Second only to free weights, resistance bands are sitting pretty atop the totem pole of best portable workout equipment. Besides the travel-friendly shape and size, they’re suitable for pretty much anyone, due to the fact that they’re offered in a slew of different lengths and resistance levels.
Of course, no piece of equipment is useful if you have no idea how to properly utilize it; resistance bands included. And when you’re low on time or resources, pro tips are that much more important. So who better to deliver a foolproof resistance band workout than Kara Tatelbaum, author of Lazy Girl Pilates? She promises these TheraBand exercises are straightforward and won’t get you all tangled up. So get to it.
This exercise is done sitting down. Bust the TheraBand out at your desk or on the couch! Take the TheraBand in each hand and hold between your thumb and forefinger straight out in front of your shoulders palms facing down. It’s important to keep your fingertips reaching long in front of you to keep the line of your arm long to create lean muscles instead of bulking up. Make sure your belly button is pulled into your spine, so your core is activated. Pull the TheraBand apart a little wider than the shoulders 10 times. Then hold for 10.
Get on all fours, knees in line with the hips; hands in line with the shoulders. Wrap the TheraBand around one foot and take each end into your hands. Reach your leg straight behind you, keeping your belly button drawn into your spine and your hips square. Pull the TheraBand tight to create tension. Think of an imaginary kickstand coming down from your hip stabilizing your pelvis. Bend and straighten your leg 10 times, then lower and lift, keeping your movements small and controlled to work your glutes.
Lie down on your back—on the floor, in bed—whatever surface you choose. Flatten the TheraBand and place it underneath your neck at the base of your skull. Curl your head up reaching your nose toward your sternum with the TheraBand cradling your head. Plant your elbows down directly down by your side to create tension in the band. Take 10 tiny curls reaching your nose toward your sternum. Think Pilates-style mini crunches. Your stomach should be shaking. The smaller your movements, the bigger your burn.