A training must-have, resistance bands utilise flexibility workouts and training programmes to really improve your fitness.
Do resistance band workouts really work?
Woman and Home’s health editor and personal trainer Lucy Gornall explains that not only can they be used during familiar exercises to increase resistance, they also force your body to maintain stability throughout entire moves, and can be used alone to work smaller muscles you may not otherwise have felt working. So yes, they’re great addition to your workout!
What exercises can you do with exercise bands?
1. Glute bridge
Great for: Hamstrings, glutes
Place resistance band around legs, just above knees. Lie on your back with feet on the floor, bending knees to a 90° angle. Rise up with hips until shoulders, hips and knees form one straight line. Squeeze glutes as you do this. To up the burn, raise toes throughout. Try 20 reps. Ouch!
2. Clam shell
Great for: Activating the glute (bum) muscles and strengthening hips. Ideal for runners!
Keep resistance band above knees. Lay on your side, stacking both legs on top of each other at a 90° angle. Lift top knee, ensuring feet stay touching, until you feel resistance from the band. Lower back down to bottom knee. Repeat, slowly, 15 times each side.
3. Crab walks
Great for: Quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves
Step into band, so it’s wrapped around legs, just above knees. Keeping chest up and core tight drop into a half squat. Walk to the left, keeping resistance in band. After 10 steps, change direction. Aim for 10 steps each side without rising. Rest and repeat 3 times.
4. Bicep curl
Great for: Biceps
Use a long, un-hooped band. Stand on band with both feet and grab both ends. Start with arms down by side, palms facing in. Ensure tension in band – wrap around your hands if you need to increase this. Bend elbows to lift band towards shoulders, keeping elbows and upper arms close to body. Slowly curl back down. Try 12 reps each side.
5. Seated row
Great for: Back, shoulders, biceps
Place band around soles of feet – ideally using an un-hooped band – in a seated position. Contract back muscles and drive elbows and shoulders back. Hold for 3 seconds, then slowly extend forward. Repeat 10 times.
6. Walking plank
Great for: Full body, particularly core
Place band around wrists. Get into a high plank position, keeping hands under shoulders. Walk right hand forward as far as it will go, then bring left hand to meet it. Ensure resistance in band at all times. Then step left hand back, followed by right. Repeat 15 times.