Movement, working out, exercise… call it what you want. It and I (is that how you say it?) have a very special relationship.
Movement is partly what saved me from a life-strangling eating disorder. When I’m not moving, long story short, it is often a slippery slope to the land of sorrows, depression, and anxiety. There is something so amazing about feeling strong, feeling alive, and feeling in my body. I love exploring movements. I love being creative and pushing myself in a way that can best serve my body.
But too much of anything can be a bad thing – even exercise. As I get older I’m more conscious of my joints, my bones. I’m trying to stay pain-free, not just trim and fit.
About two years ago, I took a very bad fall and it landed me a slow recovery and a body that felt like it was well into it’s 70’s or 80’s. Muscles wouldn’t let go of the trauma, and I started to develop imbalances that were wreaking havoc on my body that I fought so hard to keep living in.
Rediscovering resistance bands was one thing that jump-started my body’s recovery and really began to heal my injuries and imbalances without pushing it too hard (and I had no intention of being as big as the Incredible Hulk). Resistance bands are an unappreciated piece of exercise equipment. So many get sucked into believing that the more expensive, the better. Truth be told, bands are great! Think of them as one step up from bodyweight exercises and super nurturing to your joints!
How do resistance bands work?
Unlike weights, resistance bands don’t rely on gravity. The more you stretch the bands, the more they resist your movement. Want to work harder? Increase the stretch in the band! When you work with a free weight, you can only go as far as your joint will allow. With a band, create more resistance and you have just increased your workout. I love resistance bands because you can get way more creative than you can with weights. And they are so portable!
Here are some of my current favorite moves when it comes to working with resistance bands:
Resistance Band Exercises
Foot Work with Resistance Bands
Place a tied resistance band about the length of your forearm and place it over the balls of your feet. Stretch the band just enough so there is no slack. Keeping a tall body (no rib thrusting or booty pushing), start to march in place. Really work to lift your knee without leaning back or tipping forward. March in place 30 times.
Next ground into one leg and keep a strong neutral rotation on the leg (pit of the back of the knee pointing back and on dumping into the hip), engage your glute and press out with the opposite leg for a lateral lift. Think about kicking out with the heel, not the toes (almost like internal rotation). Do this 10-20 times on each side.
Standing strong in neutral, feet grounded and no rib thrusting. Place your fists inside the tied off resistance band. First anchor your elbows at your sides and press out with both fists (the movement comes from the elbow) on an exhalation.
Try this for 10-20 times. Next keeping your upper body strong and stable pull one fist up and one fist down, like your arms are marching in place. Do this 10-20 times. Finally pull your fists diagonally and then back to center 10-20 times. Notice which arm is stronger and tune into making sure you don’t dominate the movements with that stronger arm.
This was a lifesaver for me because my left hip and hamstring weren’t cooperating, and my right glute was weak (very unstable pulley system). Place the tied off resistance band around your ankles (shoes optional) and walk 30 paces forward and back in the following ways:
Wide Monster Strides (pull the band as wide as you can comfortably and walk forward and back)
Normal Walk (Walk in a normal hips distance and stretch the band with enough resistance when you walk)
Diagonal Walk (Step to the right one foot at a time, then to the left, alternating forward and back)
Sideways Walker (Create a slight squat and step foot to foot to the right, then to the left)
So many think their workout has to be at the gym in workout clothes and X minutes long to be “worth it.” Here’s the thing: I carry my bands with me in my car. Yes, I do a three-minute workout here or there and it all adds up! To step out of the box, you have to start to think out of the box!
And you might as well add resistance bands into that thinking too!
Don’t have bands? I got you covered! Grab this kit and join me!