Most people are under the impression that a good resistance workout requires a full set of Olympic weights. While heavy iron is a great way to build muscle, it isn’t the only way – in fact resistance bands can deliver a seriously intense muscle building workout without the same space requirements as a full weight set or the need for a spotter.
If you want to build lean muscle mass without the weights – add these six resistance band exercises into your routine.
Squats are often referred to as the “king of all exercises” because of their ability to help pack on lean muscle mass throughout the legs and lower body. The problem most home trainees have with performing this intense exercise outside of the gym is that they don’t have access to a squat rack. Without the proper equipment, front and back squats become difficult (possibly even dangerous) to perform.
Resistance bands make squats exercise for home gym trainees by eliminating any of the safety concerns associated with the movement. Simply stand on the band with the desired resistance and hold the handles by the shoulders (if the band is too long you can put it over the upper arm and cross your hands in front of your body to eliminate slack), squat down to below parallel (until posterior meets calves) then rise back up. Keep your chest up and your eyes facing forward through the movement.
Bench press is another big muscle building favorite that is difficult to perform with weghts if you don’t have the proper equipment. Performing the bench press as a resistance band exercise eliminates the danger and delivers the same muscle building properties.
Lay down on the floor with the appropriate band beneath you, one handle in each hand at the sides of the chest – press straight up, return to starting position and repeat. Three to four sets of 8-12 repetitions will help you pack on muscle into the pectoral region. If you don’t have a yoga mat, carpet or comfortable place to lie down, you can get the same muscle building by flipping over to do resistance added pushups with the bands.
Bent Rows are an excellent exercise for developing a strong, thick back. Simply place the proper band beneath your feet and bend over so that your chest is directly over your toes. Keep your head up and eyes forward and pull the handles back toward your sides – arms should be at a ninety degree angle at the upper most part of the movement.
There aren’t many exercises that build bigger stronger shoulders than the overhead press. This is another move though that carries some risk when performing it with free weights. This forces trainees to use lighter weights and prevents them from reaping the full strength and muscle building benefit of the movement.
As a resistance band exercise, you can go as heavy as you would like on the overhead press to build powerful shoulders without the risk of injury when approaching failure. The movement itself is simple, place the band beneath the feet, the overhead press begins with the handles at the shoulders and ends at full extension above the head. Keep the back straight and eyes forward throughout the movement.
Beyond six pack abs, big bulging biceps are at the top of just about every trainee’s wish list – and standing curls are the way to get them. Stand on the appropriate band with handles at sides and palms facing up. Curl the handles up toward your shoulders, squeezing your biceps at the top of each repetition. Three to four sets of 8-12 reps will help get you on your way to bigger, more muscular arms.
Biceps tend to be the primary focus, but you can’t have big arms without working your triceps as well. Sit down on a chair, stability ball or bench with the resistance band beneath your rear end. Start with a handle in each hand behind your neck with palms facing up and elbows bent. Straighten your arms out toward the ceiling to complete the movement.
Having a dull set of weights at the house is convenient, but can be expensive or downright unrealistic if you live in a small space. Skip that investment and the monthly gym payments and start building bigger muscles with the help of the resistance bands exercises described above.