Resistance bands are among the easiest and cheapest ways to get in a strength workout. Not only is the elastic tubing inexpensive, it’s easy to throw in your car or pack when you travel and can be used just about anywhere.
What’s more, research has shown that resistance band workouts are comparable to traditional weight training in terms of both boosting muscle strength and zapping body fat. In fact, they can allow you to better target certain muscle groups above and beyond what you could do with free weights. This comes in handy for not only improving strength, but also addressing injury rehab and prevention.
This workout is tailor-made for runners who are looking to improve muscle- and connective-tissue strength and combat injury.
Use a flat and thin band:
Perform this circuit 2–3 times twice a week.
Loop the band around something stable. Sit on the floor with your right leg extended in front of your body and your left leg bent with that foot flat on the ground. Place the band around your right foot and pull your toes back toward your body and then return to the original position in a pumping motion. Repeat 15 times on each side.
Loop the band around something stable and low to the ground. Stand to the right of the post and put the band around your left ankle. Slowly sweep your left foot across your body until the band provides a good amount of resistance. Bring your leg back across your body and repeat 10 times before switching sides.
Lateral Band Walk
Place the looped band around your ankles, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. With your left foot planted, step your right foot to the right until the band is fairly tight. Be sure to keep your feet parallel to one another when you plant the right foot. Then move the left foot toward the right to return to the original position. Repeat 10 steps in one direction and 10 in the opposite direction.
Use a tube band with handles:
With the prior moves, do these 2–3 times twice a week.
Standing Chest Press
Find a stable, vertical post and secure the band at chest height. Face the opposite direction and hold one side of the band with each hand. Place one foot in front of the other and bend your knees slightly to stabilize your body. With your hands at chest height, push them out in front of your body until your arms are straight. Do 15 reps.
Sit on the floor with legs extended. Secure the band on a stable, vertical post (or wrap the end around your feet) and hold each end with your hands. Be sure your back is straight and your core is engaged. Bend your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together to row toward your body. Do 15 reps.
Put the band around a pullup bar or overhead beam that is sturdy. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Pull the band down with both hands, bringing each end toward your thighs. Do 15 reps.