Resistance bands really are among the best pieces of home gym equipment you can pick up. Not only are they extremely portable and easy to stuff into a cupboard between uses, but they’re also highly versatile, in that you can use them to strengthen your body as well as increasing your mobility and flexibility.
This quick resistance band stretching routine from Laurence Plant – physiotherapy product company Meglio’s physiotherapy and fitness expert – is a great example of that. As well as working on the mobility of some key joints, you’ll also be strengthening stabiliser muscles as well as some bigger muscle groups. Plant recommends doing three sets of 12 reps for each exercise, taking one minute’s rest between sets.
Targets: Rotator cuff muscles
Good for: Opening up your upper body to improve your posture and relieving tension in shoulder muscles
Secure the band to an anchor around waist height. Face the anchor, grasp the band with one hand and move away from the wall until the band is taut and your arm is extended with your hand in front of you at around waist height. Pull your arm backwards until your hand is past your hip, keeping the shoulder low and the arm extended. Return to the starting position under control. Do all your reps on one side, then switch.
Targets: Deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids
Good for: Strengthening your shoulders and back and reducing neck pain
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a resistance band with your hands shoulder-width apart in front of your body at shoulder height with your arms extended. Keeping your arms at shoulder height, slowly pull the band apart. Bring your hands back to the starting position under control.
Good for: Core strength
Loop the band around a high anchor, such as a door anchor. Face away from the anchor, hold an end in each hand and kneel, so the band goes over one shoulder. Keeping your hands close to the shoulders, bring your bent elbows up to shoulder level. Engage your core and crunch down towards your hips while contracting your abs. Slowly return to the starting position.
Targets: Shoulders, abs, obliques, glutes, quads, hamstrings, back,abductors and adductors
Good for: Rotational mobility and strength
Attach the resistance band to a secure anchor above you. Stand to the right of the anchor with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the band in front of your left shoulder in both hands. Pull the band diagonally across your body towards your right hip. Twist your lower torso as you pull. In a slow and controlled motion, bring the band back to the starting position. Do you all your reps on one side, then switch.
Lateral leg raise
Targets: Glutes, lower abs
Good for: Strength, improved flexibility, balance and stability
Lie on your right side with your legs extended and a resistance band looped around your ankles, with your hips stacked and body forming a straight line. Lift your left leg and keep it straight by engaging your glutes. Raise it as high as you can, making sure your lower back does not arch. Lower it under control. Do all the reps on one side, then switch.