Monday, 20 July 2015

Resistance Loop Workout

A resistance band loop or mini band is one of the smallest pieces of exercise equipment you can buy and at around £4 it could be one of the cheapest too. But don't underestimate this little bit of kit, it can be incredibly versatile for strength work and I love using it with my PT clients as an alternative to some more traditional exercises and to really focus on the stabilising muscles.

It's probably most commonly used to improve leg strength but it can be used for some upper body exercises too. Here's a mini workout using a selection of exercises to give you some inspiration. To get the most benefit from these exercises always control the movement, whether you're increasing the tension in the band or returning to the start position. Try not to let the band "snap" you back.

Lower Body

Box Step
Place the band around your ankles.
Step the box 5 times leading with your right leg, and 5 times leading with your left leg.
Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings

The following exercises all require the band to be placed around the mid thigh.
Crab Walk
Start with feet together and knees slightly bent, take a big step to the right. With control, step the left foot to meet the right and repeat.
Try 2-3 rounds of 5 steps to the right and 5 steps to the left.
Targets: hip stabilisers

Running Man
From a standing position, jump the legs apart, one forwards and one backwards, into a very shallow lunge. Jump again to land the feet in the opposite positions. Repeat 10 times.
Targets: all major muscles in the lower body

Standing Glute Squeeze
Take your weight onto one leg, keeping a slight bend in the supporting leg. Squeeze your other leg backwards to increase the tension in the band. Hold briefly and return to the start position. Repeat 10 times with one leg, then swap over.
A more challenging alternative is to squeeze the leg up/back while holding a plank pose!
Targets: glutes

Lying Leg Raise
Lie on your back with legs flat on the floor. Keeping it straight, raise one leg off the floor to increase the tension in the band. Hold briefly and return to the start position. Repeat 10 times on one side, then switch legs.
Try not to use your hands to press into the floor.
Targets: quads

Upper Body

Bear Crawl
Place the band around your wrists, crouch down and place your hands on the floor about shoulder width apart. Keeping your weight mostly over your wrists, crawl forwards on hands and toes (not knees). Try 2-3 rounds of crawling for 30 seconds, resting for 30 seconds. Yes this does look silly but it's very effective.
Targets: triceps, deltoids, pectorals
Hold the band in both hands, arms by your sides but elbows bent to 90 degrees. Lift the upper arms away from the sides of your body, aiming to reach shoulder height. Keep the 90 degree bend in the elbows. Return to start position with control. Repeat 10 times.
Targets: deltoid & rotator cuff

Enjoy! You can find resistance loops on Amazon and in good sports stores.

Do you use one of these in your workouts? Any favourite exercises I haven't included here?

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