To Your Health
June, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 06)
Resistance bands are portable, adaptable and inexpensive pieces of exercise equipment, ideal for stretching and core training.
The bands come in various lengths and colors to signify varying resistance levels. Since resistance bands can be used at home, at the office or while traveling, the following exercises offer a convenient workout wherever you go:
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step back about 2 feet with your left leg. Place the resistance band under your front foot, bend your elbows and hold the ends with your hands. Lower into a lunge by bending at the right hip and knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Repeat and switch legs.
Bands come in various lengths and colors to signify varying resistance levels.
Step onto the resistance band with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Grasp the ends of the band with your palms facing each other, elbows slightly bent and arms hanging down at your sides. Raise the band to the side of your body at shoulder height and repeat.
Loop the resistance band under your left foot and grasp the ends. Keep your hands together and extend your arms down toward the left foot. Bring the band up overhead and to the right and extend down toward the left foot in a wood-chopping motion. Your feet should remain stationary while you rotate at your trunk. Repeat and complete the motion in the opposite direction.
Free weights help build strength by simulating real-life movements.
Free weights, such as dumbbells or barbells, are an old favorite for strengthening the core. While weight machines can limit the body's range of motion, free weights more effectively build strength by simulating real-life movements and stabilizing the body. That's not to say weight machines are bad - they just don't work the core as well. Of course, proper safety precautions must be taken in order to prevent injury, particularly when using free weights.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and arms holding weights nearly straight up over your head. Take a deep breath and keep your abs tight as you slowly lean to one side, as far as you can comfortably, without bending forward or backward. Exhale as you return to the center, and then repeat on the other side.
Hold dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing your body. Stand with your feet slightly greater than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward. Slowly lower your body until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position and repeat.