You don’t need to be Arnold Schwarznegger to reap the benefits of weightlifting. In fact, any type of resistance training will bring great benefits. To be more specific, resistance training can increase muscle tissue, bone density, and overall longevity for adults.
While dumbbell exercises are the traditional form of resistance training, other methods can be just as effective. Resistance bands, for example, are portable, easy to use, and easily adapted for varying degrees of strength. Resistance bands are also easier on your joints and have a very low risk of injury - two things that are increasingly beneficial as we age.
If you’ve never worked with resistance bands before or are looking for new ways to integrate them into your workout routine, here are a few moves to help you get started.
Secure resistance band around a stable object (a pole, door handle, etc) and grab one side of the band with each hand. Keep a slight bend in your knees, engage your abdomen, and pull theband handles back towards you. Imagine trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together in the middle of your back. Slowly release the band forward until your arms are fully extended. Repeat 15 times.This exercise targets your back and shoulders, helping you with any type of pulling activity you do on the daily (think holding your dog when he tries to break free, opening a heavy door).
This exercise is helpful for building your shoulder, chest, and core strength. Pushing grandkids in a stroller? You got this!
Secure your resistance band around a stable object and grab one side of the band with each hand. Face away from the band. Take a step forward with your right leg for balance, and then press your left arm out (like a slow punch). Slowly release the band back to a 90-degree angle. Repeat 15 times, then switch legs and arms.
Deadlifts are another exercise that helps with pulling or picking up, this builds strength in your lower back, core, hips, and legs. Include this exercise to help train to safely pick up heavy boxes or suitcases!
Secure resistance band around a stable object, low to the ground. Grab one side of the band in each hand. Keep a flat back, bend at the hips, and push your hips back as if you were trying to touch a wall behind you. Pull the band towards you slowly as you slowly stand to an upright position. Slowly release and return back to the flat-back, bent over position. Think about this exercise as if you were using your legs and hips to pull something toward you. Repeat 15 times.
Working your legs and core, reverse lunges will strengthen your legs for activities like climbing stairs, playing golf, and so on.
Secure band around a stable object that’s about the height of your chest. Hold the ends of the band in each hand. Take a step or two back until there’s no slack in the band, then slowly step back with your right foot into a lunge position, lowering your knee to the floor. Slowly return to standing, all while maintaining tension in the band. Repeat 15 times and then switch legs.
This exercise will help you build strength in your arms, making it easier for you to carry items, open jars, or even swinging your tennis racket
No sturdy object this time - just yourself! Step on the band, with your feet about hip-distance apart. Hold one side of the band in each hand. Keep a slight bend in your knees and brace your stomach (no back arching!). Start with your hands down by your sides, then slowly curl the band up towards your shoulder, slowly lower back down. Repeat 15 times.
Feeling strong one day? Widen your grip on the band and stand further from the center of the band, or further from the point that the band is tied to (the center of resistance). Feeling tired or sore the next day? Narrow the grip and stand closer to the center of resistance. Bands also come in varying colors - each one providing differing levels of resistance - so be sure to try different ones to see which level of resistance works best for you.
Overall, resistance bands are an effective way of adding strength training to your sweat routine and maybe a bit easier than lugging around a set of dumbbells. Exploring Peerfit Move gyms and studios that focus on strength training in your area can help you get in the resistance training swing and feel more comfortable. To look for classes at Peerfit Move-partnered community centers, YMCA’s, or gyms by you, click here to get started!