Gone are the days when the only option for toning muscles involved heavy weights, expensive personal trainers and crowded classes. With a resistance band you can exercise in any location, at any level, increasing muscle tone and flexibility at your own pace in your own time.
Smart tip: When seated, make sure you sit upright, spine in neutral and lengthen through the spine from your tailbone to the top of your head.
Fast Facts about resistance training
- Resistance bands were initially used for the rehabilitation of injuries, but have become more mainstream and popular as an exercise tool in the past 30 years.
- Although an incredibly simple tool, resistance bands are very effective at working muscles, boosting stamina and improving flexibility and range of motion.
- It’s not a good idea to lift weights without an exercise buddy, but these bands can be easily used on your own. When in doubt, though, check with an expert.
- Resistance bands come in different strengths, according to fitness and ability. It is easy to up the intensity of your workout as your strength increases.
For a simple yet effective workout click on the images below for step-by-step instructions to increase muscle tone and flexibility.
While holding on to both ends of the band, lie flat on your back on the floor, making sure your hips are flat. Wrap the middle of the band around the soles of your feet and raise either
one or both legs. Keep your hips pressing into the floor and your leg/s straight as you pull your leg/s towards you until you feel the stretch. Keep your arms straight. To change the impact of the stretch, point and flex your feet.
You will feel this stretch through the entire back of the legs and particularly in the calf and hamstring muscles. Over time as your flexibility increases, you will be able to bring your legs closer to your torso.
Lie on your back and loop
the band around the ball of one of your feet. Lean back onto your elbows while keeping hold of both ends of the band. Stretch your leg out straight and, while making sure to keep both hips flat on the floor and your elbows firmly planted, allow your leg to gently open up to the side.
Hold this position
and then point and flex
at the ankle 10 times. You should feel the stretch through the inner thigh and groin area.
Over time, you will be able to add more resistance to the stretch by pulling tighter on the band and pushing your foot more strongly against it.
Begin by seating yourself in a comfortable cross-legged position on the floor with about two-thirds of the exercise band under your seat. Grab the remaining exercise band in one hand and pull it up over your head with a straight arm. Place your other hand out to the side on the ground with
your palm facing upwards. Lean and stretch your
body towards your oustretched palm.
This stretch will provide flexibility through the side of your body, including the obliques (side stomach muscles) and latissimus dorsi (broadest muscle of the back), and through the muscles in your arm, including your triceps.
This looks like you are taking a seat, but don’t get too comfortable. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you and the exercise band wrapped around the balls of your feet. Grab the band with both hands, arms extended and palms facing each other. Lean back into a C-curve, making sure to engage the stomach muscles so as to protect the back. Bend at the elbow and pull the band toward your core, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions.
This exercise will work the large muscle of your back as well as the smaller muscles of your arms.