Few workout tools beat the efficiency of the multitasking resistance band, which costs under 20 bucks and takes up less space in your bag than an iPod. "Plus, it works your muscles at a full range of motion, targeting parts that are often missed by free weights," says Hannah Davis, a personal trainer at Club H Fitness in New York City (bodybyhannah.com), who created the routine below.
Do this workout as a circuit: Complete 10 to 12 reps of each move without resting between the exercises. Rest for 30 seconds, then return to start and repeat. Do three sets per session up to five days a week.
For this workout, Davis recommends using a set of resistance bands like the Thera-Band Latex-Free 3-Pack, which comes with three bands in varying levels of resistance. $11 and up, protherapysupplies.com
1. CURTSY LUNGE AND SWORD DRAW
Hold one end of the band in your right hand, the other under your right foot. Cross your left leg behind you and drop into a curtsy lunge. Lift your right elbow diagonally, fist in front of your shoulder (a). Without moving your upper arm, raise your fist (b). Pause, then slowly lower to start. That's one rep. Do 10 to 12.
2. SEATED ROW
Sit on the floor with your legs straight and loop the resistance band securely around your feet, holding an end in each hand, arms extended in front of you (a). Keep your back straight and shoulders square. Tuck your elbows close to your sides as you pull the band to each side of your torso, squeezing your shoulder blades together (b). Pause, then slowly return to start. That's one rep. Do 10 to 12.