Resistance bands are more than just stretchy pieces of rubber. Not only are they effective for getting in a full-body workout when time is short and equipment is sparse, but different bands can enhance your flexibility and mobility and help you push past sticking points. Here’s a crash course on getting the most from your bands.
WARMUP: MINI BANDS
Mini bands activate your glutes, which helps prevent other muscles from coming into play during exercises like deadlifts and squats to compensate for mediocre glute activation.
When to use: Before working sets, especially on lower-body days.
How to use: Step through the loop and secure the mini band just above the knees.
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- Lateral Shuffle: Stay in an athletic stance and keep tension on your glutes; don’t allow your feet to touch.
- Split-stance Walk: With one foot staggered, walk forward while maintaining a split stance.
- Glute Bridge: Lie supine with your feet planted on the floor and the band looped just above your knees. Thrust your hips into the air, focusing on pressing your knees outward.
VARIED RESISTANCE: LOOPED BANDS
This band variety can help assist with pullups and dips and move you past sticking points—weak portions of the lift—by increasing resistance on compound movements to strengthen the weak area.
When to use: Before or during a training session.
- Band-resisted Pushup: Wrap the band around your upper back and hold each end in your hands. Rep out your pushups.
- Pullup/Dip Assistance: Loop the band around a pullup/dip bar and place one foot on the looped band.
- Band-resisted Back Squat: Loop two bands on either end of a barbell and secure the other end to the top of a squat rack (pull down) or to heavy dumbbells placed on the floor (pull up). These are best used with compound movements like the squat, bench press, and deadlift.