The Ultimate Stretch Band Workout
This workout is the solution for any guy who travels for business, lives in a small flat, can’t spare the space for a squat rack or just hates going to the gym. Sure, it requires investing in an oversized rubber band. But consider it the price of freedom: With this band and poster, you can take your workout anywhere, courtesy of Juan Carlos Santana, owner of the Institute of Human Performance (ihpfit.com) in the US. This complete resistance band training plan is designed to help you build muscle, lose fat and stay in shape for life – and you can do it in just 30 minutes, three days a week.
You’ll find two stretch-band workouts here. Choose one, or alternate between them, for a total-body workout 3 days a week. (Rest a day between each session.) Do 4 sets of 10 reps for each exercise, and rest for 1 to 2 minutes between each set. For a change of pace (or extra conditioning), you can also do each workout as a circuit. Simply perform all five exercises in succession without resting. After you’ve completed 1 set of each exercise, rest for 1 to 2 minutes and repeat the circuit 3 or 4 times. Always maintain the highest intensity you can without sacrificing form.
THE MYTH Working out all your stress and rage at the gym will make you stronger.
THE TRUTH Stress less and you’ll be bigger and stronger. Research in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research tested participants’ bench press and squat 1-rep max (1RM) before putting them on a 12-week strength programme. Those who reported low stress levels increased their 1RM by 5 per cent more than those who reported high stress levels. They also gained 3 per cent more muscle. So the next time you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, do some cardio. A study in Psychophysiology found aerobic exercise reduced people’s anxiety levels.
THE SUPERBAND WORKOUT
Equipment: JC ½-inch Superband and JC 11-inch Utility Strap (from ihpfit.com) for affixing the band to doors and other stationary objects.
1 SUPERBAND SQUAT
With your feet shoulder-width apart, step on one end of the band. Stretch the other end up and over your head and rest it across your upper back. Now, perform a squat by pushing your hips back and lowering your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Push back up to the starting position.
TIP: To make it harder, pull the band away from your sides.
2 SUPLEX LIFT
Connect the band to the utility strap and secure it below the lowest hinge on a door. Loop one end of the band around the crooks of your arms and bend your elbows 90 degrees. Step away from the door until the band is taut at a 45-degree angle, and then stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. In one move, simultaneously lower your torso forward and bend your legs until your elbows almost meet your knees. (Your back should stay naturally arched.) Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
TIP: Raise your upper arms forcefully as you move to a standing position.
3 STANDING INCLINE FLY
Connect the band to the utility strap and attach it to a door just above the handle. Then loop the band around your torso and turn around until your back faces the door. Grab the band with an overhand grip, your hands about twice shoulder-width apart. Now raise your arms out to your sides until they’re about shoulder level, and step forward until the band is taut. Maintain a staggered stance, with one foot in front of the other, and keep your arms slightly bent. Without changing the angle of your elbows, pull your hands together in front of your body. Return to the starting position.
4 ONE-ARM STANDING CURL
With your feet shoulder-width apart, step on one end of the band and grab the other with one hand. Hold the band in front of your waist with your arm straight. Now, curl the band upwards as far as you can. Return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Do all of your reps, switch arms and repeat. To add to the challenge, start with a wider stance to increase the band’s tension.
5 RESISTED SUPINE LYING CRUNCH
Connect the band to the utility strap and attach it below the lowest hinge of a door. Lie face-up on the floor with your head closest to the door and your feet farthest. Loop the end of the band around your left arm, stretch it across the back of your neck, and loop it around your right arm. Bend your knees with your heels on the floor, place your fingers behind your ears, and do a sit-up by raising your torso as high as you can off the floor. Lower yourself back to the starting position.
TIP: Perform the exercise as quickly as possible.
THE JC TRAVELER BAND WORKOUT
Equipment: JC Traveler Band (from ihpfit.com).
Secure the band below the lowest hinge of a door and grab a handle with each hand. Step backwards until the band is very taut and your arms are straight, then position your feet shoulder-width apart. Now do a lunge: Keeping your torso upright, take a big step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your front thigh is at least parallel to the floor. Then push yourself back to the starting position and repeat, this time stepping with your left leg. That’s 1 rep.
TIP: Push back to the starting position forcefully.
2 DECLINE STANDING PRESS
Secure the band to the top of a door and then turn around so your back faces it. Grab the handles with an overhand grip and hold them next to the sides of your chest. Step forward until the band is taut, and then assume a staggered stance, with one foot in front of the other. Lean your entire body forward a few inches. Now, push the handles in front of your chest until your arms are straight. Return to the starting position.
TIP: Push the handles towards the floor.
3 UPRIGHT STANDING ROW
Secure the band below the lowest hinge of a door and grab a handle with each hand. Step backwards until the band is taut and your arms are straight, and then position your feet shoulder-width apart. Allow your entire body to lean back slightly. Now, pull the handles to the top of your chest. Return to the starting position.
TIP: Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the handles to your torso.
4 CONCENTRATION CURL
Secure the band below the lowest hinge of a door and grab a handle with each hand, your palms facing each other. Step backwards until the band is tight and your arms are straight, and then position your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back naturally arched, bend your knees and lean forward at the waist until your torso forms a 45-degree angle with the floor. Now, simultaneously curl the handles up and towards your chest. Pause for 1 second, then lower the handles back to the starting position.
5 ABC EXTENSIONS
Secure the band below the lowest hinge of a door. Grab one handle with both hands using an overhand grip and lean forward at your waist. That’s the starting position. Without changing your elbow angles, pull the handle up and to your left by raising your arms and torso, rotating your upper body, and pivoting on your right foot (A). Return to the start and repeat to your right side (B). Then raise the handle straight above your head (C). That’s 1 rep.
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