If you are looking for a great piece of compact and effective workout equipment, give resistance bands a try! Resistance bands are small enough that you can easily use them at home, in the office or even take them with you while traveling. They provide an effective strength-training workout in a short amount of time and can target many different muscle groups.
If you’ve never used resistance bands, there are a few things you should know before getting started. First, there are many different types of resistance bands and it’s important to select the right fitness band for your needs. Here are some band types and their purpose:
- Therapy bands are often used in rehabilitation exercises and are flat bands without handles.
- Fit loop bands are like a large elastic rubber band; they form a single loop and are great for working out the muscles in the lower body.
- Clip-tube resistance bands are tubular shaped bands of elastic and have handles that are attached by a clip. The bands can be used with or without the handles, depending on your preference. These types of resistance bands are great for full-body resistance training.
- Compact or fit tube resistance bands have the plastic handles already attached, and are better for upper body training.
Resistance bands are available in a variety of tension levels so that you can select the band most appropriate for your strength and fitness. It also means that you can increase the resistance that you are working with as you get stronger.
Many brands have color-coded their resistance bands to make identifying them easier:
- Light resistance: yellow and red bands
- Medium resistance: green bands
- Heavy resistance: blue and black bands
Unless you have been working out for a long time or have experience with these types of bands, start with the lightest resistance and increase slowly.
One important thing to keep in mind is that resistance bands work differently than free weights. Your muscles are working throughout the entire movement because of the need to keep tension in the band. Performing each exercise and motion slowly and deliberately is a must in order to prevent injury and get the most out of the workout.
Resistance bands can help you get a great lower leg workout in a fairly short amount of time. The bands engage multiple muscles with each movement so you can get more accomplished with fewer exercises. Here are 7 resistance band workouts that you can do for your lower body:
- Lateral band walks: Place a mini loop band around your ankles and stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. While maintaining tension in the band, take a small step to the side with your right foot. Follow with the left foot so that your feet are hip-width apart again. Repeat for a total of 3 steps to the right, and then take 3 steps back to the left. Take these steps from side to side to complete your repetitions.
- Overhead triceps extension: Sit down on a chair or weight bench and place the center of a resistance band under the glutes and grasp the handles. Stretch the arms so that your hands are next to your neck with the elbows bent. Turn your hands so that your palms are facing the ceiling and extend the arms upward until the arms are completely straight. Slowly lower the arms back down and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
- Clamshells: Lie on your side with a mini loop exercise band placed around your thighs, just above your knees. Keep your head resting on your bottom arm/hand. Bring your feet to hip level, if possible, and keep your knees on the floor. Lift your top knee, while keeping your bottom knee on the floor and your feet together. Lower the top knee back down and repeat. This is one rep. Repeat the desired number of times and then switch sides.
- Banded pushup: Get into modified pushup position with your knees on the floor and place a tubular resistance band over your shoulders and under your armpits. Perform a pushup; you’ll feel greater resistance working against the band.
- Reverse fly: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a flat resistance band in your hands with your palms facing down and the band in front of your chest at shoulder height. Slowly pull your hands apart so that your arms form a “T” with the rest of your body and then bring your arms back together in front of you. Repeat.
- Balancing leg extension: This exercise uses a clip-loop tube resistance band. Begin by standing on the band with both feet hip-width apart. You should be holding the ends of the band in your hands at your side. Cross the ends of the band in front of you, forming an X, and hold the ends at your hip. Shift so that you are balancing on one leg and lift the other leg out to your side. Slowly move that leg in small pulses out and back. Use your core and the leg you are standing on to maintain your balance. Once you have completed the desired number of reps on the first leg, put your leg down and shift to the other side.
- Squats: This exercise uses a mini loop band that fits around your legs, just above the knees. Begin the exercise by standing with your legs shoulder-width apart. Go into a traditional squat, with your knees pushing against the resistance band. Make sure to keep your knees above your ankles and drop your hips back as though you were sitting in a chair. Return to standing and repeat.
If you’re ready to give resistance bands a try, check out the Bionic Body line at MarcyPro. In addition to traditional resistance bands, Marcy offers high quality and durable ankle and wrist straps that will snap onto any Bionic resistance band, giving you full control throughout your entire workout. Get in touch with MarcyPro to learn more today!