Can you believe it’s the last week of January 2015 already? If getting shape was one of your resolutions for this new year, you should be settling into the idea now. I’m sure you’ve noticed too, though, that the same few exercises or routines can start feeling old pretty quickly.
This feeling, along with the feeling that you’ve hit a plateau—that dreaded period where you’re seeing little to no improvement—can be a problem whether you’re new to fitness or have been at it for years. My favorite way to stop the feeling of wanting to quit before it arrives is to make a big change in routine, and I do that by switching to resistance bands for a week or two.
The Skinny on Resistance Bands
Some of you may be wondering what a resistance band is. Simple. It’s an elastic band used for weight training (and physical therapy, in some cases). If you’re a member of any type of gym, you’ve likely seen them there—resistance bands are big in the fitness world.
If you’ve seen them, you’ve probably noticed that they come in different colors, too. These colors don’t correspond to weight, but levels of resistance instead.
- Yellow: These are the bands with the least amount of resistance, which means they’re incredibly stretch. They’re used to exercise areas like your shins, shoulders, and any other area where resistance isn’t a big factor in being able to feel your muscles working.
- Green: Green resistance bands have a medium rate of resistance to them. They stretch a bit less than the yellow ones, and are perfect for use on muscle groups like your biceps and triceps because there’s that bit of extra resistance to work the muscles.
- Red: These bands have a heavy-to-medium resistance and are harder to stretch than green bands are. Red resistance bands are perfect for people who’ve been building muscle strength, or are looking to work larger muscle groups like the back, legs, or chest.
- Blue: Blue resistance bands have a heavy resistance. They’re much more stiff than red bands and don’t stretch much. The blue bands are used by very strong people, and for people who want to work their legs, back, and chest muscles. These are also the perfect bands to use when you’re planning a workout with a partner—blue bands are ideal for two-person pulling exercises.
This Week’s Workout
Because it’s so easy to grow tired of something so quickly, this week’s workout is going to give you something new—resistance bands! There are seven simple moves, and with the resistance band of your choice, it should be a refreshing change from your normal routine.
There are seven total exercises this week, and the explanations below are a bit different from what you see above. That’s because we’re giving you options! Our infographic shows resistance band exercises that you can do on your own. The explanations below still use resistance bands, but they also use gym equipment as well. How you want to complete the exercises is up to you!
Grab your resistance bands and attach them to the top of a power rack, as well as to your barbell. As you squat, the bands actually work to reduce the weight load on your back. They help to make the exercise easier, and as a result, you can add more weight if you want to.
Feeling like your deadlifts aren’t doing much? Add a resistance band! Attach bands to the barbell and the bottom of the power rack. As you stand and lift, resistance increases, making deadlifts even more challenging. Ramp up your workout with better deadlifts. Your body will thank you.
The bench press is a staple in every gym. take your band and wrap it around the underside of the bench, then attach it to both ends of your barbell. As you press the weight, there’s resistance, which makes your core muscles work harder to stabilize the weight.
Attach your resistance bands to the bottom of the power rack and to both ends of the barbell. As you pull the weight up toward your chest, the resistance increases, making you work harder to pull the weight.
We all love barbell curls, right? Sure. Want to take them to the next level? Grab your resistance band and attach it to your barbell (or E-Z-Curl bar, if you’re using one). Resistance increases as you pull the bar closer to your chest, increasing how much your muscles have to work.
You probably already know that leg curls are great for your hamstrings, but did you know a resistance band can make it better? Just wrap your band around the machine and attach the ends to the foot stirrup. While you curl, resistance increases, making your workout harder and more beneficial.
Working your ab muscles with resistance bands offers a number of options. All you have to do is couple a resistance band with your current ab routine! Attach a yellow band around your ankles for leg lifts, and tie the other end around the bench you’re on. Are curls more your thing? Run a yellow band under the bench, grip the handles, and cross the band over your chest.
You might not think much is happening when you use resistance bands, but when you decide to go back to your regular fitness routine in a week or two, you’ll definitely notice the difference. Resistance bands do help.
Cool-Down & Recovery
For a cool-down this week, why not take a quick 10-minute walk? Take it outdoors to get some fresh air and reconnect with nature for a few minutes. If you’d like, do a few jumping jacks and walk for a few more minutes. Let your muscles cool and your heart rate settle back to normal.
If you’re looking for a new recovery supplement, I’ve listed some of my favorites below. Check them out!
- Pure Synergy Superfood Powder from Pure Synergy
- Protein Fusion Bar (Double Chocolate) from Metagenics
- Vega Sport Lemon-Lime Electrolyte Hydrator by Vega
- Sportmixer Blender Bottle (Black & Red) by BlenderBottle
If you’d like additional information (and videos) on resistance band workouts check out Ultimate Resistance Band Exercises Guide: 49 Ways to Boost your Fitness from Rigorfitness.
Have you made the switch and used resistance bands in your workouts? Let us know how they’re helping you. Leave a comment below!
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