Staying fit and active is always a healthy habit to cultivate. Many people engage in sports, running and other activities to stay in shape. Others lift weights and practice clean living. But sometimes staying fit simply means pushing your body to do things a little bit tougher and one easy way to accomplish this is through the use of exercise bands. Being relatively cheaper and extremely versatile, exercise bands can increase resistance, muscle tone and strength to one’s daily workout.
- NOTE: Exercise bands help add variety to a work out. They do not replace the need for free weights and proper posture. Always stop the moment you feel any pain during an exercises. And as always, consult with your physician before starting on any rehabilitation exercises.
- Why bother with exercise bands? The beauty of exercise bands is the fact they provide a constant source of tension during a workout. Tension of course then equals resistance for the muscle to work harder against, and this in turn leads to subtle adjustments to maintain proper posture and balance, thereby giving also the core a workout. Best of all, other than being easy to store and inexpensive, one can do exercises with resistance bands even at the comfort of your own home.
- Some tips to bear in mind. Always begin with a warm-up. Before starting any exercises, prep your body for a workout by doing a few warm up exercises and stretching. These would help you avoid suffering any cramping and reduce the chances of straining or spraining.
When doing the exercises, note if the resistance you feel is too weak or too strong. A standard set of repetitions ranges from 8 to 16. Consider using a stronger or weaker band if you find the exercise too easy or too difficult to accomplish. Maintain your proper posture at all times. And don’t rush through the exercise.
- Work that chest. Choose a sturdy object behind you where you can wrap the band around. Hold the ends of the band in each hand. Beginning with your arms parallel to the ground and elbow slightly bent, exhale as you squeeze from the chest and press the arms the arms outwards without locking your elbows. Slowly return to the starting position.
- Tone those arms. There are numerous arm workouts you can do with resistance bands. Here are ways to work on your biceps and triceps.
For the biceps, stand on the band with one foot that is slightly ahead of the other while you hold the ends of the band in each hand. Keep your knees slightly bent and your abdominals in. Exhale as you bend your arms upwards without moving your elbows until your palms are close to your shoulders. Slowly return to starting position. If you wish to increase tension, have both feet on the band. Spreading your feet slightly wider can further increase the resistance felt in the workout.
For triceps, the resistance band is held in front of the chest by both hands while the elbows are bent at shoulder level. While keeping one arm stationary, contract your triceps as you pull the other arm away from the chest and straight out to the side. Slowly return to starting position and complete a set of repetitions. Then do the other arm.
- And lastly, shape those thighs. Similar to working out the biceps, hold each end in your hands while you stand on the band with both feet. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and slightly bent. Your arms should also be bent in a half-bicep curl. Exhale as you lower into a squat, keeping knees behind toes and your back straight during the whole movement. Repeat to starting position.
Check out online for more ways to use resistance bands as part of your
workout. Part of keeping an exercise fun is finding ways to add to your