Resistance bands are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment you can use and they are a good alternative to resistance machines. You can use resistance bands at home and at the gym. They are light-weight and portable, which makes them the perfect exercise equipment to carry with you when traveling. You won't need a lot of space to use a resistance band. Anchor a resistance band to a wall, attach it to a door or secure it to a heavy piece of furniture. You can also use one by holding each end of the band or standing on the band while you pull it with your hands or leg.
Circuit training is a type of cardiovascular workout that will get your heart pumping as you strengthen your muscles and joints. Circuit training involves rapidly performing many repetitions of low-resistance exercise and then resting briefly before you begin another low-resistance exercise. In the gym, circuit training could involve four or five different resistance machines. Your rest period consists of the time it takes to move from one machine to the next. Resistance band circuits work the same way. Plan your circuit before you begin. After you complete the desired number of repetitions for one exercise, move quickly to the next exercise. When you finish, you may repeat the circuit one or two times.
Using Resistance Bands
Before using resistance bands, take a few precautions to ensure that you are using them properly and safely. A resistance band could cause serious injury if you lose your grip or if it is not securely attached to a wall or door anchor. Wrap the ends of the resistance band securely around your hands or feet if you use the type without handles. For leg exercises that require a secure loop in the resistance band, tie the ends in a square knot. For arm exercises, stand on the band and pull with your arms as instructed. Wall or door anchors provide a safe, secure way to attach your resistance band and they may be placed at different heights for upper and lower body exercises. Wrap bands around your thighs or ankles to perform hip and leg flexion exercises.
Upper Body Circuit
You can do upper body resistance band circuits without the need to stop and anchor the band. Doing upper body exercises that require only a change in arm position and grip will speed up your transition from one exercise to the next, thereby reducing your rest period for a more effective cardiovascular effect as you strength train. Your upper body circuit can consist of any combination of upper back and triceps extensions, lat pull-downs, chest presses and biceps curl. Do eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise and rest for only about 30 seconds between exercises. Repeat the entire circuit one to two more times.
Lower Body Circuit
You can use a chair or table to help you maintain your balance when you do leg abduction and leg adduction exercises. Wrap a resistance band around your legs above your ankles and pull the resistance band away from the midline of your body to do leg abductions. Pull the band forward and across the midline of your body to do leg adductions. Face a chair or a counter and hold onto it for balance as you perform hamstring curls. Wrap a resistance band around your legs just above the ankle and pull the band backward with one leg. Remember to repeat each exercise using both legs. Do some resistance band squats and reverse crunches to complete your lower body circuit.
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.