5 Easy Resistance Band Workouts for Beginners
With the pandemic striking at the very heart of daily life, everything we consider normal has been turned upside down. One of the biggest consequences of the new normal has been going out – especially to the gym. A whole bunch of people in a closed space, breathing heavily and sharing the same equipment with sweaty hands – are conditions highly conducive to the spread of COVID-19 you would think. Not surprisingly, facts have proven this hunch right, with a study from South Korea pointing to a cluster of infections linked to fitness dance classes.
It’s no wonder that 64% of the respondents in an American survey are now more interested in fitness options at home than they were before the pandemic struck. They’ve even invested an average of $95 to this end, with 25% splurging on an exercise bike, and 21% buying a treadmill or elliptical machine.
If you’re thinking about enhancing your home workouts, the good news is that you don’t need to break the bank in these uncertain times. All you really need is a good set of resistance bands, and you can mimic the movements as well as stresses and strains that the most expensive gym equipment can give you. But first, let’s look at why resistance bands are hot right now.
Advantages of Resistance Bands
Because they have an anchor point, they engage more areas of your body, spreading the stresses evenly. Your joints feel much less stress as compared to lifting weights.
Resistance bands can be bought for as low as $3 on Amazon. While there are high-end, specialized bands for up to $250 which are meant for specialist athletes, quality products suitable for strenuous home workouts shouldn’t cost much more than the $10 – $30 range.
You can increase muscle mass by increasing the tension and reducing the reps. Besides, you can even incorporate the bands in your cardio workouts, unlike weights which are bulky and cumbersome.
Any gym exercise, for any part of your body, can be done with resistance bands.
Resistance bands can be taken just about anywhere, so you can work out when you get just a little time to spare. You can even keep pushing your legs while on a zoom call!
From beginners to elite athletes, everyone can use it, with different resistance levels of course.
5 Easy Resistance Band Workouts for Beginners
1.Resistance Band Rows
Fasten your resistance band around a fixed or heavy object, like a window railing or the leg of a table, and sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight. Try and ensure that it is fastened as close to chest height as possible. Hold the band with both hands outstretched, and pull your arms back in towards your chest like in a rowing machine, bending at the elbows. Hold for a couple of seconds when your arms are closest to your chest, and then release back to the starting position slowly. By deliberately slowing the release down, you’re forcing your muscles to work harder, which is the basic point of it all! Try to sit as further away from the pivot point as possible, to maximize the resistance.
In case you don’t have something immovable you can your fix band to, you could simply pass the band around your outstretched feet, holding each end in either hand. Then, repeat the same rowing motion.
2.Upper Back Squeeze
Stand with your arms stretched out in front of your chest, holding the band in both hands, a few inches apart. Now engage your shoulder blades, squeezing them and moving your arms apart. Stretch out as much as possible, and hold for 2 seconds at the widest point. Bring your hands back to the starting position as slowly as possible, maintaining tension in the band all the time. Repeat the movement 15 – 16 times. This exercise will strengthen the muscles of your upper back, giving you good posture.
3.Criss Cross Thighs
Criss cross thigh exercises have many variations, and they strengthen your core as well as your lower body. It tones your stomach muscles, glutes, hips, and thighs. The usual resistance bands are likely to be too big and too loose for this exercise. The best option would be booty bands – smaller, stiffer bands that are designed to be wrapped around your thighs and give you a strong, well-defined butt.
Lie on your back on the floor, with your legs up, and lower limbs parallel to the ground. Put your arms back, with palms on the base of your head. Now lift your shoulders up, twist your torso, and move your left elbow and right knee towards each other. While doing this, move your left knee away from your core. Bring elbows and knees to the starting position, twist your torso the other way, and get your right elbow to touch your left knee. Keep the movements going continuously, so that your legs move in a criss cross manner. Initially, you can aim for one set of 16 reps, and then try to complete 2 – 3 sets.
To start with, you can keep the booty bands around your ankles, crossing the band between your ankles to ensure it stays on. You can also move only your legs, and add in the shoulder/elbow movements when you’re stronger. As you get more comfortable with this exercise, you can move the band upwards, till they’re finally resting straight across your thighs.
Squats work your entire body and are especially beneficial for your butt as well as knees. What’s more, when you do it with bands, you take it to the next level.
To start, put your resistance (booty) band just above your knees. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your arms in front, palms together with fingers intertwined, like you’re pleading for your life. Bend your knees and lower your body. Make sure your butt moves backward as if you were sitting down, so that your knees never move ahead of your feet. Go as low as possible, and then get back up till your body forms a straight vertical line. Repeat at least 15 – 16 times.
Keep your elbows tucked into your body, with your forearms out, parallel to the floor. Keep your palms facing each other and put them into the resistance band loop and stretch the band until your arms are parallel to each other. There must be ample tension in the band at this point. Now curl your forearms upwards, maintaining the tension, till your palms touch your shoulders. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then move back to the starting position. In case your band is the longer version, loop the band around your feet so that you’re standing on it, and pull up with the ends in each hand.
Remember, when you choose a resistance band, you need to ensure that it does not roll up or move around. Perhaps you can choose a set of multiple bands with different resistances, so that it will keep up as you progress. So go on, and make a workout schedule now.
Which gym exercise do you want to mimic with resistance bands? Tell us in the comments below.