I know what you’re thinking… “Matt, I lift free weights – heavy ones at that. Why would I do or even consider a resistance band workout?” Well, for many reasons actually. People like to downplay a resistance band workout or utilizing resistance band exercises in their training as if it’s worthless – it’s not. And this article is going to show you why and how to utilize this strategy.
Why YOU Should Use a Resistance Band Workout
There are many reasons you should implement resistance bands into your training program. The first could be because you are strapped for time and can’t make it to the gym or you’re at home and the weather outside doesn’t make it ideal for traveling to the gym. Rather than completely skipping your workout, you can utilize resistance band exercises to stimulate muscle fibers. Additionally, resistance bands (even as a set) is extremely compact to the point where you can pack it in your suitcase and take it with you on business trips or vacations. You have no excuses when you have resistance bands.
Now, be realistic with your expectations here. You’re not going to have 315 pounds of resistance like you would on a bench press with three wheels on each side. So, simmer down He-Man. What you are able to do is get an amazing squeeze out of each rep of your resistance band exercises and completely exhaust the muscle and feel a deep burn in the tissue. Some resistance band companies sell their products as a set that includes various resistance bands as well as attachments. This allows you to hit your entire body in the privacy of your own home. If I were to make one suggestion, it would be to find a brand (like Bodylastics) and purchase one of their complete sets based off of your strength level and needs/goals.
Something else to think about is the constant tension you get from resistance band exercises. If you think about it, there is constant tension on the muscle at all times pushing and pulling on a muscle where you won’t have the ability to “rest” or “relax” during an exercise. While you may not be utilizing the same weight you use in the gym, a resistance band workout is more than enough to help stimulate muscle growth and help you achieve your fitness and physique goals.
Resistance Band Exercises
To start off, let’s look at all of the different resistance band exercises you can do at home.
· Twisting Crunch
· Trunk Rotation
· Side Bend
· Various Grip Pull-Down
· Back Fly
· Straight-Arm Pushdown
· Chest Press
· Incline Press
· Decline Press
· Chest Fly
· Leg Extension
· Leg Curl
· Calf Raise
· Shoulder Press
· Side Lateral
· Front Lateral
· Bent-Over Rear Lateral
· Upright Row
· Biceps Curl
· Concentration Curl
· Hammer Curl
· Triceps Kickback
· Triceps Pushdown
· Triceps Extension
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. You can get creative with your exercise variations as well. But, as you can see, you can utilize a variety of resistance band exercises to compile a complete resistance band workout.
The At-Home Resistance Band Workout
For the resistance band workout I’m providing below, complete one exercise after the other without resting in between until you reach the end, then allow yourself a 45-60 second rest period before starting over again. This style of training is called a “circuit.” It’s where you are continuously moving from one exercise to the next with no rest in between to keep your heart rate elevated and help you burn more calories during your workout.
For each of the resistance band exercises, complete 10-15 repetitions. Complete anywhere from two to four complete circuits based on your current fitness level. Push yourself each workout to achieve more reps or more total circuits. While the program is fairly basic (to allow all fitness levels to utilize it), you can make it more challenging by slowing down your reps to increase the time-under-tension.
*As with any exercise or nutrition plan, it is advised that you consult with your doctor prior to ensure you are healthy enough to engage in such a program.
To complete the resistance band workout, the only thing you will need is enough room in your home to complete the exercises safely, as well as your resistance band(s).
Leave a minimum of one day’s rest in between your resistance band workout to allow your body to properly rest and recover. So, for instance, if you do a workout on Monday, wait until Wednesday at the earliest to complete the workout again (this is assuming you are following the exact full-body workout shown below). Cardio, on the other hand, can be completed each day (seven days a week) if you wish to do so.
Warm-up before beginning each workout by engaging in some low-intensity cardio such as jumping jacks or walking up and down the stairs for five minutes to get the blood pumping and help get the muscles warmed up. Once your warm-up is completed, you can move ahead with the workout below.
If you intend on doing cardio the same time you plan on doing your resistance band workout, complete your cardio AFTER you are completely done with your resistance training.
Below are the exercises along with how many reps you should do of each.
Squat 10-15 Deadlift 10-15 Calf Raise 10-15 Pull-Down 10-15 Row 10-15 Chest Press 10-15 Chest Fly 10-15 Shoulder Press 10-15 Side Lateral 10-15 Triceps Pushdown 10-15 Biceps Curl 10-15 Crunch 10-15 Side Bend 10-15
Matt Weik, owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. His work has been featured all over the globe as well as having published numerous books. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. Find out more at www.weikfitness.com or on social media @weikfitness.