If you’re tired of working out with weights, need to work out with equipment that takes up very little space or want a workout you can do with lightweight equipment while traveling, resistance bands can meet your needs. With the right variety of resistance bands, you can tone and strengthen your whole body. Most gyms own a variety of resistance bands in different widths and with a variety of attachments. You can also purchase your own to work out at home or on the road.
Choose the correct band for each exercise. If you want to tone and build muscle endurance, choose a band with which you can perform 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise. If you want to build strength, choose a thicker band that will fatigue your muscle in six to eight repetitions.
Inspect each band before you begin exercising. Resistance bands can wear out quickly if they’re used in a gym or if you use them frequently. If you see any signs of wear on a band, do not use it. Worn bands can snap and cause injuries.
Choose a resistance band with a cuff on each end to tone your quadriceps -- the muscles on the fronts of your upper legs. Attach the resistance band to a stable piece of equipment or furniture 2 to 3 inches off the floor. Attach the other end to your right ankle. Stand facing away from the attachment point with no tension in the band. Balance on your left leg and bend your right knee so your foot moves toward your butt. This is your starting position. Contract your quadriceps and straighten your leg in front of you until your hip is between 30 and 45 degrees. Return to the starting position and repeat the leg extensions for six to eight repetitions for strength or 10 to 15 repetitions for muscle endurance before switching sides.
Attach the cuffed resistance band on your right ankle for hamstring curls, which strengthen the backs of your upper legs. For this exercise, attach the other end near the ground and stand facing the attachment. Balance on your left foot. Bend your right knee and contract your hamstrings so your foot comes toward your butt. Straighten your leg and repeat for for six to eight repetitions for strength or 10 to 15 repetitions for muscle endurance .
Choose a resistance band with a handle on each end to perform high back rows. This move will strengthen your arms, shoulders and back. Attach the middle of the band to a point 2 to 3 inches off the floor. Sit in front of the band with your knees slightly bent and hold a handle in each hand. Extend your arms straight out in front of you. Bend your elbows and pull the handles toward your chest in a rowing motion. Straighten and repeat for for six to eight repetitions for strength or 10 to 15 repetitions for muscle endurance.
Complete two to three sets of each exercise up to three times a week. Allow at least one day between workouts. A wide variety of other exercises can be performed with resistance bands.
Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. Ask a trainer for assistance if you’re unsure about proper form or wish to add other exercises to your routine.