Updated: Aug 20, 2021
Resistance Bands. Anyone – at any fitness level – can use resistance bands to improve their workout. They don’t put the same sort of stress on your joints that weights or kettlebells do, while still providing a challenging workout.
They’re also great for targeting smaller muscles you don’t ordinarily pay much attention to, like the smaller muscles in your hips that stabilize your quads.
Resistance bands are basically giant rubber bands that give you tension, making your muscles work against one another to strengthen them. They’re small and lightweight, easy to pack and carry around, and come in a variety of styles (looped, non-looped, with or without handles).
They’re also really inexpensive – you can usually pick up a set for around twenty dollars, depending on the brand and where you shop. You can buy resistance bands on Amazon, of course, but also at retailers like Kohls, Target, and Walmart.
With resistance training, the key is to do multiple reps with a rest between, then repeat the set about three times. You’re not trying to bulk up – you’re strengthening muscles and tendons that might not get a good workout otherwise.
You can hook a band to a stationary object, like a stair railing, or simply use your body to anchor it (such as standing on the band). You should be working out three to five times a week for about half an hour. Don’t expect massive results with resistance bands – the goal is to strengthen the muscles and tendons, not to bulk up.
Here are a couple of easy exercises for you to try at home:
Bicep Curl – Stand up with both feet on the resistance band. Your feet should be spread to shoulder width. Hold one end of the band in each hand with your arms straight out to the front, palms facing forward. Slowly curl your hands up towards your shoulders, bending your elbows and squeezing your biceps muscles.
Keep your elbows tight to the sides of your body so your biceps do the work. Then slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position. This is one repetition. Try to keep your reps rhythmic and slow so your biceps feel the tension at all times. Do twelve to fifteen reps and repeat three times.
Single-Arm Triceps Extension – Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other and foot further back. Loop a resistance band beneath your back foot and take hold of the other end in front of your body with the opposite hand. Reach back over your shoulder with the other hand and grab the free end of the loop (you may need someone to hand it to you). Hold this behind your head by your neck. Your elbow should be pointed towards the ceiling. This is your starting position. Slowly extend your upper hand towards the ceiling until your elbow is straight. Then lower it back to the starting position. This is one repetition. Do twelve to fifteen reps on one arm, then repeat with the other arm. Repeat entire set three times.