Fit Bride: The Best Piece of Fitness Equipment You are Not Using
What is your favorite piece of fitness equipment? Is it a treadmill, an elliptical, maybe that machine that looks like you are sitting in stirrups and squeezing your thighs together? Or maybe it is a little more low tech like a jump rope, TRX, kettlebell, barbells, a squat rack, or just your own body weight. All of these can be effective in some way or another… some more than others (I wouldn’t recommend the stirrup machine to anyone, just saying).
When looking at a piece of equipment for a workout, you want to ask some questions:
• Do I need to plug it in? If I am traveling or going to be outside I won’t have access to electricity.
• How much do I want to pay for it? I want to get as much bang for my buck as possible.
• Does it come in several different sizes/options, so as I get better and/or stronger I can progress for more challenging exercises?
• Is it comfortable to use?
• Is it resilient?
• Does it travel easily in the car, purse, backpack, briefcase, and/or suitcase?
• Can I get a total body workout with just this one piece of equipment?
Before you choose a jump rope (which by the way is a great piece of fitness equipment and almost fits all of these categories), keep in mind you cannot get a total body workout with this selection. But it is great for lower body strength, conditioning and posture.
I know kettlebells are very sexy right now and are very versatile but they don’t travel well. Have you ever tried to carry a kettlebell with you anywhere other than in a gym? They are heavy for a reason. Unless you fasten your kettlebell into your car with a seat belt, it will go crashing around like the scene in Anchor Man 2 when their RV rolls over and the scorpions and bowling balls slam and crash into Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell.
The TRX can travel well and is versatile as long as you have a sturdy door or pole to anchor it to. You also have to pay an extra $45 for a door anchor after paying $200 for the TRX itself.
Your own body weight is a great tool, but sometimes you need extra resistance to develop more strength and create more metabolic disturbance.
The one piece of equipment you are not using, and I use almost daily with all of our clients, is the flat layered resistance band. I’m talking about the flat, layered rubber bands that are seamlessly connected to make a full circle. Instead of the long strand of round tubing with handles, these flat bands don’t need handles to be used and can anchor to almost anything and anyone to create some fun dynamic exercises. Unlike its predecessor, the tubed band, the flat, layered resistance band is more resilient, offers more exercise variations and doesn’t need handles unless you want to add them.
I was introduced to the flat band by Dave Schmitz aka “The Band Man” about five years ago. Dave demonstrated to me many variations of basic exercises that can be done most anywhere with just your body and a band. I knew the band was something I needed to help my clients, both in and out of the gym.
A pair of bands will cost you about $25.00. Compare the price of two bands to any other pieces of equipment listed above, plus all the variety of exercises that can be done, and it’s not much of a comparison.
Below is a quick flat band workout you can do anywhere. Be sure to you are cleared by your physician before attempting a new fitness program.
• Perform your favorite warm-up.
• Band Split Squat x 10 repetitions each – Hold the band so that part of it rests in your hands and the bottom of the band is resting on the ground. Step one foot into the band and then pull it up to your shoulders and hold it there. Now lower your back knee towards the ground. Repeat 10 times, step into the band with the back leg and switch legs.
• Resisted Push Up Holds or Push Ups x 10 repetitions – Kneeling on both knees, wrap the band behind and underneath your armpits. Position yourself in a plank or top push up position and either hold or lower yourself down and press back up into the top push up position. Repeat 10 times.
• Band Deadlift x 10 repetitions – Lay the entire band in front of you. Step on the band with both feet. Hinge at your waist, while slightly bending your knees and grabbing both ends of the band. While keeping your back straight push your feet hard into the ground and stand up. Repeat 10 times. This exercise is great for posture, your lower back, butt and hamstrings.
• Band Pull Apart x 10 repetitions – Standing with tall posture, extend your arms straight out in front of you with the band in both hands. Without shrugging your shoulders, try and pull the band apart using the muscles in your upper back. Repeat 10 times. This exercise is great for your posture if you have been sitting for a long time.
• Repeat this sequence 2 to 5 times,
depending on how much time you have.
If you are interested in purchasing bands for yourself or fiancé we sell them at our gym or you can purchase them online at resistancebandtraining.com.
Committed to Your Success,