Tight, taut, flexed – we’re talking about this stretchy workout wonder and your muscles if you know how to use it properly
Get a full-body sweat sesh out of a resistance band
Feeling tense? Not as much as the rubber band you’re striving to pull up over your head as you lunge, which is exactly why working out with a resistance band has such great and varied payoffs for your body. ‘This piece of kit challenges muscle endurance and sculpts toned limbs,’ says Abi Dewberry, master trainer at Best’s Bootcamp, London. ‘Using just one band in a state of tension, these five exercises will put all your major muscle groups to work.’ How? By making you struggle against the band while it’s stretched – shaking limbs galore – which works deeper into your muscles to activate what’s already there and build more of the same. It may be small, but you’ll feel the burn.
1 DEADLIFT WITH BENT-OVER ROW Targets: Back, glutes, hamstrings
(a) Stand on the middle of the band, feet hip-width apart, and hold the ends, wrapping any excess around your hands so it’s taut. Keeping your back and your arms straight, slightly bend your knees and fold forward at the hips, sticking your bum back and out, until your hands are at shin height.
(b) From here, pull your elbows up high, keeping them tucked into your body and ending with your hands at waist height. Slowly lower your hands back down, return to the starting position and repeat.
2 LATERAL RAISE Targets: Deltoids, obliques
(a) Start holding one end of the band in your right hand and standing on the other end, with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
(b) Keeping your back straight, use your core and obliques to lift your right arm straight out to the side until it reaches shoulder height. Then slowly lower.
BENT-OVER TRICEP KICK-BACK Targets: Triceps, lower back, core
(a) Stand on the band, feet wider than hip-width apart, and hold the ends. Slightly bend your knees and hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight, until your hands are at shin height. Pull your arms back so your hands are next to your hips. This is your starting position.
(b) Keeping your upper arms still, straighten your arms without locking your elbows. Now reverse back to the starting position with control, and repeat.
BICEP CURL Targets: Biceps
(a) Stand on the middle of the band, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Hold the ends of the band, wrapping any excess around your hands to make it taut. Keep your back straight and your arms by your sides.
(b) Curl your arms up, bringing your fists to your shoulders, then slowly lower your arms all the way back down. Keep your elbows tucked into your body throughout and don’t let your shoulders roll forward. Repeat.
OVERHEAD BACKWARDS LUNGE Targets: Full body
(a) Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with your left foot on the middle of the band. Holding the ends in each hand, extend your arms straight above your head.
(b) Step back into a lunge with the right leg, so your right knee is just above the floor and your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Reset to standing, keeping your hands above your head throughout.