Jump on the “band” wagon?
Make this the year you decide to grow some new muscle fiber and build strength in your body. I truly believe that most of us do not appreciate how growing muscle fiber (i.e., hypertrophy) can benefit overall health, never mind reshape body contours and create definition through shifting body composition from less to more lean. Not to be a broken record, but here are some other benefits:
- improved blood pressure
- decreased risk of bone mineral loss
- decreased risk of low back pain
- improved performance of daily living activities with less physiologic stress
- maintenance of functional independence
And yes, for those New Year Resoluters who want to lose weight, strength training and muscle mass development can increase resting metabolism (basal metabolic rate, or BMR), which in turn promotes weight loss through increased calorie burn.
So, where might you start? You may not be ready to dust off your barbells and dumbbells just yet. Instead, why not get some colorful bands for the New Year and ramp up slowly? Besides being decorative wall art, resistance bands are effective, easy to transport, and, with a couple of simple attachments, can work every muscle group. Used properly, resistance bands can provide constant tension throughout the entire movement, which can be very effective in growing muscle.
In order to grow, muscle tissue must be broken down through ‘work,’ or resistance. It is by breaking down muscle tissue and allowing it to regenerate (through rest)—gradually increasing resistance as the body adapts—that it will grow in size and definition. This concept of “overload and adaptation” is what certified personal trainers can effect for our clients to help them transform their bodies from less to more lean, with greater definition and strength.
Here are several examples of how the bands can work the body’s major muscle groups. I include instructions here, but highly recommend working with a trained professional to ensure proper form and to assess the right number of repetitions and sets—essential to goals of growing muscle and building strength.
- Grasp the two ends of the resistance band, palms out.
- Step on the band with both feet, spread about shoulder-distance.
- Straighten arms.
- Keep back straight and slowly raise hands toward shoulders.
- Slowly lower arms, so up and down have same 1-2 count.
- Assume start position by placing tube under left foot and resting your left hand on your left thigh.
- Hold tube in your right hand, knuckles out, and bend elbow, bringing arm up so it’s nearly parallel to floor, with elbow slightly above the plane of your back.
- Keep elbow stabilized as you kick your right hand back behind you using a slow, controlled motion.
- Contract your triceps as your arm straightens.
- Return slowly to start. Switch arms after a set number of reps.
- Using a nifty attachment that comes with most band packs, anchor the band in the crack at the top of a door by shutting the door on it. IMPORTANT: the door should NOT open toward you; make sure you are on the side that opens away from you. Otherwise, you may pull the door open when you pull on the band, and the anchor could bean you in the head (NOT FUN).
- Hold the ends of the band in your hands, knuckles up.
- Start with your arms out in front of you, elbows straight and hands above head level.
- Bend elbows and pull your hands back to chest level.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Attach band in crack on hinge side of door or to other stationary object, at neck height.
- With your back to the door, grab band handles, knuckles up.
- Slowly extend your arms out straight. You can put one foot in front of the other, front knee slightly bent.
- Slowly bring your hands back, bending the elbows near armpits.
- Slowly extend your arms again.
- Place band under the arch of your front foot.
- Grasp each handle and lightly pull up on bands until the length of each band feels even.
- Slowly step back into a backward lunge and lower your knee to the floor.
- Keep your opposite knee at a 90-degree angle as you hold up the handles in front of you, maintaining resistance.
- Return to start by slowly pushing off your back foot.
- Repeat on other side after the appropriate number of reps.
Squat with band:
- Stand up tall on the middle of a resistance band. Grip the handles of the resistance band at shoulder height with palms facing forward.
- Keeping your back flat, move into a squat position with control.
- Sit back and down like you’re sitting into an imaginary chair, lowering till thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible. Stick your butt out so that your knees don’t go past your toes.
- Press through your heels and come back to standing. This completes one rep.
So, “hero up!” as my 3-year-old grandson says. Call me for a free consultation and we can get started on building you a new body in 2014!