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Resistance bands are made of strong, thin rubber with handles at the end or just look like a giant elastic band. They can create a greater challenge practically everywhere as they’re extremely portable. They’re inexpensive and there’s a wide variety of full-body workouts you can access.
Exercise bands come in a whole range of levels from highly stretchable to heavy-duty strength. Both the flat bands and tubular bands are easy to store and bring around with you. Handles make exercises such as bicep curls and chest fly’s easier. Tubular bands often roll out of place and can cause misalignment in your exercises.
Below you’ll learn 12 exercises and how to make your workouts more challenging.
A Word About These Exercises
Before beginning the workouts, make sure you have a resistance band that is appropriate to your strength and exercises. The band should be secured in a way that the length is appropriate to give resistance, even at the near-end of the exercise. This will maintain optimal intensity and results.
All these exercises don’t require any other special equipment like anchors, so all you need is a resistance band.
Sit down with your legs extended in front of you. Loop the band around your feet, holding the other side. Pull back as you would with a cable row. Repeat.
- Back Fly’s
Loop the band around a post. Stand back so there’s enough tension with your arms extended straight in front of you. Move your arms back so they are extended to your sides. Repeat.
- Standard Push Up.
Wrap the band around your body so it’s around your back. Lay on the floor and place your palms for the bands, on each side and assure there’s no slack. Your hands should be 20 inches apart with fingers pointed overhead. Keep your back, legs and head straight. Push your entire body off the ground until your arms are almost straight. Return to the starting position. Be sure to maintain control.
- Door Push Ups.
Wrap the band around your body so it’s around your back, again. This time stand 2 feet in front of a door and place your palms over the bands and on each side of the door frame. Make sure there’s no slack and push your body away from the door until your arms are straight. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Sit with your knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart and heels planted. Loop the band around your feet and grab the handle in each hand. Lean back 45 degrees and curl handles to your shoulders. Hinge forward at the hips as you extend both arms behind you. Keep your elbows close to your body, this completes one rep.
- Crouching Tiger
Stand with feet hip-width apart on center of the tube, graph the handle in each hand with our arms by your sides. Crouch down and walk your hands forward until you’re in a full push-up position. Then, bend your knees to get back into a crouch position. Repeat.
- Shoulder Raise
Stand on the band and grip a handle in each hand and stand up straight. Raise your arms up until your hands are at eye level. Keep your hands 6 inches apart as you raise your arms. Repeat.
Lateral Shoulder Raise
In the same position as the first shoulder raise. Raise your arms to the sides instead. Until your elbows are at shoulder height. Return to the starting position and repeat.
- Monster Walks
Secure the band around your legs above your knee. Get into a squatted position with your butt pushed back, chest up and knees over the toes. In the swatted position, step one leg out the side. This will widen the space between your feet. Then step the other leg in, narrowing the space. Repeat.
Lay on your side and loop the band around your legs, above the knees. Keep your feet together and raise your top knee until it’s at eye level. By using full control, lower the top leg into starting position and repeat.
- Leg Abduction
Lay on your side and attach the band around your ankles. Keep your legs straight and hands in front of your body for support. Raise your top leg up until the band is as tight as possible. Lower your leg and repeat.
- Reverse Lunge
Stand in the middle of the band with one foot. Grip the end of each band and raise it to your shoulders. With your feet at hips width apart, step back and lower your back knee. Once your thigh is parallel with the floor, press off your heel and return to your starting position.
How To Challenge Your Workout
Doing your workout with intensity is going to challenge your muscles and help build a fit body. Here are a few ways to increase the intensity of your workout.
Decrease your rest periods to 30-60 seconds.
Increase your time under tension by holding the band for 1-2 seconds instead of immediately releasing (I’ll touch on this more later).
Change your mentality. Workouts are supposed to be difficult. Chances are, your body can do more reps even if your brain is telling you to quit. Of course, listen to your body if you are in abnormal pain.
- Timed Sets
Instead of performing 2 sets of 12, set a timer for a set time and perform as many reps as you can. If you’re just beginning, set the timer for 30 seconds and slowly work your way up to 60 seconds and more.
Pausing for a few seconds before releasing the tension of the resistance band can create a greater challenge. For example, pause before you begin pressing upward in a banded shoulder press. Or, pause right at the bottom of your squat.
Add one or two small pulses at the bottom of your movement to add a difficult dimension to your workout. For example, add a couple pulses right after you come down into a squat. Or, do half a pushup on the first rep and then lower yourself into the bottom of the position before finally pushing back up.
Don’t let the band pull your arm, leg, etc into the bottom position of a rep. Focus intently on controlling the movement instead.
Resistance bands an amazing tool to increase the strength of your muscles and increase flexibility. They’re a great addition for a head-to-toe sculpting session. They’re affordable, easy to bring on vacation and require little to no additional equipment.