The Key to a Proper Resistance Band Workout
When most people think of resistance band training, they think of a few common exercises, when there are actually so many more exercises out there that you can piece together an entire workout!
The great thing about resistance bands is portability. You have your very own traveling gym wherever you go. Whether you're out of town, or you were busy that day and couldn't make it to the gym before closing, resistance bands can make sure you don't miss that workout.
There are a few different categories of exercises that can be performed with bands:
- Push: These mainly work the chest, shoulders and triceps. Some variations include banded push-ups, banded floor presses, overhead presses, and squat-to-presses.
- Pull: These focus on the middle and upper back as well as the biceps and forearms. These can include include bent-over rows, alternating bent-over rows, RDL-to-row combos, shrugs, half-kneeling lat pull-downs, face pulls, and half-kneeling face pulls.
- Hinge: These exercises primarily work your hamstrings, glutes, and back, or more well known as your posterior chain. These exercises include Romanian deadlifts, good mornings, sumo deadlifts, and single-leg deadlifts.
- Squat: These exercise will primarily work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. This include squats, reverse lunges, and knee-dominant deadlifts (similar to a trap bar).
- Other: These hit the beach muscles like the shoulders, biceps, and core, but also smaller muscles like the rear delts and rotator-cuff muscles. Examples include front-raise variations, band pull-aparts, curl variations, pull-down crunches, and for your glutes, kickbacks and clamshells.
All of these exercises are great, but not on their own. Pairing these exercises with proper form and some workout routine variations can make for a super tough workout! Some key elements to making any resistance band workout more strenuous are:
1. TIMED SETS
Rather than performing your traditional 3 sets of 10, perform uncounted repetitions in a specific time frame. I recommend starting out at 30 seconds per set, performing the exercise continuously, and working your way up to a longer and longer work time vs rest time.
2. PAUSED REPS
Adding a pause at specific places during your repetition can yield a new muscle stimulus that challenges the mind and body. Consider pausing just after transitioning intont the positive (concentric) portion of the repetition, such as a few inches after you begin pressing upward in a banded shoulder press. Or, pause right at the sticking point, such as at the bottom of your squat.
3. ONE-AND-A-HALF REPS
Adding a small "pulse" to the bottom of the movement makes it surprisingly hard. For example, when completing a push-up, only come halfway up on your first rep, then lower yourself to the bottom position before finally pushing upward through a full range of motion. That's all one rep. These are also great for lower-body moves like squats and deadlift variations.
4. ECCENTRIC-FOCUSED REPS
Rather than letting the band pull your arm, leg, or body back into the bottom position of a rep, focus on slowly controlling the eccentric portion of the movement instead. This will increase the intensity.You can even up the weight if you would like and have a spotter help you with the concentric part of the movement and just focus mainly on the eccentric.
While getting into the gym on a daily basis is important, if you cant make it for whatever reason, make sure you always have a set of resistance bands on you at all times so that you can never miss a workout! You can also incorporate these banded movements in with free weights and machine exercises to get even more variation in your workouts.