Unlike most gym instruments resistance bands are portable and affordable at the same time. But are they as effective as fancy gym equipment? Most people assume that these elastic bands might not be half as effective as expensive gym instruments. But according to Shamsher Rana, fitness instructor at Next Step Fitness and Training Center in Lazimpat, Kathmandu, the truth is that resistance band can help you attain a better range of strength and provide you with a complete exercise. The Week caught up with Rana to understand some basics of resistance training and help you make the most out of it.
Remember when you pick up a resistance band it should be right for your bodily strength and the exercise you are going to perform. The bands are often color coded according to how much resistance they have. Darker colors are usually harder. “If you are new to this band, always perform your exercises under expert supervision,” says Rana. So, here are a few exercises that will help you shape your entire body and they can be done at home, at the gym, or even at your hotel room when you are on a vacation. The only thing you will need is a resistance band in you handbag.
Lunge and row
To perform this exercise, you must first stand stretching your right leg forward and keep the heel of your left leg lifted. Then fold the band in half and stretch your hands in front of your chest keeping them parallel to the ground. Make sure your palms are facing the ground.
The next step is to bend your elbows as you stretch the resistance band. When you stretch, rotate your torso towards your right and lunge down. Get back to your original position and repeat this exercise, 10 times on each side. This exercise will tone and strengthen your upper back, abs, butt and legs.
Stand erect while making sure your toes are turned slightly out. Fold your resistance band and step your right foot out to the side. Bend your knees and lower your body into a pile squat position. Stretch your band in front of your chest, making sure your elbows are bent and are placed slightly above your upper thighs. Get back to your original position and stretch your hands above your head. Perform this exercise 10 times stretching your left leg and the other 10 times stretching your right leg. This exercise is good for your inner thighs, hips, back and arms.
Stretch the band across your upper back as you bend down to do pushups. Hold the ends of your band under each palm. Make sure your feet are together. And do at least 15 pushups in a row. If you are unable to do a full pushup, let your knees touch the ground and do a half pushup. In order to get more resistance, shorten the resistance band by holding more of it under your hands. This exercise helps you in sculpting your back, arms, and chest.
Front lunge press
For this exercise, you must clutch both ends of your band evenly. Then hold the center of this band to the ground by pressing it with your left foot. The next step is to lunge your right leg forward as you bend down. Stretch your arms out in front of your chest. Then bend your elbows placing them next to your waist. You must perform this exercise 20 times, the first 10 times with your right leg forward and the next 10 times with your left leg forward. This exercise can help strengthen and tone your biceps, legs, shoulders, and chest.
Sit down on a yoga mat or on a soft surface and bend your knees slightly. Loop the resistance band around your feet. Then bend your elbows and let your back muscles help you stretch the band.
The next step is to feel the resistance on your core muscles and bend forward. And stretch both your arms behind your body and stay in this position for about 10 seconds. In order to get more resistance, you can lower your hold on the band. This exercise is beneficial for your triceps, abs, and upper back.
Kick and pull
Lie down with your face up and bend your knees. While you are lying down make sure only your heels are in contact with the floor. Your toes must be facing upwards. Then, loop the resistance band around your right foot and hold the ends of the band with your hands facing upwards.
Stretch your right leg up in the air (about 45 degrees) and lift your hips off the ground. After a few seconds, let your hips touch the ground and get your arms back in starting position. You must perform this exercise 10 times with your left leg and 10 times with the right.