It’s important to keep up with your fitness routine, no matter where you go. Even if you’re traveling and don’t have access to a gym, you can take resistance bands with you. They’re light, take up little space and fit easily in a suitcase or carry-on.
THE BENEFIT OF SHORT WORKOUTS
Squeezing every workout into nine minutes isn’t ideal, but it’s far better than doing nothing. This workout is designed to focus on your legs, get those muscles burning and keep you from losing the precious progress you’ve worked for in the gym.
Detraining is the technical term for the loss of strength and muscle you experience if you stop working out completely. A 2017 study, published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, found older women lost all progress from a six-month training program after one month of detraining.
Doing this 9-minute workout helps you maintain your progress. This is a leg-centric workout you can do with bands. You’ll need one mini resistance band and one regular resistance band. If you have the budget to buy multiple bands it can help, because you might want to switch the resistance for different exercises.
This leg workout is based on regular weight-training exercises, like the deadlift and squat, as well as other exercises like side band walks that you can only simulate with bands. You’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds, performing all five exercises in a row without stopping. Then, take a 30-second break and repeat the circuit. Take another 30-second break before repeating the circuit for the third and final time.
SIDE BAND WALKS
This exercise requires a mini-band.
The move: Slip the band over your feet up around your ankles. Stand up with your knees bent, butt back and weight on your heels. Firmly press your right foot into the ground and take a step to the left. With each step you take, move slowly and under control. Take three steps to the left and three steps to the right. You should feel a burning sensation on the outside of your hips. Those muscles are your gluteus medius and minimus.
BAND ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
The Romanian deadlift is a barbell or dumbbell exercise, but it’s easy to switch the weights out for a resistance band.
The move: Take your big resistance band and stand on the middle of the band. Grab the band at the top with both hands. Stand tall and feel the resistance of the band pulling you down. Slowly stick your butt back and lean over, like you’re taking a bow. Try to keep your back flat the entire time. Your knees should bend slightly, but be sure they don’t move forward as you lean over. When your hands reach your knees, stop and stand up tall.
BAND SQUAT TO OVERHEAD PRESS
If you have different resistance levels, you should opt for a lighter band for this exercise.
The move: Stand in the middle of your band with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Grip the band with your hands shoulder-width apart and bring the band up to shoulder height. Squat down, keeping your hands in front of your shoulders. Go as low as you can, then stand up. At the top, press your arms up until your elbows are straight. Then, lower the band back down to your shoulders and repeat the exercise.
BAND GOOD MORNING
This exercise is similar to the Romanian deadlift, but the band will be in a different place. It targets your lower back muscles a little more than the Romanian deadlift.
The move: Step on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place the top of the band around the back of your neck. It should sit right at the bottom of your neck, where your shoulders begin to slope down. Stand tall, then stick your butt back and lean forward. Just like the Romanian deadlift, imagine you’re taking a bow but keep your back flat. You can hold the resistance band on either side for extra support. Keep your knees bent as you go down and your weight on your heels. Keep going until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then stand up and repeat.
BAND BROAD JUMP
The broad jump is a jump for distance, rather than height. It’s similar to the track and field event where you jump into a sand pit, called the long jump. You’ll need to tie your resistance band around a fixed and sturdy object, like a beam or door handle (make sure the door is closed). Put the band around your waist and face away from the anchor point.
The move: With your feet squared up, throw your arms down and stick your hips back. Without pausing, jump forward as you throw your arms forward. Try to jump as far forward as possible. As you jump, the resistance band tugs against you. This actually softens your landing, reducing the impact. It also gives you some extra resistance so you can push a little harder.
Repeat for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds then start the circuit over again.