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Get to most from your workout band

While free weights are often thought of as the best way to build muscle, it doesn’t mean you should forget about resistance bands. Not only are they useful for injury prevention and general strength and conditioning, they’re perfect to use at home or if you’re travelling. They can easily be incorporated into a circuit and are ideal to condition your cardiovascular system as well as strengthen specific muscle groups.

Description: Get to most from your workout band

Unlike with many similar free-weight exercises, you use resistance through every part of the move, which challenges the muscles throughout the exercise, not just during one part of it. Bands come in different colors according to the level of resistance the offer. To find the appropriate band for your strength, you need to choose one that challenges you on the last two moves in a set of 12 reps.

Try the following moves to work your major muscle groups. When performing the exercise, secure the band so that, when stretched, it gives sufficient resistance.

1.    Squats

Description: Stand in the middle of the band with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Stand in the middle of the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold one end of the band in each hand, at shoulder height. Keeping your hands by your shoulders, drop into a squat in a controlled manner, pause, then return to the starting position.

2.    Bent over rows

Description: Bent over rows

Place one foot on the band and take a step backwards with the other, holding one end arms straight, bend forwards about 45o with a back flat, and pull your hands up towards your waist, elbows close together, then lower again. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you perform the rowing motion.

3.    Alternate lying chest presses

Description: Lie on your back, with the resistance band beneath your upper back, holding one end in each hand.

Lie on your back, with the resistance band beneath your upper back, holding one end in each hand. Extend one arm up towards the ceiling, then return to the starting position in a controlled manner. Repeat with the other arm.

4.    Diagonal wood chops

Description: With feet hip-width apart, loop the band under your left foot and grasp either end in each hand.

With feet hip-width apart, loop the band under your left foot and grasp either end in each hand. Keeping your hands together, reach towards your left foot, bring the band up and over your right shoulder, in a wood chopping motion. Keep feet stationary and rotate your trunk. Perform 12 – 15 reps, then perform the move in the opposite direction.

5.    Triceps extension

Description: Triceps extension

Hold one end of the band in your left hand and take your arm behind your back. Now grab the other end of the band with your right arm and take your right wrist behind your neck, elbow out to the side. Fully extend your arm. Return to the starting position and repeat before swapping sides.

6.    Lateral rows

Stand on the resistance band with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Grasp the ends of the band, palms facing each other, arms hanging by your sides with your elbows slightly bent. Return to the start position.

7.    Biceps curls

Stand on the middle of the band with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent. To get into the start position, grasp one end of the band in each hand with an underhand grip, so that your palms are facing forward. Let your arms hang down loosely from your shoulder joint, with your elbows close to your sides. In a controlled movement, flex your elbows and curl the band up to shoulder height. Return to the start position, aiming to keep your elbows close to your sides throughout the movement.

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