While most women may immediately hop on the treadmill or elliptical, or perhaps join a circuits or spinning class when looking to lose weight, cardio isn't the only way you can shed pounds. Strength training actually helps to boost your metabolism, burns calories and builds lean muscle mass. Instead of always going for dumbbells, barbells or machines though, you could try strength resistance bands for a change.
Benefits of Bands
You might think of weight training as involving big lumps of iron or space-age-looking resistance machines, but bands count too. Many women don't want to lift traditional weights, or are a little unsure of the correct techniques, so bands are an excellent substitute, according to strength coach Nia Shanks. They're also extremely convenient if you're on the road a lot or train at home with minimal space. To get the best results, you'll want a complete set of bands with varying levels of tension.
Your exercise selection is key in your weight-loss progress. The notion that you can spot reduce fat from certain areas by working them is false. However, you can maximize your calorie burn and weight loss by choosing multi-joint movements, claims trainer Rachel Cosgrove of Results Fitness in California. These compound movements work multiple muscle groups, so they take more energy to perform and burn more calories. They include squats and lunges holding bands, band chest presses, shoulder presses and rows or band-assisted pushups and chinups.
For fat loss, work your whole body with three strength sessions each week, with at least one day of rest between each session. Pick five to seven exercises and perform three sets of 10 to15 reps of each. You can use bands on their own, or incorporate them into a free-weight, body-weight or machine program. Keep your heart rate high by sticking with short rest periods of 30 to 45 seconds between sets.
You certainly can lose weight by using strength resistance bands, but it's not as simple as just performing the odd band exercise here and there. Combine your training plan with a calorie-controlled diet and aim to drop 1 to 2 pounds of fat each week. Train intensely and aim to increase your reps, use heavier bands or cut rest periods each session. Perform 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on your days between strength sessions and ask a trainer if you need help with technique on any of the band exercises.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.