Listen, I get it!
Working out can be time consuming and expensive, especially if you join a gym and have to travel a ways to get there.
Instead, you may want to consider working out at home.
And even if you don’t have a bunch of space, that’s okay too.
What is Resistance Exercise?
Resistance exercise refers to exercising your muscles using an opposing force.
It works because resistance makes your muscles contract, which builds the quality and strength of your muscles. This ensures that you are building the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding your joints (and also strengthening your bones in the process).
Resistance exercise can be in the form of free weights, machines, tubes, resistance bands- anything that makes your muscle to overcome a resistant force.
In the below exercises, we are using resistance tubes with handles and resistance bands. They are a great low-cost, small-space option to getting your workout in at home, anytime.
Resistance Exercise #1: Front Squats
1. Place your feet on top of the band shoulder width apart.
2. Hold the handles with an overhand grip and bring them up to shoulder height.
2. Squat as far down as possible, making sure your knees don’t go over your front toes.
3. With power, explode up and return to a standing position
4. Do 4 sets of 12 repetitions.
Why the front squat?
Front squats work your entire lower body and will help with your strength and balance. It also works your core because it requires you to stabilize your mid-section throughout the entire movement.
Resistance Exercise #2: Overhead Press
1. Place your left foot on the band and step your right foot slightly in front (about a foot).
2. Raise your arms until you reach full extension, with your hands above your head and palms up.
3. Return your arms back down to starting position, slowly. Your elbows will be bent and at shoulder level.
4. Repeat for 3 times 10 reps.
5. Switch legs and repeat.
Why the overhead press?
The overhead press works your shoulders and triceps. This exercise also develops strength and stability in the abs, lower back, glutes and upper thighs, which are all important to reduce fracture risk. As your balance and strength increases, your risk of falling and fracture risk decreases.
Resistance Exercise #3: Open Clamshell
1. Tie your resistance band together around your thigh, just above your knees
2. Lay down on your left side with knees slightly bent and your legs stacked.
3. Extend your left arm to rest your head upon.
4. Keep your feet together and lift your right leg as far up as possible, without your feet separating.
5. Lower down and return to starting position
6. Do 12 reps on each side, twice.
*Intensify this exercise by squeezing your glutes (buttocks) 2-3 times in the open clamshell position.
Why the clamshell?
This exercise targets your hamstring muscles and glutes, which are key for a healthy back and to stabilize your knees. If you sit for long periods (at a desk job, driving or something else that requires a lot of sitting) your glutes are in a stretched position and aren’t being worked.
Resistance Exercise #4: Push Up
1. Place the resistance band across your upper back and loop the ends of the band through each thumb.
2. Get in plank position and lower yourself to the ground, facedown.
3. Contract your core and glutes and push straight up until your arms are fully extended.
4. Lower back down until your chest touches the floor
5. Do 5 to 20 repetitions, depending on your strength.
*Modification: if you are unable to do multiple pushups this way, don’t sweat it! You don’t want your technique to suffer as it will place stress on your spine. Modify this exercise by putting your knees down and pushing up from there.
Why the push up?
The push up is a full body workout. It uses a large number of muscles, including your legs to complete the action. When you perform pushups you are engaging your core, your legs and your arms. For more, Greatist has an additional 32 resistance band exercises.
Resistance Exercise #5: Lunge with Overhead Extension
1. Raise your right arm with resistance band above your head. With your left arm, go behind your back and grab the band.
2. Lunge forward with your right foot. Make sure you heel and knee are parallel.
3. As you lower, pull the resistance band with the overhead hand.
4. As you come out of the lunge, bend your elbow and release the tension of the resistance band.
5. Do 12 repetitions, then switch legs. Do each side twice.
Why the lunge?
The lunge mostly targets the quads and glutes, but it also works the hamstrings, calves and core too. Lunges help with your balance and coordination because it is a ‘unilateral exercise,’ meaning that it trains one side of your body, independent of the other. It also increases the flexibility in your hip flexor muscles, which are chronically tight in today’s common sedentary lifestyle.
And remember – it’s not where you are now, but where you want go that matters!
* The exercises above use both resistance tubes with handles and resistance bands. Depending on your strength, you can get higher resistance bands and tubes. The different colors signify different resistance strength. You can buy these at any sporting goods store near you.