How to Use Resistance Bands to Strengthen and Tone Muscles
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Lifting weights is not the only way to strengthen and tone your muscles. Resistance bands are an inexpensive and convenient tool that you can use for a challenging and effective workout.
Learn how to reinvigorate your exercise routine with resistance bands – targeting everything from arms to legs.
Many people feel overwhelmed using weights at a gym. Resistance bands are versatile and light-weight fitness tool, making it possible to work out wherever you are.
If you are looking to incorporate strength training into your daily fitness routine, resistance bands are a great starting point. American College of Sports Medicine recommends dedicating at least two days a week to strength training, so that you can strengthen your muscles and maintain or improve your bone mass.
Resistance bands allow you to train all of the major muscle groups, allowing you to customize your workout with one piece of equipment. Focus on upper body one day and lower body the next – the options are limitless. Once you build a strong foundation, you can shorten the resistance band to increase resistance. As a rule of thumb, the shorter you adjust your band, the more difficult the resistance will be. You have the ability to make your workout as hard or as easy as your desire.
Whether you are at the office, on vacation or watching TV, you are one resistance band workout away from a stronger you. Grab your band and try these simple moves to kick-start your resistance band training:
Chest Press – This exercise is for the chest (pectoral muscles). Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Place band around your back and under your armpits and wrap it around the palms of your hands. Hands and elbows should remain at shoulder height; elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Bring hands together out in front of your chest. Then, return to starting position.
Side Raise – This exercise is for the shoulders (deltoid muscles). Wrap the ends of the band around both hands. Place left palm on lower abdomen. Keeping right elbow slightly bent, raise right arm out to the side about shoulder height. Keep palm facing toward the floor. Slowly lower and repeat for the left arm.
Seated Leg Extension – This exercise is for the quadriceps. Sit on the edge of a chair and maintain the natural arch in your back. Place band around ankles and tie in a loose knot. Keeping your left foot on the floor, extend your right leg out in front slowly, then back to the starting position. Repeat for other leg.
Eight to twelve repetitions of each exercise is recommended to improve strength in most adults. Ten to fifteen repetitions is effective in improving strength in middle aged and older adults just starting an exercise routine.
Avoid rushing through the exercises – practice your technique so that every move counts.
Think about your posture – stabilize your core to improve your performance.
Listen to your body – if a move does not feel right, make adjustments and focus on other areas of your body as needed.
Remember to breathe – it is key for a successful workout.
Resistance bands are sold in most fitness-related stores. Depending on your personal fitness level, there are resistance bands in varying tensions based on which color band you use in your workout. If you choose to purchase only one band, select a resistance that will challenge you. If you choose two bands, opt for one with a medium resistance and one that is harder. Then, you can vary the bands depending on the muscle group you are working. If you are a Cooper Fitness Center member, visit our one-stop shop, The Coop, to purchase a resistance band.
For more information about Cooper Wellness or to register for a program, follow the link or call 972.386.4777.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.