Resistance Bands – The Travelers Workout!

Actually, not just travelers can benefit from resistance bands, as it’s a great tool even for your home gym. However, because they’re space saving tools, resistance bands are perfect for the office, small apartment, and especially that backpack while you’re traveling!

Before we get started on the workouts, let’s take a quick look at what they are.

What are resistance bands?

resistance-bandsTo put it simply, you’ll get a long piece of rubber tubing with a handle at each end. Depending on the brand, your handles will have some soft foaming around them, but some just have hard plastic.

The rubber tubing itself often comes with varying levels of resistance, from very easy, for rehabilitation use, all the way to the extremely resistant for the muscle-building type workouts.

I should say, before we get too deep into this, that I love resistance bands. While traveling I have found them to be ideal for a quick workout, and you would be amazed at the sheer amount of muscles that can be worked to exhaustion just by being a little creative!

A word of warning though, is that you shouldn’t use resistance bands as your only form of resistance, and should definitely be doing body weight work or weight training as well. This is because of the risk of training your arms and legs into hyperextension.

Take a punch, for example. When you throw a punch all the energy goes into the initial acceleration of the punch, and at the end of the movement, your arm then quickly decelerates so that you don’t hyper extend and damage the elbow. This is a natural movement and the legs do the same.

When you lift weights or do body weight exercises this is repeated. Generally, the movements are harder at the beginning as you power from stationary, and then slow down at the end of the movement. Resistance bands are different. However, the resistance is provided when the band is at its most taut, that is to say, at the END of the movement.

So, it’s easier at the beginning, and more difficult at the end. And if you do these movements only, without any other form of training, you’ll be teaching your muscles to be weak at the beginning of the movement, and to be explosive at the end of the movement, and this will end up causing hyperextension. Not a huge deal, but something you want to be aware of, as most people don’t want to lose their explosive power or damage their joints!

That said, now that you’re aware of the limitations, resistance bands are an awesome way of getting an all-over body workout in confined conditions, and I use them all the time.

The Do-Anywhere Resistance Band Exercises

So, here are a couple of my favorite exercises with resistance bands. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find a whole stack of routines that you can follow, but I’ve found that the best way to use the bands is to pick a muscle group that I want to work and just figure it out myself. It makes it even more fun!

A quick word of note – resistance bands work best if you do the movements slowly. This causes some serious burn, giving you a great workout, and helps to counteract the whole hyperextension issue.

Please check this list of the simplest workouts that you can do anywhere:

  1. Push-ups

Get into the plank position, then take the resistance band in both hands and put it over your back. Maximum tension should be when you’re at the top of the movement.

Now do some push-ups. You should find that the extra resistance makes it nice and difficult! In fact, if the tension is enough, just doing the plank can be tough!

  1. Bicep curl

Nice and easy to set up. Just put one handle on your foot, and the other one in your hand. Then stand up and do some bicep curls!

Pay attention to your form here. Make sure that your core is strong, and that you’re upright the whole time. A strong tension here works far more than just the bicep and you should feel it in your core, back and shoulders.

  1. Squats

Put the band under your feet, grab the handles and get into the squat position. Then start doing some slow squats. Really, feel the burn, and keep your core strong.

Do this one properly and you’ll get the wobbly after-set ‘jelly legs’ like never before!

  1. Sit ups

Grab one handle and attach it to a doorknob. Then lie down with your head facing the door, grab the handle with both hands and do some sit-ups! The tube in this exercise will be going over your right or left shoulder, and you should feel some serious resistance at the end of the movement, which is great, because with sit ups this is normally where people have a bit of a rest.

That’s it! These workouts will take you around 10 minutes to do, and you will have worked most of the major muscle groups. I guarantee you’ll be absolutely stuffed afterwards.

If you want to include more workouts in your workout sessions, please check this playlist for resistance band exercises (watch in full-screen mode for the best viewing experience):

Not bad for a piece of equipment that costs around $20, do you agree? 🙂