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A resistance band kinda sounds like a punk group dedicated to political change, but incorporating stretchy bands into your workouts will work your muscles harder. Exercising with resistance bands can enhance muscle tone in both your legs and your arms, improve flexibility and mobility, and help you burn more calories. In fact, many of the moves done with freeweights or barbells can be replicated, arguably more safely, with bands.
The bands come in different shapes, weights, and colors, so you can really tailor your resistance band workout; and most are fairly inexpensive so if you’ve outgrown your original selection it’s easy to upgrade. They’re also lightweight and foldable enough to stash in your tote bag or purse for spontaneous workouts while traveling. Most bands are made to last, but keep them away from sharp objects (such as your ring settings) and if you use them in a chlorinated pool, rinse and dry them afterward. And remember: pulling a band to twice its length will eventually reduce its stretchiness—so it’ll become less effective.
Here are seven great options to get you started on a simple yet effective workout.
Photograph courtesy of Target
Use this band for resistance to boost flexibility and mobility pre- or post-workout, or you can loop it around a pull-up or dip bar to support you on those goal moves until you build the strength to do them unsupported. Comes in a variety of colors and resistance levels.
Photograph courtesy of modells.com
This medium-resistance, latex-free band sports padded cuffs for your ankles. Once attached, you can move through a range of moves that will target muscles from your inner quad to your glutes to your calves and core. Helps fortify those stabilizer muscles that are so critical in balance and athletic performance.
MORE: 6 Ways To Tone Your Butt Without Doing A Single Squat
Photograph courtesy of Amazon
This 1-inch-wide rubber strap specifically targets muscles in your legs. Two loops for your hands and a loop for your foot provide the leverage necessary for deep, targeted stretches. Comes with a downloadable instruction sheet to help you get the maximum benefit. (Ease your aches and pains with these 15 deep stretches.)
Photograph courtesy of Amazon
Hand grips galore! Multiple loops mean you can customize your stretches—maybe your left side is more flexible that your right—as well as advance to the next training level without needing to find a new band. Just grab the next loop and find your next level of flexibility. Use it to improve your range of motion, reduce tightness, and maybe even improve your posture. Comes with an exercise guide.
This non-latex heavyweight band ultimately sports 14 pounds of resistance. Nine grip-point loops allow you to adjust both resistance and positioning for a consistent challenge. Use it to strengthen and fortify your body against injury or as a rehab tool if you’re currently on the mend. Comes with a free app with exercises and programs so you can get the most out of your band. (Psst! You can use a resistance band to tone your legs.)
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