Resistance bands are a fun alternative to weights. They are simple to use and inexpensive. There are two types, those with handles and those without. The ones without handles allow you to adjust your hold to anywhere on the band. They are all you need.
Bands come in different levels of tension. Start with a low resistance or medium resistance band. Used regularly these bands help you maintain your range of motion, build strength and improve blood circulation. Here are a few exercises to get you started.
Keep a medium tension on the bands throughout. You should be able to do 10 repetitions of an exercise with some effort for the last few reps.
Oblique Twist – stand and hold the band in two hands with your arms out in front. Turn arms and torso to one side, lifting the heel of the opposite foot. Turn to the other side. This warms up your lower back. Repeat for a few minutes.
Lateral Raises – sit on a stable dining chair. Sit on the resistance band and hold the ends. Start with your arms down at your sides. Then lift them until they form a T with your body. Then slowly lower your arms to the sides. Do not lock your elbows during this exercise. Adjust the band as needed. Repeat 5 times. Add in some single arm lateral raises. Finish with 5 more lateral raises with both arms. This exercise strengthens your shoulder muscles in particular.
Posture Pull – this exercise helps your posture by strengthening your upper back. Sit upright in a stable dining chair. Hold the band with both hands. Put your arms out in front of you at shoulder width. Inhale and slowly open your arms out to the sides. Exhale and return your arms to the relaxed position. Keep your torso, neck and head upright as you do this. Repeat 10 times.
Rowing – Sit on the floor with your legs out front and your band around your feet. Hold the band firmly in both hands. Pull your elbows back until they are slightly behind your body. Do not raise your arms up. Repeat rowing action 20 times. Work slowly, keeping the resistance on the band at all times. Rest and repeat another set.
Tristan Hall is an exercise physiologist with Full Circle Wellness. Call 0431 192 284 or visit fullcirclewellness.com.au