Got a band at hand? A Flex Band that is, one of the most cost effective, easily accessible fitness accessories!
Flex Bands are one of my personal favorite fitness props to use for a full-body, flexible workout. Flexibility is the ability to perform exercises in a full range of motion, without pain. Even resistance and strength training can make you more flexible. Flex Band workouts do just that, create strength and flexibility.
Since muscles cannot push they can only pull, they work in pairs. In order to balance the body and tone muscles properly, you should work opposing muscle groups. For example: when you do a bicep curl, your triceps relax and the biceps contract. When you do a triceps extension, your biceps relax and the triceps contract. Flex Bands help the muscles tone through resistance and assistance.
It’s best to start with a 6-foot band and non-latex is great for those with sensitive skin. You can carry it in your purse, toss it in a travel bag, or even keep one in your desk drawer at work.
The following are some of my favorite band exercises, for a balanced workout…have fun!
Ultimate Warm Up: Engages abs/hips/lower back/upper back/arms
Begin with one end of the band in each hand, standing hip width apart. Inhale and extend your right arm up outside your shoulder – just a light resistance in band and left leg out to the side – exhale, and pull abs in. Inhale and extend your left arm up and right leg out to the side, exhale. Repeat 10x alternating side lifts.
Back/Pectoral and Shoulder Stretch:
Start with legs open in wide stance and arms lifted above your head holding band with a little tension. Inhale and lower arms behind your back with a little tension on band, open wide and lower under shoulder blades, bend knees slightly, tuck pelvis forward, nice big stretch, look up and expand the chest, exhale. Release up over and in front of head slowly and inhale, and then lower flex band behind back again and stretch, exhale. Repeat 3x.
Bicep Curls: Works biceps and engages core
Sitting on glutes with legs extended and the center of the band wrapped on the bottom of the feet and ends in each fist. You should scoop in lower abdominals, shoulders open and stabilized. Inhale and bend elbows, pulling fists towards chest in a “hammer curl” position, exhale, pull navel to spine. Then release arms slightly and repeat sequence 10x.
Oblique Twist: Works internal and external obliques/triceps/upper back
Arms in a hammer curl position. Inhale and twist from center of core to your right, pull right elbow back, exhale, feel abs engage. Inhale, come back to the center. Exhale and twist to the left, engaging your abs and pull left elbow back. Inhale return to front/center. Repeat 8x.
Tricep Press: Works triceps/rhomboids/infraspinatus
While sitting very tall, with legs extended and band ends between thumb and index finger, center of band is wrapped around your feet. Arms begin at the side of hips, extended out slightly, palms toward the back. Inhale and press palms past the hips, elbows straight, exhale, and pull abs in. Inhale, release palms at side of hips, exhale pull back. Repeat 10x.
Quad Press: Works quads and glutes
Tie the flex band in a bow and wrap around ankles: should be about 5-6 inches of space between ankles in resistance. Start by laying on your left side, wrap the band around the arch of your left foot. Left leg is extended on the floor. On the right leg, the band should lay on the top of the right foot. Hips are stacked. Head is in the left palm. Inhale pulse right knee toward. Chest slight past 90 degrees, release 1” and pulse up again, so that you always feel a little tension in the band. Pulse for 2 sets of 10. Repeat on the left side.
Hip Strengthener: Works hip abductors and glutes
Place band around ankles. Lying on your left side. Hips stacked. Inhale, flex right foot and lift leg up, right above hip and pulse slowly, exhale, feeling the tension of band. Pulse for 2 sets of 10, then repeat on left leg.
Glute Strengthener: Works glutes and hamstrings
Start on your hands and knees, knees hip width apart, and arms shoulder width apart. Tuck in lower abdominals. Wrap one end of the band around your left foot and place the other end of the band under right foot arch. Extend right leg back. Keeping hips steady, pulse up to feel resistance, squeeze glutes, inhale and exhale on every other pulse. Pulsing up for 2 sets of 10, then repeat on the left leg.
Spine Stretch Roll Down:
Standing tall, place one end of band securely under both heels. Align the band up the spinal column and overhead. Hold on top with both hands inhale and roll your chin in and begin rolling down bone by bone, until you are gazing at your shins. You should feel a little resistance on the vertebrae as you stretch down. Inhale and exhale slowly, two more times to enjoy the stretch in the low back and hamstrings. Inhale and begin to roll back up, bone by bone, and exhale. Repeat 3x.
Great job….your body should feel toned, stretched, and recharged!
If you need to go to lunch, right after your workout – no problem! Flex bands can work as a great fashion accessory too! Wrap around your waist for a really cute sash, add a matching sweater and you are ready to go! Well okay… MAYBE not… I think I will just stick to fitness!