The modern woman excels at multitasking. When time is no longer on your side, taking certain shortcuts at the gym is perfectly acceptable. Elastic resistance bands provide the ultimate multitasking experience. By allowing you to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, the bands provide a quick, efficient and effective workout.
Elastic resistance bands come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have a tubular shape and a handle on each end, while others are wide and flat. Circular bands, designed for leg workouts, are smaller, and fit around your ankles. As you experiment with different types of band workouts, you will discover that certain bands work best with specific types of exercises. Because the bands are relatively inexpensive, it's worth it to purchase a few of each type.
Squat and Lunge Variations
Squats and lunges provide workout partner for any upper-body exercise. Tubing, placed under one foot during the lunge or both feet during the squat, facilitates a variety of upper back, bicep, tricep and shoulder exercises. If you feel the need for some extra lower-body action, bring the tube handles up to shoulders while performing the squat and lunge. Sequence the upper-body exercises by performing the compound exercises -- such as the row and the chest press -- before the bicep and tricep isolation exercises.
The circular bands work best for lateral training exercises. Work your abductors by taking a big step to the side with one foot, and then bringing the other leg in to meet it. Aim for eight steps in each direction. The carioca exercise targets your inner thighs. Step out to the side, and cross your trailing leg in front. Step out again, and cross the trail leg behind. Your upper body wants to join this party, so wrap a flat resistance band around your upper back, and perform chest presses each time you step out to the side.
Pilates Style Core
Pilates knew what he was doing when he created the reformer. This versatile piece of apparatus allows you to work your upper or lower body in conjunction with your abs. The reformer is definitely effective, but can also effectively blow an entire week's budget. Resistance bands to the rescue! Wrap a wide flat band around your feet for the half roll-back. Sit upright with your knees bent, roll to a C-curved position and perform a biceps curl or a seated row. Use the circular or flat bands with the Pilates abdominal exercises that involve opening your legs and engaging your outer thighs. Add some butt power to the plank by placing a circular band around your ankles, and lifting each leg to hip height.
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.