Resistance bands can give you a great, versatile workout. They're portable enough to stuff in your gym bag, briefcase or purse. They also utilize resistance training, which has many benefits over lifting actual weights, including lessening the chance of injury.
Another major advantage to resistance-band exercises is that you can overload your range of motion. With elastic bands, the force-velocity curve is different than using a machine or free weights.
So, instead of getting the same amount of resistance at all points in the range of motion, or getting the most resistance at the beginning of a rep (like pushing the bar off your chest on a bench press), elastic bands give you the most resistance at the end of a rep.
Level of Difficulty
Perhaps the greatest advantage of resistance-band exercises is that they are as challenging as you want to make them, since you can easily modify the tension.
Work on your form and loosen your muscles by doing the following exercises, with minimal tension. Choking up on the band adds resistance, which forces you to work harder but rewards you with a deeper burn.
Loosen your limbs with 50 jumping jacks and 15 bodyweight squats. Go deep with these.
Loop the elastic band around a stationary object at waist to head height. This could be a doorknob, a pull-up bar, a flagpole or a tree.
Stand in a squat with your feet shoulder-distance apart and both arms extended, holding the band with moderate tension. Without leaning back, pull the band straight toward your nose in a steady, controlled motion. Hold it in front of your face for a one-second pause, then slowly release.
Do a set of 15 and be sure to keep your elbows up and out to the sides. Adjust the resistance accordingly so that you reach fatigue without altering your form.
Banded Good Mornings
Stand on the band with both feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down and pull the top of the band over your head so it sits across your shoulders behind your neck, much like a barbell would.
Bend at the waist without letting your slightly-bent knees pass your toes, then raise your head and torso back up to a vertical position, keeping your spine straight and shoulders back the whole time. Pause for a second; slowly bend back down making sure to keep your head up.
Do a set of 15 or 20, depending on how much resistance you use. Control the resistance level by adjusting the amount of slack in the band between your feet.
Tie the band around a pull-up bar, tree branch or anything stable above your head. Stand up straight with the band hanging in front of you.
With your elbows firm at your sides, grip either side of the band with some tension on it and push both hands straight down in front of you. After pausing for a second, bring your hands back up, but not past 90 degrees, before pushing back down. Do a set of 15.
More: 11 Moves for Toned Arms