5 Simple Resistance Band Exercises

Everyone can benefit from adding resistance exercises into their training program — especially martial artists. These fitness aids can be used for warming up and to improve your mobility.

Resistance training can help with muscle building and strength, and it also improves your muscle endurance. It can help to get your juices flowing before moving on to more intense portions of your workouts. The benefits of resistance band exercises include:

  • Muscular endurance: Fighters need all the muscle endurance they can get since many contests are not decided until the final rounds. Willpower helps to power through these tough moments and muscle endurance does the same. In many cases, the fighter who is less fatigued takes over the contest in the later rounds. Examples of resistance exercises that increase muscle endurance include upright rows and banded deadlifts
  • Explosive power: Attaching a resistance band to your waist helps with developing explosive power. This is the amount of energy you can generate against resistance for one or two seconds. Exercises like banded explosive squat jumps and lateral push-off drills are great for improving your ability to explode. Being able to explode leads to more powerful strikes and it makes it easier for you to escape from unfavorable grappling positions
  • Stronger core: A strong core is essential for many athletic movements. Generally speaking, the stronger your core is, the more athletic you will be. The core refers to a group of muscles around the spine that protect and stabilize it. Your core also helps you to transfer energy from your lower body into your strikes. It’s why bending your knees and rotating your hips is so important when you throw strikes. Resistance exercises that can help to strengthen your core include trunk twists, standing oblique crunches, and woodchoppers
  • Improved range of motion: Resistance bands are great for loosening your joints and warming up your body. Being properly warmed up before workouts allow you to perform motions with better form. This gradually improves your range of motion and flexibility. Examples of exercises that help with your mobility include side leg raises, front to back shoulder rotations, and front openers

 

Warming up for your workouts

Adding resistance bands to your workout routine is a great idea. Start with light static stretches. Hold each position for no longer than 12 seconds. Longer stretches tell muscles to relax – which is not what you want before working out.

You should always start by warming up your back and shoulders when working with resistance bands. Some leg and truck resistance exercises require you to use your upper back and shoulders to hold the bands up. Doing this with tight muscles can be quite uncomfortable.

Here are some simple resistance exercises that you should consider incorporating into your training program:

1) Arm Pulses

This exercise is great for your posture, which helps to improve your mobility. The key to getting the most out of this exercise is not allowing the band to go slack during the movements. Here’s how the exercise is performed:

  • Stand upright with your feet should width apart
  • Place the band around your wrist and pull your shoulders back down. Maintain good posture throughout the motion
  • Raise your arms and keep them shoulder-width apart. Pulse them to the sides

2) Reverse Tricep Extension

Triceps are the largest muscle in your arms, and they are engaged during most motions that involve your arm. Here’s a simple workout that activates them:

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Anchor down one end of the band to the wall around head height with your right hand and grab the other end with your left hand
  • Keep your left hand at a 90-degree angle
  • Use your tricep muscles to push your left hand down slowly, then return to the starting position
  • Repeat the motion 15-20 times for each hand

3) Lat Pull Down

This exercise can work your shoulders better than a lat machine. The key to getting the most out of this exercise is remembering not to over engage your trap muscles while performing the motions. Your neck should be extended so there is space between your shoulders and ears. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab each end of the resistance band with your palms
  • With both arms raised over you, lower both arms to your sides, towards your torso
  • Return to the starting position and repeat
  • Aim for 15-20 reps

4) Resistance Band Bicycle Crunch

Regular bicycle crunches are great for the core and resistance bands make them more challenging. If performing crunches with the band feels too difficult at first, work on being able to perform at least 20 crunches without the band before increasing the intensity of the exercise. Move slowly when using resistance bands to get the most from these exercises. Here are the steps:

  • Wrap resistance bands around both feet and lay down flat on your back. Contract your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulders off the floor and into a crunched position
  • Extend one of your legs while bringing the knee of the other to your chest
  • Twist your upper body so your elbows touch the opposite knee at the top of the crunch
  • Hold the position for two seconds and return to the starting position
  • Repeat the motion on your other side

 

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