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Resistance is not futile

In fact, bands make strength training convenient, portable

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
No free weights? No problem. Be sure to pause for a second when your hands reach your shoulders, then slowly straighten your arms in order to maximize bicep curls.
Lateral raises are done by pinning the resistance band to the floor with your foot.
Here is where having a variety of resistance bands, with different "strengths," can come in handy. Your hands and those handles have plenty of distance to travel – especially for taller users – in order to perform shoulder presses.

I am a fan of resistance bands. If you are not familiar with them, they are basically a piece of elastic used to provide resistance for strength-training exercises.

They come in several variations. The most basic and inexpensive ones look like an oblong scarf made of stretchy rubber material. There are others that are a continuous loop resembling a giant rubber band. My favorite version looks like a bungee cord with handles at both ends. 

In using resistance bands for exercise, you often anchor one end or the middle of the band. This might mean looping or tying the band around a solid piece of furniture or a door.  It might also mean simply standing or stepping on the middle of one end of the band. Some bands come with equipment to anchor or tether them to your wall or door frame.

Resistance bands can be used for many different types of exercises for the upper and lower body.

Bicep curls are one example of an exercise that can be done from either a standing or seated position using a resistance band. Hold an end of the resistance band in each hand and stand or step on the middle of the band. Keeping elbows close to your sides, bend your elbows and lift your hands slowly toward your shoulder, pulling against the resistance of the band. When your hands reach your shoulder pause for a second and then slowly straighten elbows until your hands have reached their original position.

Similar upper-body exercises would include a shoulder press and a lateral raise. 

If you purchase a resistance band, you will probably find information about the exercises you can perform in the packaging, but you can also look online for exercises and workouts. Try the exercise library at www.acefitness.org for some ideas.  

Resistance bands are inexpensive and can be used by people of all fitness levels. They come in different “strengths” or levels of resistance, and it might be helpful to have more than one on hand. They take up very little room and can easily be stored in a drawer. They are lightweight, so they are perfect for throwing in the suitcase so you can take your workout on the road. 

As with any exercise, if you are inexperienced or have any health issues, check with your health care provider before using resistance bands. 

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