Workout of the Month: The Heavy Bands Circuit That Works Your Entire Body


Resistance bands were once the low-impact tool relegated to the warmup area and physical therapists’ offices. Now they’re finding their place in performance gyms as a piece of equipment for developing strength.

 

Bands have a few advantages over weights. First, they’re easier on your joints, says Alex Guerrero, body coach for Tom Brady and co-founder of TB12. Here’s why: When you pick up a weight, gravity is always pulling it down. That constant pressure, always in one direction, takes its toll on your joints—which eventually can lead to injury. Bands don’t use gravity to provide resistance. Instead, they create it in whatever direction they’re stretched—above, below, or sideways. As a result, they spread out the pressure on joints, while also activating muscles in different directions and increasing your range of motion, all of which helps you achieve new levels of strength.


Why Real Strength Begins With the Core

Removing gravity from the equation also forces you to remain engaged throughout the entire movement (unlike your fellow gymgoers who let their barbells clang on the ground). That translates to more muscle-building potential in fewer reps.

Try this 30-minute workout, courtesy of Guerrero, two or three times a week.

THE EQUIPMENT

Most gyms have a set of bands. Grab three: light, medium, and heavy. For each move, choose the one that lets you get through the reps, but not easily. Certain moves require something to attach the band to; a lifting rig or a wall-mounted ladder work well.

TRAINER TIPS

Band Together: For a more lifting-focused workout, you can combine bands with free weights. Try doing curls with a band hooked under your foot and nestled in your hand, and a dumbbell on top. You get the added engagement from the band plus the pull of the hand weight.
On the Road: Bands are ideal for travel—a few ounces of rubber can take the place of hundreds of pounds of metal. You can also take them on your runs. Wear one sash-style, find a playground or park bench, and do some strength work along with the cardio.

THE WORKOUT

Perform each move for 20 to 30 seconds, then rest the same amount of time. Move swiftly through the reps while maintaining form. Complete 2 to 3 sets of each move.

1. Lunge With Single-Arm Forward Press

Affix a resistance band to a vertical post (like the side of a rig) at shoulder height. Face away from the attachment point, and hold the band in your left hand. Step forward with your right foot into a lunge. As your left knee nears the ground, press forward with your left arm to perform a single-arm chest press. Draw your fist back toward chest, then press through your right heel and return to stand for one rep. Complete all reps with right foot forward, rest, then switch sides.

Emiliano Granado

2. Squat With Shoulder Press

Stand on the center of a band. Grasp the top of the loop in both hands so your fists are positioned over shoulders. Drop into a full squat. Then, as you rise to standing, press your arms overhead. Lower your hands to shoulders for one rep.

Emiliano Granado

3. Alternating Row

Loop the middle of a band to a vertical post at chest height and hold on to the ends. Step back, creating tension, until the band is taut when your arms are fully extended. Stand with feet hip-width apart. With soft knees and a tight core, activate your shoulder and pull your right hand to chest, keeping your elbow close to your rib cage; pause, then return to start. Repeat on other side. Complete all reps, rest, and repeat.

Emiliano Granado

4. Glute Bridge

Sit with knees bent, feet on the floor. Drape the resistance band over tops of thighs and secure the ends under each foot. Lie back, squeeze glutes and activate core, then press hips toward ceiling. Hold for one second, then lower for one rep.

Emiliano Granado

5. Forward Alternating Punch

Wrap a band around a vertical post at chest height, one end of the band in each hand, with you facing away from the post. Walk forward until the band is taut. Stagger your stance when arms are bent, right foot slightly in front of left. With soft knees and a tight core, jab, alternating arms. Rest, then switch the stagger so your left foot is forward.

Emiliano Granado

6. Bird Dog

Start on your hands and knees in tabletop position. Hook the resistance band around your left foot and hold the other end in your right hand so the band is taut. In a controlled, fluid motion, extend your left leg back behind you and right arm forward. Pause and return to start for one rep. Complete all reps, rest, then switch sides.

Emiliano Granado

7. Band Core Rotation

Hook a band around a vertical post at chest height and hold the end in both hands. Turn 90 degrees so the post is on your left. Step sideways until the band is taut when hands are extended. Widen stance and, with soft knees and core engaged, rotate torso to the right until you’re facing away from attachment point, then return slowly to start for one rep. Complete all reps, rest, then switch sides.

Emiliano Granado

8. Lateral Band Walk

Loop a light band three times and stretch it between your legs, just above your ankles. With your knees bent slightly and aligned with toes, your hips hinged back, and your glutes engaged, take a small step to the left. Pause, then step right foot to the left. Continue stepping on the left, rest, then lead with right foot.

Emiliano Granado

The post Workout of the Month: The Heavy Bands Circuit That Works Your Entire Body appeared first on Men's Journal.



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