If you think not owning dumbbells and kettlebells is an excuse to skimp on exercise, think again! You don’t need a lot of bulky equipment to turn up the intensity on your at-home workouts. Resistance bands take up hardly any space at all, and can amp up just about any bodyweight exercise. From bicep curls to planks to shoulder presses, adding resistance to these moves will help you build muscle endurance and strength.
Special Deal: Rubberbanditz Gym-in-a-Bag Kit ($45)
But which bands should you snag? The Rubberbanditz Gym-in-a-Bag Kit is our top choice. This super-durable and space-efficient pair is perfect for squeezing in a workout at home or while traveling. The portable pack comes with three different pairs of bands — ranging from light to medium to heavy resistance — plus an accompanying workout DVD. There’s also a door strap, two carabiners and two soft hand grips to help you attach the bands to a door or pole. With up to 250 pounds of resistance, you can tone and sculpt your body from head to toe — anytime, anywhere.
To help get you started, try these challenging moves.
3 Simple Exercises You Can Do With Resistance Bands
1. Plank Jacks
Targets: Core and glutes
How to: Loop a resistance band around your ankles and get into a push-up position. Your hands are shoulder-distance apart, and your hips lifted so your body is in a straight line (a). Squeezing your glutes and engaging your core, jump your feet out to your sides and jump them back in (b). Do 8-10 reps, while keeping your core tight throughout the entire movement.
2. Squat to Shoulder Press
Targets: Legs, glutes and shoulders
How to: Stand over a resistance band with your feet hip-distance apart. Hold both ends of the bands with your hands and raise them to shoulder-level (a). Sit into a deep squat, while keeping your hands by your shoulders (b). As you come up to stand, press the resistance bands up overhead until your arms are fully extended (c). Do 8-10 reps.
3. Lateral Lunge to Bicep Curl
Targets: Legs, glutes and biceps
How to: Loop the resistance band around a pole or the knob of a door. Hold onto one end of the resistance band with both hands and stand with feet hip-distance apart (a). Take a big step away from the anchor with your outside foot, toes pointing forward, hinging at the hips as you sit back to lower. The leg closest to the anchor should be straight, and the outside thigh should be bent, thigh parallel to floor. Be sure your knee doesn’t extend past your toes (b). As you come up to stand, perform a bicep curl and lift the band to chest height (c). This is one rep. Do 8-10 reps.
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