Whatever your reason for avoiding the gym (contracts with sneaky fees, intimidating members who are far too enthusiastic about fitness, or just not enough time in the day to get there), just because it’s not your scene doesn’t mean you’re excused from exercising.
This especially holds true for strength training, which when incorporated into your exercise routine will help you maintain muscle mass, prevent osteoporosis, and even decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease by reducing your body fat percentage and lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Plus, because strength training is an effective means of reducing body fat it’s an essential mode of exercise for anyone with weight loss goals.
But you have no gym membership and your plans to build that state of the art home gym
were completely unrealistic totally fell through. That’s not a problem, though. You can get a great strength workout right in the comfort of your own home with nothing else besides a pair of resistance bands.
Resistance bands offer all of the same benefits as lifting weights but they’re much more affordable than a monthly gym membership or other forms of fancy home equipment. In fact, even Olympic athletes like alpine skier Bode Miller have been known to brag about the benefits of resistance training.
Miller recently signed on to endorse the ReXist 360 Training system sharing that he finds resistance training to be the most beneficial type of cross training because it helps to build functional strength and addresses flexibility, which helps protect against injuries.
A few other bonuses that come along with resistance band training include:
- Increased Coordination: Because resistance bands hold tension throughout the entire movement of an exercise, more stabilization and balance is required
- Easy Storage and Packing: Meaning, they make an essential addition to every home gym (even if they’re the only piece of equipment) and even if you’re on-the-go you have no excuse not to exercise.
- They Come with Handy Accessories: Many resistance systems come with accessories like simple door anchors and ankle attachments which make it easy to incorporate a variety of different exercises in your routine so you can continue to progress forward and grow stronger.
- They’re Adaptable for all Fitness Levels: Because there are so many different exercises you can do with resistance bands and they often come with different levels of tension, they’re an effective training tool for everyone from elite athletes to first-time exercisers.
Ready to start strength training at home? Try the total body circuit workout below.
Equipment Needed: Resistance band (Hopefully that was obvious.)
Repeat the circuit 3-4 times, perform 15-20 reps of each exercise. (It’s highly recommended that you wear sneakers while working with resistance bands because more often than not you’ll need to place the rubber tube beneath your feet.)
1. Squat with Shoulder Press
Place the middle of the resistance band underneath the arches of your feet and stand with feet about hip-width distance apart while holding one handle in each hand, palms facing forward. Keep your core tight as you sit back into your heels and squat down. Make sure that your knees form a 90 degree angle and that your thighs stay parallel to the floor. As you stand back up press your arms toward the ceiling to perform the shoulder press and follow your arms all the way through until you return to full standing position. Repeat this sequence for 15-20 reps.
2. Lateral Walk with Bicep Curls
Stand with feet hip-width distance apart and the middle of the resistance band underneath the arches of your feet while holding one handle in each hand, palms facing upward. Forearms should be parallel to the floor and there should be tension in the band as you walk your right leg out to the side and then move your left leg inward to follow. Perform one full bicep curl by lowering your arms towards the floor and then curling them up towards your shoulders. (Be sure to keep your elbows close to your sides.) Return your arms to the midway position so that your forearms are parallel to the floor and there’s tension in the band before taking another step to the right. Repeat this "step then curl" sequence for 10 reps while moving to the right before repeating the same sequence for 10 reps to the left.
3. Stationary Lunge with Lateral Raise
Stand with the middle of the resistance band underneath the arch of your right foot while holding one handle in each hand, palms facing downward. Lunge your left leg back so that both of your knees form a 90 degree angle and your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Spread your arms out to the side as to from a “T.” Pulse up and down with your legs, lowering your arms to your sides as you lower your legs towards the ground and raising them up so that they’re parallel to the ground as you rise back up with your legs. Repeat for 15-20 reps.
4. Plié Squat with Upright Row
Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width distance apart and your feet pointing slightly outward (think of a ballerina doing a plié) and the middle of the resistance band underneath the arches of your feet. Hold one handle in each hand, fists facing towards the floor. Sit back into your heels as you squat down. As you start to return to the standing position, row your arms upward: keep your fists facing the ground and a 90 degree bend in your elbows as you draw your hands up towards your chin. Lower your hands back towards the floor as you start to squat again and repeat the sequence for 15-20 reps.
5. Standing Woodchop
Stand with the middle of the resistance band underneath your right forefoot and hold only one handle with both of your hands (the other handle should be on the floor) and your torso slightly turned to the right. Start to lift your arms up over your head to the left as you twist your torso in the same direction until you can no longer extend the band any further. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 15-20 reps on the right side before repeating the sequence on your left.
6. Flutter Kicks
Lie down on a mat or soft surface. Carefully place your feet in the handles making sure that they are secured underneath the arches of your feet. Hold the middle of the resistance band and lie down flat on your back. Grip the band in your hands so that there is a slight amount of tension. Raise your legs about 1 to 2 inches above the ground and keep them straight as you kick your feet up and down for 30 to 60 seconds.
Related: 5 Reasons to Try a New Exercise