A band workout is good for toning and improving flexibility. Try these exercises from Tina Gee, a certified personal fitness trainer in Atlanta.
Stand on the band with your feet together. Hold the band tautly about a foot outside your hips in the start position with palms facing in. Your shoulders should be relaxed and arms straight (but don’t lock your elbows). Lift your arms out to the side until they are level with your shoulders. Slowly return to start position. Do two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Secure the band around a stable support (bed or heavy chair leg). Lie on the floor facing away from where the band is secured and grab the handle or ends in both hands just in front of your shoulders. Keep your arms in this position as you slowly roll your torso up, looking straight ahead. Focus on using your abdominals to lift your torso, then slowly lower to the start position. Do two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Wrap an exercise band around a sturdy object at bellybutton height (such as a doorknob). Hold both handles (or wrap both ends around your hand) in one hand and put your other hand on top. With one side of your body facing the sturdy object, step away until the band is taut, holding your arms out as shown. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and abs tight. Keeping your arms straight, rotate your torso and arms as far to the opposite side as possible without moving your hips. Hold for one count, then slowly twist back to start. Do two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions on each side.
Stand with feet together on top of band, with one end of band in each hand. Raise arms so elbows are just above shoulder height, with upper arms and forearms forming a 90-degree angle. Push your hands up and over your head without locking your elbows. Make sure the band goes behind your back, not in front of your face. Slowly return to starting position, with hands just above shoulder height. Do two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Stay in control: It’s easy to let the band jerk you around, but to get the best workout, it’s important that your moves be deliberate. (Note: Exercise bands are available from the sporting goods departments of stores such as Wal-Mart and Target.)
Keep that bellybutton in: You might notice we say this a lot, but it’s good to remind yourself throughout your routine. You’ll work your abs more, which improves core strength and posture.
Don’t forget to bend: Your knees and arms should always be slightly bent. It’s easy to forget and end up locking them, which puts too much stress on your joints.