and hold handles just above your shoulders with palms facing away from you. Extend your arms over your head and bring them together slightly in the middle. Pause, return to start and repeat.
- Squats - Stand on the middle of the band with feet hip-width apart and hold handles just above your shoulders with palms facing away from you. Create more resistance by widening your stance slightly, or looping the band around your hands several times. Slowly lower into a squat being careful to keep your knees from going beyond your toes. Pause, return to standing position and repeat.
- Lunges - Stand on the middle of the resistance band with your right foot and hold handles just above your shoulders with palms facing away from you. Take a big step backwards with your left foot and lower into a lunge position. Make sure your right knee doesn't go out beyond your right toes and you keep tension on the band (adjust it in the lunge position if necessary). Press through your right heel to a standing position, pause and repeat until all reps are completed. Switch feet and repeat on the left side.