In the original Star Wars movies Luke Skywalker insults the shape of the Millennium Falcon, calling it a “hunk of junk”. Han Solo quickly replies: “she might not look like much kid, but she’s got it where it counts.” Resistance bands, often used by physical therapists or even the ones you see in the gym, may not look like they will give you much of a workout but trust me, they’ve got it where it counts.
These elastic rubber bands are the most versatile piece of equipment you can own.
Resistance Band Pull-Aparts
One of the best exercises you can do with bands are band pull-aparts. Most of us sit at computers all day, this means our backs and shoulders are hunched over for hours on end which can weaken our muscles.
Keep a band at your desk and every hour perform a set of 20-25 band pull-aparts. Not only does this give you a break from the monotony of your computer but it will help strengthen your rear delts, which are often overlooked in the gym.
Resistance Band Face Pulls
Speaking of the rear delts, another great exercise you can use with a band are face pulls. Place the band around a pole or over a door frame slightly above your head. When you grab the band in front of you your hands should be just above eye level. Engaging your rear delts pull the band as far as you can towards your face. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Resistance Bands for Glutes
Sitting at a desk also tends to turn off your glute muscles. If you want a big squat or deadlift then you need strong glutes – plus who doesn’t want a nice shapely booty? There are two ways you can use bands to reawaken the sleeping giant, aka the glutes. Again they may not seem like much at first but you will feel these the next day.
X-Band Walks are a great way to light up your glutes, specifically, your glute medius. Stand on top of the band with your feet wider than shoulder width. While standing on a resistance band, criss-cross the band until it creates and X in front of your body. Maintain tension with the bands in your hands and slightly squat down into an athletic stance. From this position begin walking from side to side, making sure to maintain a tight tension on the bands the entire time (don’t let your feet come in beyond shoulder distance as you will lose the tension needed for this exercise). Perform 10-15 reps to the right and then to the left, repeat for 2-3 sets.
The second way to fire up your glutes is to wrap the band around your knees as you perform bodyweight hip thrusts, yes this can be done if you have gym access as well and perform barbell hip thrusts. The key here is to continue pushing the knees out which maintains tension on the band, never let the knees cave in.
Other Resistance Band Exercises
Above are some of my favorite ways to use bands but bands can be used for many of the same exercises that dumbbells and barbells are used for. Most resistance bands that you purchase will come with a small pamphlet detailing how to perform:
- Shoulder Presses
- Tricep Extensions
What makes bands so versatile is that you can take them anywhere. Most of them fit in a bag smaller than many women’s purses, they easily go through airport security, and they are cost-efficient. Bands are a great accessory for anyone in the gym. However, if you prefer to stay away from the sweaty smelly gym, bands may not look like will do much for fat burning and muscle building but trust me, they have it where it counts.