I’m a big fan of work outs that don’t require a lot of equipment. Sometimes it’s fun to bring out a ball, sandbag, dumbbells etc, but you actually lose a lot of time transitioning between different exercises when you have to keep changing gear. Resistance bands are one of the most effective and cheap pieces of gym equipment you can buy. They even come in different resistance strengths so there is something for everyone. Throw one in your pocket next time you go on a run and then go through this 5 move circuit once at the beginning and once and the end. Bam, cardio, strength and toning completed in one session!
Move 1: Standing Adductor
Targets: Outer thighs, obliques
- Place the band around your ankles and stand with your feet about hip distance apart. Start by anchoring your left foot on the ground. Keeping your right leg completely straight, move it upward about 6 inches. Hover at the top before lowering it. Don’t rest your foot on the floor between reps, just continue the up and down motion. Repeat on this side for 1 minute, then switch feet, 1 minute on the second side.
Move 2: Lateral Leg Lifts
Targets: Inner thighs, obliques
- Lay down on your left side with the band around your ankles. Prop yourself up on your elbow if it’s more comfortable. Keep your body in as straight of a line as possible as though you are between two panes of glass. Move your top leg away from the bottom in a controlled motion. Pause at the top and then return your top leg to hover above the bottom. Repeat 20 x on each side.
Move 3: Lateral Band Walk
Targets: Quads, butt
- Keeping the band around your ankles, come down into a low squat. Make sure you are squatting far enough back that your knees do not come over your toes. Keeping the band taut and remaining in the squat, take medium sized steps out to the left. Keep stepping for 30 seconds, then switch directions and repeat going the opposite direction.
Move 4: Seated High Pull
Targets: Abs, back, shoulders
- Get into a seated position with your legs straight in front of you. Put the band around the toe of your shoe and keep holding on to the band with your palm facing down. Slowly pull the band straight back so your hand ends up directly above your shoulder. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top. Repeat this motion 20 x on each side.
Move 5: Low Squat to Alternating Leg Kick Back
Targets: Butt, Glutes, Hamstrings
- This move is a little easier done near a wall if you need light support during the kickback but it’s not necessary. A tree also works if you are outside! Start with your feet hip distance apart with the band around your ankles and go down into a low squat. Pause briefly in the squat before coming up. Stand up and kick one of your legs backwards keeping the band taut and your leg straight.