The Best Resistance Band Routine
The Best Resistance Band Routine
Most people deem that free weights are the only true way to build lean muscle mass. While free weights are great, resistance bands can have a tremendous effect on muscle growth as well. In the past, many people have attributed resistance bands to middle-aged women. However, there are so many benefits in resistance bands that they should be used by everyone.
Differences Between Resistance Bands and Free Weights
There are many advantages to using resistance bands. The first and most obvious advantage is how much easier it is to travel with them and find the space to keep them. You can put your resistance bands in your luggage and do them in your hotel room when traveling. You can also stuff them in your drawers or closet, which will take up virtually no room. There is also a mechanical advantage in resistance bands in that resistance is maintained through every part of the motion while many similar free weight exercises are actually not performing work during parts of the lift when a movement isn’t against gravity at a large enough angle. When training with resistance bands, every part of both the concentric and eccentric part of the exercise has resistance, resulting in better range of motion, providing new strength gains and increased stimulation. The only real downside in training with resistance bands is that you can’t really perform maximal lifts and go to absolute failure.
Using Resistance Bands
When exercising with resistance bands for your workout, you should consider picking a band with a resistance appropriate to your strength and the exercise you are doing. When performing the exercise, the band should be secured in a way so the length of the band gives resistance from the top to the bottom.
You can perform so many exercises using resistance bands. Here are some of my favorite:
Bench Press – In order to do this workout. you need a bench. Secure the band under the leg nearest your head, lie down on the bench, and press up like you would a barbell bench press.
Cross-over – Secure band around a stationary post (a poll or something similar), step back enough to begin tension. Stand facing away from post with arms raised to sides, palms forward. Keeping your arms straight, bring them across your chest.
Curls – Just as you would performing a stand up barbell curl, keep your body straight and your legs apart. Stand on band leg so that tension will start with arms straight down. Holding handles palms up, curl as you would dumbbells.
Triceps Extensions – Stand on band with leg width set so tension begins at height of your hand with arms behind your back (over your head) and elbows flexed. Extend your arms as you would with Triceps extensions.
Skull-Crushers – Set up the band the same way you did with the bench press. Point your elbows forward and up, and perform skull-crushers as you would with a barbell.
Shoulder Press – Stand on band so that tension starts with hands by your shoulders. Hold handles palms forward with bottom part of handle on backside of your hand. Press upward as you would a dumbbell press.
Lateral Raises - Stand on band so tension begins with arms at sides. Keeping your arms straight, raise you arms out to your sides so they are parallel with the floor.
Upright Rows – Stand on band so tension begins with arms at sides. Pull upwards as you would with a barbell upright row.
Row – Fix band around a stationary post. Stand back so tension begins with arms raised in front of you. Keeping feet planted (or sitting), pull back as you would with a cable row.
Back Flies – Fix band around a stationary post. Stand back so tension begins with arms raised in front of you. Keeping your arms straight and feet planted, move your arms back so they are extended to your sides.
Good-Mornings – Stand on band so tension starts with hands clasped behind neck. Keeping legs straight or slightly bent, stand up straight, raising back as in a normal good-morning.
Quads and Hamstrings:
Squats – Stand on bands so tension begins with hands by shoulders and in a squatted position. Stand up, keeping hands by shoulders, performing as you would a barbell squat.
Calf Raises – Stand on band so tension begins with hands by shoulders and standing straight up. (Make sure you are standing on the band with your toes). Keeping hands by your shoulder, stand up on your toes as you would with a barbell calf raise.
Weighted Sit-ups – If you have a decline bench, you can fix the band around the base of the bench and perform weighted decline sit-ups on that. Otherwise, fix the band around a stationary post and lie on the floor facing away from the post. Holding you hands by your head, perform sit-ups or crunches.
Using the exercises given above, you can set up a workout routine in anyway you see fit. With resistance band-based workouts, the best would most likely be 3 full-body workouts or a 2-day split with Day A on Monday and Thursday and Day B on Tuesday and Friday.
3 x 8 Bench Press, 1 x 10 Cross-over
3 x 10 Rows, 1 x 15 Back Flies
3 x 15 Squats
2 x 10 Curls
2 x 8 Skull Crushers, 2 x 10 Triceps Extensions
2 x 8 Shoulder Press, 2 x 8 Lateral Raises, 1 x 10 Upright Rows
3 x 8 Good-Mornings
3 x 10 Calf Raises
3 x 20 Weighted Crunches
4 x 8 Bench Press, 2 x 10 Cross-over
3 x 15 Squats, 2 x 10 Squats
2 x 8 Skull-Crushers, 3 x 10 Triceps Extensions
5 x 10 Calf Raises
2 x 20 Weighted Crunches
4 x 10 Rows, 2 x 15 Back Flies
3 x 8 Shoulder Press, 3 x 8 Lateral Raises, 1 x 10 Upright Rows
4 x 8 Good-Mornings
3 x 10 Curls
2 x 20 Weighted Crunches
Do this resistance band workout like you would doing a normal workout. You should warm up, use an appropriate weight and keep about a one to two minutes rest between sets. The routine can be altered to fit your schedule and training preferences, changing the sets and frequency in whichever way you like. Remember, resistance bands aren't optimal for very low rep sets, and rep ranges much higher are less effective.
As with any exercise routine, resistance bands will increase the strength of your muscles and stimulate muscle growth. Resistance bands will also hit the full range of motion, working many parts of a lift and muscle often not worked by free weights (i.e. free weight curls and triceps extensions aren’t working during the whole motion). As a result, this will increase flexibility and muscular strength and provide more muscle stimulation. Therefore, for anyone that does't have the time in his or her day to go to the gym, are on the road or want to spice up a routine, resistance bands are your choice. Not to mention, they are super cheap!
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