You don’t need heavy metal to build life-long muscle and improve sports performance.
The resistance band has long played second fiddle to traditional weight training as a means to gain strength and is often misunderstood by your average gym-goer. But this attitude is shifting in recent years, especially in the sporting world where performance is the primary focus and big muscles, in some circumstances, can be a hindrance to an athlete.
Take Tom Brady as an example. The New England Patriots veteran quarterback trains exclusively with resistance bands and attributes his on field success and career longevity (he’s about to enter his 20th season!) with turning his back on the weight room.
Resistance band training allows for fluid, full range of motion during exercises and their versatility can build power and enhance sports specific movements in ways that barbells and dumbbells cannot replicate.
Try this full body band workout by Third Space Lead Instructor Adrien Lambert.
Beginner: 2 sets of 35 seconds per exercise.
Advanced: 3 sets of 45 second per exercise.
Isometric Lunge with Band Front Raise
Why: This movement is one of my first choices to get clients warmed up and prompt the muscles of the upper body, lower body and core to fire simultaneously. For the uninitiated, it looks very simple but this can get the legs and shoulders screaming after just a couple of sets.
How to: Tie a band around a fixed object at waist height. Hold the band at the other end in both hands and face at 90 degrees from its fixed position. Step approximately a metre away from the tied point and then step back with your inside leg into a reverse lunge. Now raise both hands above your head. Pause momentarily then lower and repeat.
Reverse Lunge with Band Row
Why: This move offers a fantastic way to improve balance and proprioception. whilst also incorporating both upper and lower body elements to get you more bang for your buck.
How to: Keeping the band in the same position, grab hold of it with both hands then walk away from the anchor point. Begin the movement when your arms are fully extended in front of your body by stepping back with one foot; as you’re lowering yourself pull the band towards your body in a rowing motion using your back muscles and pause for a second with the trailing knee a couple of inches above the ground. Stand up and repeat on the opposite side.
Why: It’s an excellent upper body power movement that challenges your chest, shoulders and core – plus punching is a great stress reliever.
How to: Stand at 90 degrees to the anchor point and grab the end of the band with your nearest hand. With both hands in a guard position, rotate your upper body and punch forward rotating your rear foot as you do so. Focus on explosiveness.
Why: Why is it common practice to train our abdominals by asking them to generate movement – rotation – when their primary purpose is to resist movement and provide stability? Counter to this mind-set we have the Pallof Press. This is our go-to core exercise here at Third Space. Done correctly this gem will fire the glutes, tighten the abs and improve your posture.
How to: Stand in line with the bands fixed point and turn your body perpendicular to it. Centre the band on your chest using both hands and drop into an ever so slight squat. Push the band straight out in front of you explosively, keeping your body facing forwards, resisting the rotation of the band. Pause for a moment, then return the band to your chest slowly, resisting the ‘pull’ toward the anchor point throughout.
Why: Not only is the resistance band thruster an excellent full-body, fat burning exercise. But it is also great for hip and shoulder mobility. When pressing up above your head try to get you arms behind your ears.
How to: Stabilize your band under both feet and pull the other end up to shoulder height into a front rack position. Drop your butt down as if to sit on a chair, and slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Without bouncing at the bottom, push yourself up through your heels back to an upright position. Then push up until your arms are extended above your head.
Why: This is a safe way to get quick bursts of cardio into your workouts, it’ll help you perfect your sprinting form, and you can do it absolutely anywhere.
How to: With the band still attached to its anchor point place the band around your waist or have someone hold the band behind your back. Take about two to three steps forward applying tension to the band. The further out you walk from the anchor point, the more resistance/tension you’ll place on the band. Start to pump your arms and legs, increasing your pace to a comfortable sprint. Be sure to keep your chest tall.