It’s so simple that some of us might have forgotten about it as a workout option. Yet the humble resistance band can be used to target virtually every muscle on your body. Compact enough to toss into your suitcase or gym bag, the resistance band provides all-over strength training and a nearly infinite number of variations. Use just your own body and the tension in the bands for resistance, or clip the handles to a sturdy doorway.
As with any workout gear, variations abound for resistance band selections. For beginners, it helps to remember that lighter colors offer less resistance, starting with yellow and ending with the more challenging black. (Of course, also check the label to make sure the manufacturer is following this traditional system.)
In addition, you may notice a bewildering number of options in terms of the handles and basic shape. A compact resistance band with plastic handles is a good, versatile choice for the beginner, because it can be used for a range of upper and lower workouts. This type also allows you to grasp them with your hands for arm and shoulder maneuvers, or to hook it over your feet when working hips, legs,and glutes.
As with other forms of strength training, it’s wise to break your workouts into different days — “arms day,” “legs day,” etc. If you become a devotee to working out with resistance bands, you may opt to graduate to a figure-8 style for upper body moves, and a ring-resistance model for lower body workouts.
Upper Body Workout
One classic move for the biceps is to stand on top of the center of the band, holding the ends’ handles with both hands. Bend your elbows to bring the handles up to shoulder height. For triceps, hold one end of the band at chest level, and with your opposite hand “kick” your arm behind you.
Lower Body Workout
To tone your legs, glutes and hips in one move, secure the band just above both knees. Bend forward slightly, and walk sideways 10 steps to the right, then left. You can emphasize different muscles by moving the band lower or higher on your legs.