Most men are wary of any exercise equipment not forged in iron, and that’s too bad – especially when it comes to resistance bands, says David Jack, a US-based fitness consultant. Here’s why: Unlike weights, resistance bands create constant tension throughout a lifting movement, recruiting more muscle fibres and accelerating growth. “What’s more, they’re portable, cost about 20 bucks and double as a great stretching partner,” Jack says. (Check out Zanfit Elite Stretch Tube, $15, www.nutritionpark.com.) “Plus, you can do about 200 exercises with them.” Here are four to help you start.
Anchor one end of a resistance band to a squat rack or any sturdy structure at waist height. Do all four exercises as a circuit, with little rest between them. Then rest for 1 minute. Do 3 circuits.
|1. SPLIT-STANCE BAND SINGLE-ARM PRESS
Grip the band in your right hand next to your chest and face, away from the anchor point, in a split stance (left foot forward).
Keeping your shoulders and hips steady, straighten your right arm forward, pause for 1 second and return to the starting position. Continue for 20 seconds.
Switch leg positions and repeat with your left arm.
2. BAND SIDE LUNGE
Take a big step to your right, keeping your chest up and your weight on your heels, as you lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your right knee. Pause, and then quickly push back up to the starting position.
Continue for 20 seconds, turn around and repeat on your left side.
|3. TRAVELLING SQUAT THRUST
Face away from the anchor point, with the band around your waist.
Push your hips back, bend your knees and squat deeply.
Flatten your hands on the floor, kick your legs into a push-up position, quickly return them to the squat position, and jump up and away from the anchor point. (The band will tug you back into position.) Repeat for 40 seconds.
4. SINGLE-LEG STRAIGHT-LEG DEADLIFT AND ROW
Grab the band in your right hand, face the anchor point and lift your right foot off the floor. That’s the starting position.
Bend at your waist, and keep your right leg behind you in line with your torso, until both are near parallel to the floor. Return to the start position and pull the band to your ribs. Continue for 20 seconds.
Switch sides and repeat.