33 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Literally Anywhere | Greatist

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Rock out with the band! Resistance bands are a great addition to any strength training routine or rehabilitation program and come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and strengths  . This portable exercise equipment is also easily stored, making it perfect for home use, hotel workouts, or when you’re tight on space at the gym. Just like free weights, exercise bands come in a range of resistance levels, from highly stretchable to heavy-duty strength.

The most common types of bands include tube bands with handles, loop bands (aka giant rubber bands), and therapy bands. (When in doubt, a fitness professional can help determine which band is right for you, depending on your fitness level and specific workout plan). For most exercises, try aiming for 8 to 25 reps for 2 to 3 sets per exercise. And don’t miss our sample workout suggested at the very end. Ready, set, streeetch!

Lower-Body Exercises

1. Front Squat

Stand on band with feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Holding a handle in each hand, bring the top of the band over each shoulder. (If it’s too long, secure band in place by crossing your arms at your chest.)Sit straight down, chest up, abs firm, pressing knees out over your toes. Rise back up to start position and repeat for 8 to 12 reps.

2. Leg Extension

Kick it up a notch with this quad-builder. Anchor a loop band in a low position on a support (like an incline bench), looping the other end around your ankle with the band positioned behind you. Step away from the anchor to create tension on the band, and position feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight to the left foot, and lift the right leg from the floor. Extend the knee until it straightens out in front of you. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 8 to 12 reps before switching legs.

3. Prone (Lying) Leg Curl

Lie belly down and loop a band around your right ankle, anchoring the other end to a door or support. Scoot away from the anchor to create tension. Tighten your core and bend your leg at the knee, bringing your heel toward your glutes as far as you can comfortably go. Slowly return your leg to starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides.

4. Glute Bridge

Salute those glutes! Tie a band around your legs right above your knees. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, bending your knees to 90 degrees. Rise up with your hips until your shoulders, hips and knees align, contracting your glutes through the entire movement. Do 15 to 20 reps.

5. Standing Adductor

Anchor a loop band at ankle height to a support and stand with your left side facing the support, wrapping the free end around your right (outer) ankle. Stand perpendicular to the band and step away from the support to create some tension (the good kind, of course). From a wide stance, get into a quarter squat or an athletic stance, and then sweep your working ankle across your body past your standing leg, squeezing your thighs together. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps before switching sides.

6. Supinated Clamshell

Loop a band around your legs just above your knees. Lie on your back with hips and knees flexed to 90 degrees. Pull the knees apart while contracting your glutes for 2 to 3 seconds. Slowly return to starting position and repeat, aiming for 10 to 12 total reps.

7. Plantar Flexion (Ankle Flexion)

Take a load off for this one. Secure a loop or therapy band around an anchor (like the leg of a coffee table or chair), and sit with one leg straight out, wrapping the other end of the loop around the top of your foot. Lean back, supporting your weight on your hands, and flex your foot forward until you feel a good stretch in your shin. In a controlled movement, bring your toes back up, flexing them toward your knee as far as comfortable. Slowly return to starting position and go for 10 to 12 reps on each side.

8. Lateral Band Walk

Don’t sidestep these side steps! Step into a loop band or tie a therapy band around the lower legs, just above both ankles. Place feet shoulder-width apart to create tension on the band. From a half-squat position, shift your weight to the left side, stepping sideways with the right leg. Move the standing leg slightly in, but keep the band taut. Take 8 to 10 steps before heading back the other way.

9. Standing Abduction

This one’s a bit of a balancing act. Anchor your loop band at ankle height, and stand with your left side toward the anchor. Attach the free end to your outside ankle and step out to create tension on the band. Move your supporting leg back so your foot is elevated from the floor, lift your working leg up, slowly bringing your looped foot out to the side, contracting your outer glutes. If you feel wobbly, grab a support (like the wall or the back of a chair). Lower back down to starting position and repeat for 15 to 20 reps on each side.

10. Seated Abduction

To really show those thighs who’s boss, sit at the edge of a chair or bench and tie a loop band around both legs, just above the knees. Place your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Slowly press your knees out, turning your feet in as your legs move apart. Hold for two seconds, and then bring your knees back together. Aim for 15 to 20 reps.

Back Exercises

11. Bent-Over Row

You can do it, put your back into it. Stand over the center of the band with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and hinge at the waist, keeping your hips back. Grasp each handle with hands facing the outside of your knees. With elbows bent, pull the band up toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Lower and row for 10 to 12 reps.

12. Seated Row

Take a seat, but don’t get too cozy. With legs extended, place the center of the band behind the soles of your feet. Grab the band with both hands, arms extended and palms facing each other. Sitting nice and tall, bend at the elbow and pull the band toward your core, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

13. Pull Apart

Stand with knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the middle section of the band with both hands at shoulder level with palms facing down. Keeping your arms straight, pull the band out and back until your shoulder blades contract. Slowly return to starting position and stretch, squeeze, and release for 8 to 10 reps.

14. Lying Pullover

No, this doesn’t involve pulling the covers over your head. For this effective pec and lat exercise, anchor the tube band in a low position. Next, lie on your back, grabbing the free end of the band with both hands, stretching arms straight out overhead. With elbows slightly bent, pull the band overhead, crossing your torso until the handle reaches your knees. Slowly return to starting position and keep it up for 8 to 10 reps.

15. Lat Pulldown

Ready to work the upper back? Anchor the band overhead to a horizontal bar (or even a sturdy tree limb), pulling the free ends down at your sides. Kneel facing the anchor so the bands are positioned in front of you, gripping each end with arms extended overhead and hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Bending the elbows, pull the band down toward the floor while contracting your back muscles. Once the hands reach your shoulders, slowly raise them back to the starting position and rock out 10 to 12 reps.

Chest Exercises

16. Push-Up

Take this classic move to a new level. Get in plank position, draping the resistance band across your upper back. Loop the ends of the band through each thumb, and place your hands on the ground in starting position—body facedown on the ground. Contract your glutes and abs, and push straight up until your arms fully extend. Lower back down, chest to the floor, and see what you’ve got for 5 to 20 reps (depending on your strength).

17. Incline Chest Press

Next up: The upper chest muscles! In a right forward lunge position, place the middle of your band beneath your back foot. Grabbing a handle in each hand, bring the band to shoulder level. Press the bands upward straight over your chest like a rainbow until the arms fully extend. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

18. Bench Press

No barbell? No problem! Anchor a tube band on the bench legs, and lie on the bench, face up. Grabbing a handle in each hand. position them at shoulder height (so your thumbs touch the front of your shoulders). Extend the arms straight up overhead to full extension, moving your hands toward each other at the top. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

19. Standing Chest Press

Anchor the tube band on a cable column or sturdy support at chest height. Grab each handle with your back to the band. Step forward to reduce slack, positioning your hands at chest height. With elbows up and palms facing down, press the band straight out in front of you until your arms reach full extension, and squeeze those chest muscles. Return to starting position and press on for 12 to 15 reps.

Shoulder Exercises

20. Overhead Press

Stand over the center of a tube band with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle, positioning your hands at shoulder level with palms facing each other so your thumbs touch your shoulders. Press straight up, rotating your palms forward as you fully extend your arms. Lower back down slowly and repeat for 8 to 10 reps.

21. Forward Raise

To hit the front of the shoulders, stand on the middle of the band with feet shoulder-width apart and grip each handle at your sides with palms facing in. Next, without locking your elbows, bring your right arm straight out in front of you to shoulder height. Slowly lower back down and raise the roof for 8 to 12 reps before switching arms.

22. Lateral Raise

Build bolder shoulders with this isolation move. Stand with feet positioned over the center of a tube band, shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle with arms down at your side and palms facing in. Bending your elbows ever so slightly, raise your arms straight out to the side to shoulder-level. Slowly lower back down and go for a total of 8 to 10 reps.

23. Upright Row

Stand proud as you target your traps. With feet positioned over the center of the band, shoulder-width apart, grip each handle and position them with palms facing each other just in front of your thighs. Pull the band straight up the front of your body to shoulder-level, keeping your elbows bent and positioned in a high “V.” Slowly lower back down to starting position and keep rowing for 10 to 12 reps.

24. Bent-Over Rear Delt Fly

Target the whole shoulder with this fierce move. Sit at the edge of a chair or bench, positioning your feet over the middle of the band. Cross the band at your knees, grabbing each handle with palms facing each other. Bend forward at the waist, back straight, and raise your arms straight out to your sides until the band reaches shoulder level. Lower back to starting position and fly away with 10 to 12 reps.

Arms Exercises

25. Concentration Curl

Want to get ready for the gun show? Start in a forward lunge position, right leg in front, and place the middle of the band under the right foot. Grasp one end of the loop band with your right band, resting your elbow on the inside of your knee (to target those biceps a little deeper). With palm facing away from your knee, curl the band up toward your shoulder, squeezing your biceps at the top. Slowly lower back down and repeat for 8 to 10 reps before switching sides.

26. Standing Biceps Curl

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with your feet placed over the middle of the band. Grab a handle in each hand, starting with your arms down at your sides. With palms facing in front of you, pull your arms toward your shoulders by bending at the elbow until you get a good bicep contraction. Slowly lower back down and go for a total of 12 to15 curls.

27. Triceps Kickback

Kick back and relax. Just kidding! Stand in a forward lunge position with your right foot in front, positioned over the center of the band. Holding each end of the band, position your arms at your sides with palms facing behind you. Bend at the elbows (keeping them tucked by your sides) until your forearms are parallel to the floor. Next, press down the arms, pushing the band behind your body until the arms fully extend. Lower back down and repeat for 8 to 10 reps.

28. Overhead Triceps Extension

Sit on a chair or bench, placing the center of a tube band beneath your glutes. Grab a handle in each hand, and stretch your arms up, bending your elbows so that your hands are positioned behind your neck. With palms toward the ceiling, press your arms straight up until they fully extend. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 12 reps before switching sides.

Core Exercises

29. Kneeling Crunch

Attach the band to a high anchor (such as the top of a door or cable column) and kneel down, grabbing each side of the band. Extend the elbows out at shoulder-level, engage your abdominals, and crunch down toward your hips while contracting your abs. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

30. Woodchoppers

Be an ax man (or woman) in training with this great core move. Anchor the loop or tube band toward the top of a cable column or support. With your right side to the support, grab the free end of the band with your arms stretched out overhead. In one smooth motion, pull the band down and across your body to the front of your knees while rotating your right hip and pivoting your back foot. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 8 to 10 reps on each side.

31. Anti-Rotation Band Walkouts

Know when to walk away. Anchor a loop or tube band on a cable column or support positioned slightly below your chest. Grasping the free end, create tension on the band and squat to an athletic stance. Holding the band with both hands straight out in front of your chest, keeping your core tight, step laterally until the band is too tense to go any further. Slow and controlled, move back toward the column to starting position. Repeat for 6 to 8 reps on each side.

32. Reverse Crunch

Now flip it and reverse it. Anchor the band on a low support. Lie on your back, bending knees 90 degrees. Wrap band around the tops of both feet and scoot back to create tension. Abs tight and back flat, pull your knees toward your shoulders, contracting your abdominal muscles. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for 12 to 15 reps.

33. Russian Twist

Sit on the floor with legs extended, wrapping the center of the band around the bottom of your feet. Hold the free ends in each hand. Slightly bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor, and lean back at a 45-degree angle. Rotate the band right by bringing your left hand across your body and your right hand down by your right hip. Contracting your oblique muscles, bring the band toward your right hip while keeping your middle and low back neutral. Return to starting position and rotate left then right for a total of 10-12 reps on each side.

The Full-Body Resistance Band Workout

Ready to put it all together? Greatist expert and certified personal trainer Jessi Kneeland(who also demonstrates the moves here!) created this routine that’ll work your whole body.

The Products

Want your own resistance bands to use at home or on the go? Here are a few awesome products to consider:

  • Lifeline Professional Exercising Tubing with Handles: This five-foot durable exercise tubing with hard plastic swivel handles comes in 10 levels to accommodate all your fitness needs; $13 to $25.
  • Perform Better Mini-Bands: Long-lasting and capable of stretching up to three times in length, these mini loop bands travel well and come in 4 resistance levels; $2 to $20.
  • Thera-Band: These 5-foot latex bands come without handles and work well to enhance athletic performance or improve rehabilitation. They come in 5 resistance levels and can be purchased in multi-packs; $6 to $16.

33 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Literally Anywhere | Greatist.

What the Number on the Scale Really Means: A Primer on Weight Fluctuations | Greatist

Scale-FeatureThere are few morning things that have the power to absolutely dictate my mood for the day. A loss in my fantasy league, for example, will pretty much ensure that I’m scowling, even on the nicest of days. More relevant thing to you, my dear reader, is the number that I see when I step on the scale while on a fat-loss diet.

Fortunately the scale reading is only a number. Like all pieces of data, this number may or may not be an accurate reflection of whether or not you are losing fat. Let’s look at problems with over-relying on your scale weight and how we can better interpret said weight.

Modeling Scale Weight

Let’s say that there were a hypothetical universe where someone’s weight had no variability. In this universe, Joe has 150 lbs of lean mass and 50 lbs of fat mass. That means Joe weighs 200 lbs at 25 percent  body fat.

Now let’s transport Joe to our universe. The one where the scale can be a fickle bitch. How much does Joe weigh? Joe would probably weigh somewhere between 196 and 208 lbs. Why the difference? One’s “scale weight” can be broken down into the following formula:

Scale Weight = True Weight + Weight Variance (AKA weight of the annoying little gremlins that mess with your weight)

True Weight: The weight that you would be in our hypothetical universe above (there are ways to get close to this).

Weight Variance: A value that adds or subtracts from your weight, given the conditions below.

Something interesting that I’ve seen from clients is that the upper and lower limits are asymmetrical. The upper limit of one’s scale weight is about +4 percent of his/her true weight, whereas the lower limit seems to be about -2 percent of his/her scale weight. Hence, why Joe’s scale weight is 196 to 208.

Understanding Variations in Weight

Here are a few things that factor into “weight variance:”

  • Glycogen stores. This amount depends on your current consumption of carbohydrates. For every gram of carbohydrate that your body stores via glycogen, it also stores three grams of water. If you are carbohydrate-depleted, you will be at the lower end of your variance. Conversely, if you consume a crapola of carbohydrates, you will be at the upper end of your variance.
  • Water retention/depletion from sodium. If you suddenly consume more sodium than you are used to, you will likely retain water. Conversely, if you suddenly consume much less sodium, you will release water. Your body adjusts to the new levels accordingly via the hormone aldosterone, so don’t think that you can keep this value low just by cutting sodium out from your diet.
  • Cycle bloat. Women will retain water during their cycle. For this reason, it’s best for women to only compare weight from month-to-month.
  • Dehydration. This obviously comes into play, but we’re going to assume that everyone here is well-hydrated.

Scale Weight Fluctuations

Why does the scale seem so erratic when you are dieting? The foremost reason is that glycogen is a much more volatile substrate than fat. That is, fat loss occurs slowly, while glycogen levels can swing wildly.

Let’s see what happens at both ends of glycogen storage.

The High End: Full Stores (i.e. bloat, often from binge eating)
What happens when people go on a binge? Typically they will retain a ton more glycogen afterwards and see a massive increase in the scale. This is only water weight. Too often, I’ll see people defeated because they “gained all of the weight back.”

One thing that you rarely hear about water bloat is that it makes you look fatter than actual fat. Yes, that means that a person whose true weight is 190 lbs and bloats up to 195 lbs will look fatter than if his/her true weight were 197 lbs.

Try this for yourself. When you are on a diet, take weekly pictures of yourself when you adhere to your nutrition plan. After you’ve lost some weight, take pictures again after eating wildly for a day.

Find the two pictures that match up with the same weight. You’ll notice that you will look fatter in your latter pictures, even if your true weight ls lower.

If you find yourself gaining a ton of weight after a bad day of dieting, remember, this is only temporary. Your true weight hasn’t moved much; it’s still subject to the laws of thermodynamics.

(Funny story: As a test I once consumed 1,200 grams of carbohydrates in one day with only trace dietary fats. Research predicts that almost none of this turned into fat. The next day, I looked like the Michelin man and my “skin” felt hurt and bruised. Yes, my skin. Interpret this as you will.)

The Low End: Carbohydrate Depletion
Those who go on Paleo or ketogenic style diets usually cite the rapid loss of weight at the very start, as well as the rapid influx of weight when they cease their low-carb diet.
This isn’t due to some magical powers from copying the diet of pre-historic man. Rather, this is due to the rapid depletion and replenishment of glycogen.

Similarly, the rapid drop in weight that occurs when one starts a diet can usually be attributed to a drop in carbohydrate intake.

Other reasons: Lyle McDonald talks about “the whoosh effect,” in which scale weight will often lag behind true weight loss. If you haven’t read this article yet, I highly encourage you to do so. I take this one step further by showing that you can use certain measurements to determine an impending whoosh, as you’ll read later.

Clients will also often gain lean mass and/or increased glycogen capacity during a diet, especially with a mild deficit. For that reason, scale weight may remain the same even if fat loss is occurring.

Interpreting the Scale

The true secret to interpreting the scale is building a story. Most people use the scale as a final number, rather than piece together a story using relevant pieces of data. The scale number alone is useless when you need to troubleshoot.

Instead, we can create a powerful story by pairing scale readings with the following data:

  • Waist measurements. This is the most powerful piece of accompanying data. That’s because waist measurements are far more useful at determining overall direction of fat loss. Take measurements at the navel, two inches above, and two inches below. Compare with last week’s measurements and assign the measurement either -1, 0, or +1 if the new measurement decreases, stays the same, or increases respectively. Now add the numbers together to determine overall direction that fat loss/gain is occurring.
  • Strength as determined by PRs. Assuming that you have reasonable programming for a deficit, PRs are a good indicator of how far you are from your caloric deficit in the natural trainee. If your strength is increasing, then you are likely increasing your weight from lean body mass as well.
  • Bloat. This tells you how much variance is going into your measurements. Be keen on noticing whether or not you are holding water in key parts. This will vary from person to person, but it will be areas that seem to swell up after a binge. My face balloons in size for example, but my thighs always look the same.

Remember our hypothetical universe where scale weight is equal to “true” weight? We want to replicate this as much as possible. For this reason, you should not interpret measurements when bloat is high. Either wait for it to go away (if it’s caused by your menstrual cycle) or eat normally for a few days (if it’s from a binge).

After that, use the following chart to interpret your data.

What the Number on the Scale Really Means: A Primer on Weight Fluctuations | Greatist.

45 Insanely Effective TRX Exercises

TRX_Feature_810x420OK, maybe not permanently, but at least long enough to add something new to your fitness routine: TRX training techniques.

Invented by a former U.S. Navy SEAL, the TRX (short for total-body resistance exercise) turns every exercise into a challenge for the core by using two very accessible resources: gravity and our own bodyweight. All you have to do is anchor the TRX straps to a secure spot (think a weight machine, a door frame, or even monkey bars or a basketball hoop pole if you’re getting creative) and use either your feet or hands—depending on the exercise—to hold onto the straps.

In general, a part of your body will be suspended above the ground or you’ll be leaning into or away from the straps to create resistance and destabilization. Knocking our balance out of whack gives us no other option but to adjust, which means engaging the midsection and back and firing up the shoulders and hips to maintain control throughout the movement. Even better? Since the straps roll up into practically nothing, it’s a take-anywhere, do-anywhere kind of workout—provided you have somewhere stable to serve as your base.

Ready to hang tough—and build SEAL-worthy strength? Give these 45 TRX moves a try!

via 45 Insanely Effective TRX Exercises.