January 20, 2021
Resistance bands are some of the most underrated pieces of gym equipment out there and the best part is that you can literally bring them anywhere. I should know. I have my own travel pack of resistance bands simply because they’ve become that important to so many of my workout routines.
There are a number of different types of resistance bands, such as pull-up bands (loop bands), tube resistance bands with handles, and mini-bands, which are my personal favorite. Honestly, there is so much that you can do with all of them but for now, let’s just focus on the mini-bands.
Mini-bands are truly a great workout tool and can be made a part of your regimen for a very low price. These bands have the ability to strengthen your muscles, increase mobility and stability, and help correct poor form (I’m looking at you, squats). All resistance bands come in varying strength levels, giving you the option to use the super heavy band for exercises like squats and deadlifts and the lighter bands for smaller, accessory type movements, like shoulder strengthening. For that, check out my workout video below.
There are countless ways to use these bands, but we are going to focus on a few of my favorites.
A great way to help correct squat form is adding a resistance band above the knees. By doing this, you are forcing your knees and hips to spread outward, instead of caving in — which I see all too often. As you push your knees and hips outward, you are able to go deeper into your squat without creating that ... wait for one of my favorites ... "butt wink." A butt wink is when your lower body rounds as you lower into your squat, which as you can imagine will lead to injury.
Similarly, adding a resistance band above your knees as a warmup to deadlifting is a solid way to fire up the muscles in your glutes and keep your knees wide. If you have not picked up on this yet, let me make this beyond clear — your knees should never cave in while squatting or deadlifting. Add a resistance band to the equation and you are on the right track.
Resistance bands are also great for smaller movements that target smaller muscles. Exercises like banded clamshells and glute bridges are key to building strength in the glutes.
To perform a clamshell, lay on your side with a resistance band above your knees. I would recommend using a medium resistance band. Side note: never put a resistance band directly on your knees; instead you want them above your thighs.
Next, bend and stack your knees with a 45-degree angle. Your head should be resting on your arm or hand, then open your top knee — like a clam shell would open — while keeping the foot planted. Keep your core engaged and stable so that when you open the clamshell you are not swinging your body to open the knee, but instead using your core and glute strength to spread the resistance band.
Banded glute bridges are similar to banded squats and deadlifts in that they force you to push your knees wide. These are simple. Start on your back with a resistance band (medium or heavy) worn above your knees. Your knees should be bent and your feet planted on the ground with your weight being in the heels.
You want to set your feet about hip-width distance apart and keep your hands by your side, palms facing down. Squeeze and lift your glutes until your hips, knees and shoulders are in a straight line, hold your glutes lifted for 2-3 seconds and then lower. These are great to strengthen your glutes and posterior chain as well as warm your body up for heavier lifts to come.
I can talk about the benefits of resistance bands all day (I won’t) as well as all the different ways to incorporate them into your workout. They are an awesome way to step up your workouts, add resistance training while traveling and rehab your joints.
Try these resistance band exercises and DM me when you start packing them in your weekend bag like me!