In my last few articles I have veered away from a principle I hold dear – anywhere workouts. I am constantly reading and searching for new ways to work out from home or at the office. This is not often easy when weights or running courses are involved. However, this week I am going to get back to my core…slightly.
Tension bands (or resistance bands, if you prefer) are a great way to work on toning and strengthening without bulky equipment and can be accomplished anywhere. They are not going to add bulk, but they are great for toning and stretching the muscles out for a full extension. An added fitness bonus is the balancing act the muscles have to do in order to complete a rep really works the supporting muscles that get ignored when doing machines.
I personally think tension bands are ideal for taking in my work backpack and doing a set here and there. I rarely do a “tension band work out.” So here are a few exercises in which I feel have some solid merit:
Standing double curl – Lay the band out on the floor and stand with feet about should width apart and centered on the band. Then grab each end in each hand and stand up straight. Some people like to use bands with handles; however, I just wrap them around my hands and grip tightly. Then do a bicep curl with both hands at the same time. Concentrate on keeping your elbows tucked into your ribs and control the bands. For more tension, do another wrap or two around the hands.
Concentration curls – This requires a chair. Sit down on the edge of a chair and position the band in front of you on the ground. Place your left heel firmly in the center of the band and grab the other end with your left hand. Place your left elbow on your left knee and then angle your arm about 45 degrees to the front (imagine resting both elbows on both knees and then touching hands; that is the angle you want). Then curl away and switch to get both arms. This exercise is a lot easier with hand grips, but I still manage just fine.
Tricep extensions – This is a fairly simple one. Stand up straight and wrap the band around your right hand. Then, take that hand and put your palm on the back of your head allowing the remainder of the band to fall behind you. With your left hand grab the band firmly around your glute area and extend your right hand and arm straight towards the ceiling. Then switch.
I do each exercise for 10-12 reps and usually one set of each at a time while on a break.