Re-energise your workouts and tone your body with resistance tubing, a timetested tool that encourages cross-training of your muscles. While weights generally rely on gravity to be effective, tubing – also referred to as a resistance band – goes beyond this. Available with handles or without, it’s a multi-purpose training tool that won’t blow the budget. It’s a little easier to manoeuvre with handles and about the same price.
“It offers resistance in countless directions and angles, versus weights that you only lift up and down,” says personal trainer Mark Vendramini. He has discovered that moving muscles in a variety of directions can help reduce repeated stress injuries. The benefit? Over time, challenging your muscles in new ways makes them stronger, more toned and fitter. Studies show that tubing can also improve balance and strengthen your muscles, and is a very user-friendly form of exercise.
Tubing is also inexpensive and wonderfully portable. Tuck it into an overnight bag for weekend getaways – it’s lightweight too – or stash it in a desk drawer for a quick lunchtime workout.
Here’s an all-over routine that will yield stronger, more toned muscles:
WORKS: core and front of upper arms
A. Stand on the middle of the tubing, feet hip-width apart with a handle in each hand.
B. (Pictured) With arms at your sides, rotate palms to face forward. Curl your arms up, keeping elbows close to your body and wrists straight as you pull the tubing up until your palms face your shoulders. Keep abs tight and be careful not to lean backwards as you pull.
C. Slowly return to starting position; resist letting the tubing pull your arms down and lower with control. Perform 12 to 15 reps.
SIDE-STEP SQUAT BICEPS CURLS
WORKS: outer thighs, hips and glutes
A. Stand with feet hip-width apart and the tubing under the middle of your shoes. Grip the tubing’s handles and lift them to shoulder height, elbows tucked in close to your body, palms facing in.
B. (Pictured) Keeping wrists straight, step your right foot a little to the right until your feet are slightly wider than hip-width apart. Do a squat.
C. Stand up and return right foot to the starting position. Alternate right and left sides for 30 reps. For more intensity, do 15 reps on one side of the body, then repeat on the opposite side.
WIDE-GRIP SEATED ROWS
WORKS: core, back of shoulders, mid and upper back
A. Sit on the fl oor with legs in front of you, knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight. Place the middle of the tubing around the soles of both feet so it touches the outside edges of your shoes. Hold the tubing’s right handle in your left hand, and vice versa, creating an “X” shape.
B. (Pictured) Draw your abs up and in to engage your core. Bend arms and raise to 90°, with palms down and elbows pointed out. Pull the handles away from your feet in a rowing motion until your elbows move slightly behind your ribcage. Keep elbows slightly lower than shoulders throughout. Return to starting position. Perform 12 to 15 reps.
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