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Resistance Band Basics
These fitness routines using exercise bands can be done almost anywhere and are convenient for travelers. Resistance bands are lightweight and inexpensive, and readily found at any sporting goods store. Keep a set in your desk so you can squeeze in a lunchtime workout while at work. No more excuses for not working out!
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- Stand with feet hip-width apart, right foot standing on middle of band. Hold ends of band in each hand. For extra resistance, you can hold a two-to-three pound dumbell in each hand.
- Keeping elbows by sides, turn palms upward and curl both hands slowly up to shoulders. Do 10-15 reps.
- Next, curl one hand up at a time, alternating sides. Do 10-15 curls on each side.
This move adds definition to your bicep muscle. Do the movement very slowly, avoiding swinging arms. Maintain control over the band at all times. If this exercise is too easy, use a stronger band.
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Standing Shoulder Shaper
- Stand on the middle of the band, with band under both feet and feet hip-width apart.
- Cross the band in front of knees so that it forms an X, wrapping ends around each hand (palms down) with hands at hip level.
- Slowly lift and lower arms up and down, maintaining even tension on the band. Elbows and wrists should not be locked. Avoid hunching shoulders up by ears; keep them down and relaxed. Do 15 reps.
Be sure to stand up straight and hold abs in. This exercise works the deltoids (top of shoulder). For a variation, lift arms straight out to the side. This move hits the deltoids at a slightly different angle.
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- Loop band around a tree or pole. Step away from the pole, ends of band in each hand.
- Hold arms up, bent with elbows at shoulder level. Push forward with both hands, keeping elbows fixed into place. Allow elbows to return to starting position. Do 15 reps.
This works many muscles of the chest, including the pectoralis major and minor, the deltoids, and triceps.
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- Keep band looped around tree or pole after completing above exercise. Turn and stand facing pole, ends of band in each hand.
- Bend elbows at a 90-degree angle. This is the starting position.
- Slowly lower hands down, holding elbows in position. Stop just before elbows are straight; do not hyperextend.
- Bring the hands back up slowly to the starting position.
Remember to maintain control. The only thing moving is your hands.
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Abs, Butt, and Thigh Workout
Move immediately from the biceps workout to the next exercise in the series. Continue to move from one exercise to the next without resting.
- Stand in middle of band with feet hip-width apart, and band under both feet. Hold ends of band in each hand, arms by sides.
- Squat, keeping knees behind toes, leaning forward slightly from hips. Keep back straight. Adjust tension on band if needed.
- Stand up slowly, pulling band with you. Do 15 reps.
This move targets the abs, butt, and quadriceps.
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- Tie the band into a loop about 18" long. Step into loop, with it resting on your ankles.
- Stand behind a sturdy chair, hands placed on chair back for balance.
- Shift your weight to your left foot. Slowly bend your right leg up behind you to a 90 degree angle.
- Lower leg slowly, doing 15 reps.
- Switch weight to right foot, and bend left leg up slowly. Repeat on left side for 15 reps.
This works the hamstrings on the back of the leg.
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Before exercising, warm up with 5-10 minutes of brisk walking or marching in place. Repeat the above circuit 2-3 times, maintaining control over the muscle. Don't allow arms or legs to simply "flop". Cool down with some light stretching. Do not work your muscles beyond a comfortable range of motion. If you have not been physically active in a while or have certain medical conditions such as diabetes, consult your healthcare provider before beginning any fitness routines using exercise bands or other exercise routines.
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