I have long since championed the humble exercise band, which is a piece of equipment you can use anywhere. Here are five exercises using one that I have developed that will leave you pumped and perspiring.
Your whole body will be worked out and feeling fantastic by the time you finish these bad boys. Try and do as many repetitions as you can in one minute. Remember, when you hit that point of failure when your muscles are burning from fatigue, that is when results happen. Our pain really is weakness leaving the body. Oh, and when you are using an exercise band, take control of that little piece of rubber and control your movements at all times. Don’t let it pull you around, you be the boss of the band!
All photos courtesy Robin J. Hall.
We (as in me and soon to be you) love this exercise because it hits our back while at the same time, our core gets a good going over. But wait, there’s more! Your legs and booty also get a good burn as you are often on one leg, which is supporting your entire body weight as you alternate lifting your knee high up your chest. Are you excited? I know, it is exciting, isn’t it!
First, hang your band over a high fence. If you are at home, you can set up your band high up in a door frame (all bands come with a piece of equipment, a door attachment, that allows you to fix your band in a door frame.)
Then, pull back your elbows in a rowing motion while lifting your knee high up your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat raising the other leg.
Stand at such a distance where pulling the band back in a rowing motion takes some hard work. You should describe it as “difficult.” Your back is a massive muscle group and loves this hard work. So go on, put your back into it, literally and most definitely figuratively! Squeeze your shoulder blades together like you want to crush an aluminum can that sits on your upper back. Be aggressive! Let out your rage (I can tell you’re a very angry person!)
Make sure you lift that knee as high as you can! Feel your tummy contract tightly as you lift it high up your body. Notice how your supporting leg and butt cheek are working overtime when they are supporting all your weight and controlling all the movement. And remember, you are a rock star, so rock it out!
Whenever you leave the ground, even for just a split second, your body is exerting a lot of power. It takes a lot of energy to get airborne! We love this why? Your heart rate increases rapidly, and you start burning calories fast! Add to this work a double punch (think of it as an aggressive bench-press motion), and you have a vigorous full-body blast that will get your whole body burning. You should struggle to speak after you finish this minute!
I want you to jump off the ground.
As you launch yourself up, launch your fists out at the same time. So, as your feet come off the ground, your hands are extended.
Return to the starting position and jump and punch again. Make it quick and rapid. I want you to feel breathless by the end of a minute. When you challenge your heart and lungs, when you start breathing heavy, your cardio gets stronger. You do want a strong healthy heart, don’t you? Fight for it with this exercise. Think of The Corrs when you do this, you know, it should leave you breathless.
With this combo, you work your guns and your buns. Ladies, don’t worry, you will not get buff and bulky arms from this. We are doing so many repetitions in a minute that your arms will get toned, and by toned I mean excellent definition. Like Michelle Obama’s arms, lean and mean. Boys, you will get definition and cuts the faster and more intense you work. Not like Barack Obama’s arms, more muscular like mine. So, go for it!
Set yourself up in a lunge position with your elbows out and up. Think of them stuck to a train track. You are going to keep that knee just a few inches off the ground and pulse it up and down within a 6-inch range of motion. Stay low! You love the burn. You will be doing lunges for the rest of your life, fall in love with them now.
Remember to keep your knee behind your toes in the lunge position. If your knee sneaks out over your toes, it puts too much stress on your knee. Be paranoid about your knees, they really are out to get you.
As you pulse down with your knee, start to pull in your fists towards your shoulders.
Squeeze those biceps in as you curl and dip that knee. You want your arms and legs to glow from a minute of hard work. Repeat on the other side in the opposite lunge position. Summer is here folks! Sun’s out guns out!
Here you are going to be throwing straight rights and lefts using the band for extra resistance. Remember, you are the boss of the band, control that little tube of rubber the whole time. Keep the resistance hard, and make each punch count.
As you are punching, I want you to be running. Be quick with your feet like you are sprinting in place while going crazy in a boxing ring. Imagine your are running through a crowd of everyone who has ever done anything wrong to you. Destroy them and keep on keeping on. Actually that is a bit dramatic, but you have to admit, punching is strangely cathartic.
You are running on the spot and punching back and forth. This takes a tremendous amount of energy. Rock it out. I don’t want for you to be able to talk after doing this for just one minute. Don’t hold back!
This is such a great exercise for your butt. Because your legs are stiff and working the whole time, you will feel those glutes. Your arms are gonna be on fire, too, which as they say is a win-win!
Stand on the band with your feet slightly wider than hip-width.
Take a small, stiff leg shuffle to your right. Keep the tension on your legs the whole time. Do not let your feet move any closer together than a hip-width. We want to keep the muscles in an isometric contraction, like in a wall squat. They are stiff and locked in a contraction the whole time.
As you shuffle to one side, I want you to give me alternate bicep curls. Do one minute in one direction, and then shuffle back the other direction, again for a full minute. You think this looks easy? Try it!
Robin J. Hall is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.