Use resistance bands for a period under tension workout

YYou don’t have to lift anything heavy to get a great strength workout. Yes, there are always bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups or lunges, that will challenge your muscles. But to take it up a notch, protect your joints, and have a workout tool you can throw in a suitcase, is to use resistance bands.

“Resistance bands work by providing an external force to the muscles without lifting weights,” says Alyssa Tucker, CPT, CES, master instructor of AKT, a cardio/dance workout that uses resistance bands hanging from the ceiling to engage your back and core muscles. . “Like lifting weights, resistance bands can help improve muscle endurance and strength and strengthen connective tissue in joints.”

Tucker explains that the bands’ power lies in their ability to increase “time between tension,” which is the amount of time a muscle is working, either during the contraction (concentric) or lengthening (eccentric) phase. When you stretch a band in a movement like a clamshell, the band’s resistance prompts you to engage your muscles throughout the move, and especially at the end of the range of motion when there’s the most resistance. So the time is more tense!

There are several types of resistance bands, including short loops, long loops, single strands with handles, and others. But the concept of providing a joint stress-free way to engage your muscles carries over from type to type.

How to make the most of resistance band workouts

To get all you can from a resistance band, there are some tips to keep in mind. First is going through that full range of motion—even at its most challenging points.

“Because of the increase in intensity as you reach your full range of motion, a trend can become limited and not move through the full range,” says Tucker. Still getting to your end point will help you balance the body and get the most out of the workout.

Also important is choosing the right resistance band. To figure it out, pay attention to your form: “Choose a band level that’s challenging, but allows you to go through your full range of motion,” says Tucker. “If you’re not sure which level of band to choose, we always recommend grabbing two. You can start with the heavier band and if/when you feel your form start to slip or you’re shortening your range of motion, the lighter one. Switch to band.”

5 resistance band moves for a joint pain-free ‘time under tension’ workout

Ready to start? Tucker has created some of his favorite resistance band moves that will work both your upper and lower body. For this exercise you will need a band with a handle and some place in your home or gym that you can securely anchor. Tucker recommends doing 16 repetitions of each exercise, making sure to hit both sides of single-limb exercises and doing two to four reps of each for a great workout.

Quadruple kickback

This is a great way to add some extra resistance to a glute burnout. This move will work the glutes and hamstrings.

  1. Start in tabletop position on hands and knees, hands under shoulders, knees under hips.
  2. Loop the band around one foot and hold the handles in each hand.
  3. Keep your legs flexed and externally rotate the legs and kick straight back, fully extending the knees, feeling the tension in the band.

Over and unders

  1. Anchor the band by looping it around a secure object at about shoulder height.
  2. Face away from the anchor and hold a handle in each hand with your hands by your hips. There shouldn’t be significant tension in the band (yet!).
  3. Extend the arms toward chest height with palms working toward the biceps, then bend the elbows, bringing your hands toward your shoulders.
  4. With your arms still bent, turn your palms down and then extend the arms straight ahead at shoulder height, working the chest.
  5. Feel the back muscles engage as you bend the elbows.

Lat pull and press

This move works your latissimus dorsi muscle in your back.

  1. Anchor the band overhead by looping it around a secure object.
  2. Grasp a handle in each hand and pull the elbows down with bent arms and palms facing outward.
  3. Extend the arms over the back, then press forward and down with straight arms.
  4. Slowly and with control, extend the arms behind the head.


  1. Anchor the band by looping it around a secure object at about shoulder height.
  2. Face the anchor and hold a handle in each hand, standing far enough away from your anchor that there is no slack in the band.
  3. Pull your elbows back with palms facing each other, bring the handles toward your hips while squeezing your back muscles, activating your rhomboids.

Triceps brachii

  1. While standing in a split position, place the center of the band under your front foot and hold a handle in each hand.
  2. Extend arms by your sides (around hip level) and lean your body forward at a 45-degree angle. The band should have light to moderate tension.
  3. Pulse straight up with palms facing up (resistance will increase!), try not to let the bands drop below your hips.

Or follow this workout to get a great resistance band session:

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