Resistance bands have a wide range of uses in exercise physiology. They are used extensively to restore muscle or joint strength in rehabilitation after an injury, and they are used by athletes to improve explosive strength in their movements. You can get resistance bands in a variety of elasticities, which is what makes them so versatile. Begin with a gentle resistance, just enough to make your muscles wake up, and gradually move on to tougher and tougher resistance as your muscles adapt and grow stronger. Bands are also the easiest of exercise tools for those on the move—they need almost no storage space and are very light, making for the perfect aid if you want a quick workout in your hotel room, or even in your house, without the hassle of cumbersome dumbbells or barbells (weight training is a form of resistance training).
Photograph by Pradeep Gaur/Mint
This is an advanced body-weight move that strengthens your core, back, glutes and legs, and improves balance as well as lower back and hamstring flexibility. Adding a resistance band does two things: It helps you balance and allows you to master a move that is otherwise very difficult to perform without assistance, and it dramatically boosts the strength aspect, getting even your arms and shoulders in action.
Make a loop with a light resistance band around an object that is above your head. Hold each end with your hands and then step back so your arms can be fully extended, but the band remains saggy. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, firmly balanced on your heels, back straight and body upright. Lift your right leg straight in front of you till it’s at the level of the left knee. The right knee does not have to be completely straight. Push your hips back and squat on your left knee, pulling the resistance band with your arms. Stand up again in a controlled manner (don’t jerk up), keeping your right leg extended. This is one repetition. Perform 10 repetitions without putting your right leg down. Switch legs and do 10 more. Stretch your lower back, hamstrings and quadriceps after you are done.
Model: Nirbhey Singh; Workout details: Ozone Fitness N Spa, New Delhi. Photographs by Pradeep Gaur/Mint
A more advanced form of the traditional crunch, this exercise also builds greater awareness of your body, improves balance, and builds strength in your shoulders, all in one move. It also targets deeper core muscles since the body is suspended and needs to work hard to maintain stability compared to the traditional crunch, where you are flat on your back.
Tie a resistance band securely to a high stable object so that a loop forms at the other end and hangs down to around your shin height. Get on your hands and knees with your back to the loop, and then, one by one, place your feet in the loop. Walk on your hands till your body is parallel to the floor in the push-up position. Brace your core hard and then smoothly pull the band with your feet so your knees come up towards your chest. Smoothly go back to the starting push-up position, resisting the pull of the band. At no point should your movements be jerky. Do 10 repetitions.
Always use a light resistance band for this.
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Coordinated by Rudraneil Sengupta.
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