Bands and tubing are some of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment available. They can be used from warm up to cool down in developing strength, stability, flexibility and power. Unfortunately, they are also among the most under-utilized equipment on the fitness floor.
When used correctly, bands and tubing can deliver a total-body workout within a limited space and time.
Here are a couple of total body exercises that can be incorporated into any routine:
Bridge - Supine with Tubing/Band
This exercise/warm-up concentrates on hip extension, strength and core stability, with emphasis on abduction.
Begin by comfortably securing tubing or a band, such as the Fit-Strip Band, around your upper thigh, slightly above the knees. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet parallel and arms to your sides. Support your lower back by drawing your abdomen inward, thinking about pulling your bellybutton to your spine. Squeeze the glutes and raise pelvis vertically from floor--maintain glute activity throughout the entire exercise. It is important not to let your lower back arch at any time during the movement. Use a slow tempo (4-second eccentric or negative / 2-second isometric / 2-second concentric or positive) for 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. Do not allow knees to “jut” forward as the pelvis should move straight up and down, while maintaining a level position (picture a glass of water balancing on your lower pelvis to help keep the proper alignment).
Attach a Fit-Tube or JC Band to the top of a door or high on a power rack or other taller piece of equipment in the gym (make sure to pick one of the color-coded Fit-Tubes or JC Band with the right resistance for your fitness level and goals). Maintain a level pelvis throughout the entire exercise to ensure proper kinetic chain alignment.
Stand in a wide stance with the feet parallel, placing your left side closest to the band attachment. Shift your body weight to the left foot, left knee bent, trunk hinged slightly forward, right hip back, and your right leg straight. Hold one of the bands handles in each hand and clasp hands together. Straighten your right arm across your left shoulder with both hands reaching toward the attachment site.
Rotate your torso to the left with eyes and hips facing forward. Make sure to keep the wrists firm and straight to avoid stress on the wrists and forearms. Slowly rotate your upper body and pull diagonally downward to the right with hands toward your right knee. Simultaneously hinge forward at the hips and shift your body weight to the right foot. End with your arms straight, your right leg bent, left hip back, and feet flat on the floor while maintaining a straight back. Hold and slowly return to start position. Reverse the stance and movement to work the body in the opposite direction. Do these total body exercises for 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions on each side.