A Gym You Can Carry With You – All about Resistance Bands

Keeping in shape whilst you’re traveling can be difficult, especially if you’re trying build muscle or create a toned look, which requires regular resistance training. A lot of areas don’t have gyms, and even if they do then you’ve got issues like language barriers, membership and opening hours to contend with. Luckily, however, there’s a cheap, simple and easy way to have access to a gym-style resistance workout wherever you are – the resistance band.

What are resistance bands?

A resistance band is a rubberised band that can be stretched. As you stretch the band you have to use muscular energy to overcome the bands elastic resistance. Depending on the size of the band this resistance can equate from anything from 6 to 22lb of resistance.

Plus if you combine multiple bands then you can easily achieve upwards of 60lb of resistance.

Why are they good for your training?

The bands allow you to keep your muscles under constant tension throughout a large range of motion, which is one of the best ways to make sure that they grow. This can help you to develop muscle size and strength for a more ‘toned’, athletic look.

How much do they cost?

Very little, a full set will cost you between ten and thirty dollars (£8-24) depending on the manufacturer.

Why are they useful for traveling?

Resistance bands are super light, with an entire set (including handles and attachments) weighing less than 700 grams, so no issues with luggage allowance. They’re also super flexible, meaning that you can easily fit them into your suitcase or backpack.

Which exercises can you do with them?

With resistance bands, you’re pretty much only limited by your own imagination. We’ve found ways to perform dozens of popular exercises. Here are some of our favorites:

Chest Press:  Lie face up with the middle part of the band(s) under your back, grabbing a handle in each hand. You can then press just like you would using free weights. The only difference is that with a band the movement will actually be most difficult right at the top of the press, rather than at the bottom as with free weights.

Squats: Pop the bands over your shoulder and tuck the ends securely under your feet, you can then squat pretty much as normal, though again, the toughest part of the movement will be at the top, which is the opposite of a free weight squat.

Glute Kick Backs:  In the all fours position, secure the band under your hands and attach the other end around your foot (most sets have handy straps for this) you can then kick your leg backwards against the band’s resistance for an awesome glute workout.

Bent Over Rows:  Tuck the band securely under both feet, grabbing one handle in each hand. With your back straight you can hinge your hips to lean forwards so that you’re looking towards the floor. From this position, you can pull the bands towards yourself for a great back workout.

Cable Twists:  If you attach one end of the bands to a pole or solid structure (you can use clips but we’ve found a basic knot works just fine) then you can perform cable twists. Start with your body at ninety degrees to the structure you attached your band to. The band should be at your side and you should have outstretched arms. Rotate your torso so that your upper body aligns with your hips and your arms are now outstretched in front of you. Hold for three seconds then return to where you started. This should give you a great core workout.

Sets and reps

Just like a normal gym-based free weights workout you should approach resistance band training using certain amounts of sets and repetitions. A good starting point is 3 sets of 15-20 reps, which should help you get used to the movements and build some muscular endurance.

When you feel comfortable with that you can try 3 or 4 sets of 10 reps with slightly more resistance. And if you want to change things up and use even more resistance you could try performing 5 sets of 5 reps for each exercise.

I hope this quick guide has given you a few ideas on how to keep training your muscles even without access to a gym. Here’s to looking and feeling great all year round!

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31 thoughts on “A Gym You Can Carry With You – All about Resistance Bands”

  1. What a great idea Agness, I can definitely see that these resistence bands work and they certainly don’t take up a lot of room in a travel bag, wonderful post!

  2. Agness I must say you follow an awesome routine of exercising. You inspire me. I go for a brisk walk but not yet started exercising. You have motivated me and I have to start exercising soon. Great Post. 🙂

  3. John/Kitchen Riffs

    I do mainly body weight exercises, but have always thought resistance bands might be a good idea. Good read — thanks.

  4. lisaiscooking

    I’d never thought of using resistance bands before, but now I want to try all these exercises! Great ingo.

  5. Terri Webster Schrandt

    It is so easy to use these, but surprisingly, so many don’t use them! An excellent post with great info!

  6. Inger @ Art of Natural Liivng

    This is such a good idea! I travel a lot which has made it tough to get on a program.

  7. heather (delicious not gorgeous)

    traveling in general makes it so hard to be healthy. how can i pass up paella for a sad sounding salad? (i love salad but if there’s only caesar salad on the menu then i’m not gonna get it). ANYWAYS, love your tips! my mom has a few, so i’ll have to “borrow” one next time i’m home (;

  8. I recently started using resistance band in my core and strength class. Great video and excellent post. Thanks for sharing.

  9. these bands are so useful for someone like me who a)doesn’t want to go to the gym, and b)has no time to go to the gym! great post!

  10. I love the idea of being able to exercise, even at home, without having to spend a ton of money on equipment. Staying fit shouldn’t have to be expensive, and you have given us an affordable option to get (or stay) in shape.

  11. It truly is amazing how grueling bands can be — if you do them correctly and with a lot of reps. I always pack a band or two when I travel. It’s great not for just working your muscles, but doing more intense stretching, too.

  12. Awesome post! I am starting to feel the flabbiness creep up on me from all the food blogging haha and I told myself it was time to get back into shape. I need to find my resistance bands now! 🙂

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