Resistance bands, also called fitness bands, exercise loops and resistance tubing, come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are a great exercise tool for older adults.
Resistance bands easily lend themselves to higher repetition and low load (weight) workouts, which a new study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport suggests is great for building strength and improving standing balance.
Resistance band exercises also have a unique advantage over dumbbells because they provide constant tension during the concentric and eccentric contraction, but none of the risks associated with using heavy free weights.
Here are six resistance band exercises you can do at home. For a complete workout, do each exercise for up to 20 repetitions.
1. Squat to Press
Stand on the band to provide resistance as you come out of the squat. Add an overhead press at the top.
2. Bicep Curl
Stay standing on the resistance band for this version of the popular dumbbell exercise. Because of the constant tension, your triceps will also get attention as you go through the negative (or downwards) phase of the contraction.
3. Reverse Lunge and Row
Many resistance band sets come with door attachments, but you can also loop your band around a sturdy piece of furniture or banister. Reverse lunges are easier on the knees, and by holding the position while you perform the row, you can get extra time under tension for your legs. For a heart rate challenge, try alternating legs.
4. Standing or Kneeling Chest Press
Keep your band anchored (like in the reverse lunge and row) and face away from the anchor point. Standing up, do a chest press. A standing chest press (compared to a bench press, for example) provides more core engagement and extra time under tension.
5. Kneeling Horizontal Chop
This is another exercise with the band anchored. The twisting motion works the oblique muscles, as well as core stabilizers.
6. Lateral Walk
You can stand on your resistance band or invest in an exercise loop for this leg exercise. The tension created as you sidestep down a hall or corridor works the hip abductor muscles that support the knees.
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