Exercise, Fitness, Travel

Top 10 exercises using a resistance band…

It’s the beginning of a new year. The Christmas and New Year goodies have finally caught up with you , you’ve put on a few pounds, feel sluggish and don’t quite fit in those new clothes you got in the boxing day sales. So now you’ve read my ‘how to keep fit whilst travelling’ blog and you’re looking to take action, but don’t have the time or money to join a gym? No problem!

There are endless exercises you can do using a resistance band that train each muscle group in your body. Back, legs, shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps and abs. We bought our resistance bands from myprotein and they cost Ā£10.99 for 2 bands. Ensure the resistance of the band is ok for you to complete these exercises and work away! We bought the red band from myprotein as it is the lowest resistance, it goes up to 16kg. The red resistance band weighs 100g which is perfect to carry in your luggage. The equivalent of 16kg dumbbells in 100g form. Different websites have different colours to code their resistance, read the reviews and you’ll be able to select the most appropriate for you.

So here are my top 10 exercises you can do using a resistance band (Kindly modelled by my boyfriend Steve):

1. Shoulder Press

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, place your right foot into the band, holding it to the floor. Hold the opposite end of the band in your right hand, and turn your arm so it is facing up at a right angle with the band behind your arm. Straighten your arm in an upwards motion until it is fully extended. Slowly lower your arm into the right angle starting position and repeat. Repeat on the left side with your left foot.

Starting position.

Finishing position

2. Front Raises…

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart over the band on the floor. Hold the opposite end of the band with your arms straight out in front of you also shoulder width apart. Lower your arms until they hit your thighs whilst keeping them out straight. Raise them back into the starting position and repeat. Keep your arms straight throughout the entire exercise.

3. Lateral Raises…

Stand with your feet slightly apart and place your right foot over the band on the floor. Grip the band in your left hand by your left side. Keeping your arm straight, raise the band out to the side until you reach shoulder height. Lower the band back into the starting position and repeat.

Starting position

Finishing position

4. Push Ups…

Whilst standing, hold the band in both hands across your back. Get into the press up position (laying on the floor balancing on the balls of your feet and your hands) and lower your body weight, push back up and repeat. If you struggle to do normal press ups you can do these on your knees instead of the balls of your feet. This exercise can also be done as a body weight exercise, the band just adds a little extra resistance.

5. Squats…

Standing shoulder width apart with your feet over the band, place the other end of the band around your shoulders so it is curling around your back. Keep your back straight, head up and stick your bottom out whilst lowering into a squat position. Ensure your knees do not stick out over your toes as this can cause injury. Using your legs, push back up into a standing position and repeat. You can alternate this exercise by having your legs at different widths apart to target different areas of your legs. You can also get into the starting position, hold the bands in the air (still behind your back) and squat this way. Whichever is more comfortable.

 

6. Lunges…

Stand with your legs slightly apart and place your right foot over the band. Wrap the opposite end of the band around your shoulders so it is curled around your back. You can then lunge with two different forms. Either place your left leg back a reasonable distance, bending your knee to the floor until you feel a stretch. Alternatively you can move your right leg forward, bending the back leg towards the floor until you feel a stretch. Whichever is more comfortable, but if you move the front leg with the band, ensure the band does not come loose as it can ping up and hit you. Return to the standing position and repeat. Then repeat on the left side.

7. Overhead Tricep Extension…

Stand with your feet slightly apart and place the band under your right foot. Grip the band in your right hand with your arm raised up and behind your head, pointing slightly towards the floor. So the band will be behind your back. Keep your elbow tucked in towards your ear to entire time. Straighten your arm out in an upwards motion until fully extended. Lower back down into the starting position and repeat. Then repeat on opposite arm.

8. Bicep Curl…

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. (Note: the wider your feet are spread, the harder the resistance will be). Hold the band in one hand straight down by your side with your elbow tucked in to your side. Keeping your elbow tucked in, bend your arm in a curling motion until it is at a 90 degree angle. The band should form a triangular shape if you are doing it correctly. Lower back down until your arm is fully extended and repeat. Repeat on opposite side.

9. Variation of Rows…

Find a place with a fixed item such as a pole, or bench etc. Wrap the band around the back of the pole and hold each end in your hands. Standing with your feet slightly apart and your arms out straight in front of you, pull the band towards your body keeping your elbows bent out to the side and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Straighten your arms out and repeat.

You can alternate this exercise by moving the band higher or lower on the pole to target different areas of your back. If you have the band high it targets your upper back (rear delts, romboids and traps), and if you have the band lower it targets your lower back / lats. You can also sit on the floor with your feet against the fixed object and complete the exercise this way.

10. Rows without a fixed point…

If you do not have a fixed point to attach the band to, you can sit on the floor and wrap the band around your feet. Just ensure the band does not slip off as it can ping up and hit you. Then repeat the steps to number 9.

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