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Useful, portable resistance bands let you exercise anywhere

My stretchy bands are anchored to the hinge side of the bedroom door. Sure, I could take them down but, then where would I put them? What good would they do me in the closet or a drawer?

Keeping your resistance bands out in the open also can serve as a reminder to stay on track with your fitness goals. Plus, that’s one less thing to set up when you decide to exercise at home.

Band work can be done almost anywhere. They are relatively inexpensive and found at most retailers that carry sporting equipment. Since they are so light and portable, you can easily take them with you to the park or on business trips. They come in several resistances to vary the intensity of your workouts.

They also make for fast transitions between exercises. This means that they work well in a circuit setting. Also, you won’t have to waste time on setup moving between leg, back, chest and arm exercises.

Most sets of bands come with a door anchor. It is a strap with a large knot on one end and a loop on the other end. It fits between the door and the frame of a closed door. Anchor points can vary from knee, hip, shoulder and over-the-head positions. This is handy because doors provide for all of these positions. I recommend putting the anchor on the hinge side of the door for added strength.

As a trainer, I like using bands because they teach control. If you want to weather your joints against injury, bands can help. Performing steady, controlled movements can help build tendon strength and condition slow-twitch muscle fibers. Doing the same movement with a little speed can condition the fast-twitch muscle fibers and create explosive strength.

Today’s exercises can be performed fast or slow. I recommend working the slower tempo before moving onto the fast ones. The squat to press is a total- body exercise. If you haven’t guessed by now, I like squats. So many benefits come from doing squats. Learn them and perfect them.

Adding the press by using the band is good conditioning for the core and upper torso. The bands also have a natural way of keeping the body in alignment. Form faults with this exercise can be felt under the bands limited tension. Check out the video online at lvrj.com/trainer to get the visual.

This exercise is taxing on the body. Total body exercises often are. You can fatigue quickly, so pace yourself the first time you try these.

The lat pull-down is a way of working the pull-up form without a bar. I use this for those who can’t do a pull-up yet. I can teach back, arm and core positioning all with this one exercise. It’s not long before there isn’t a band in the gym they can’t use to do this exercise. Then it’s on to something more difficult.

These two exercises work well with each other. Try them together in the same workout or as part of a circuit. Use a lighter band for the squat to press and the heavier one for the pull-ups.

Remember to double-check your anchor points; bands can sting you pretty bad if they recoil in your direction. I speak from experience.

Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. He can be reached at 702trainer@gmail.com. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

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