You've seen those oversize rubber bands in the gym. You scoffed and headed for the weights like some arrogant bastard. Well, guess what? Bands are great for building muscle or shedding pounds. Unlike free weights, they offer variable resistance, adding more tension as they're stretched. They're also a great tool for using at home or for staying fit on the road.
A thicker band builds strength, while a lighter one allows for more reps. Use either a continuous loop band — the kind that looks like a big rubber band — or a surgical tubing style, shown above. Perform three sets of as many reps as possible.
1.) LUNGE WITH ANTI-ROTATION
Tie the band around a secure pole, grab the free end with both hands, and stand to the side of the attachment point (A). Step into a lunge, keeping your arms straight (B). Repeat with the opposite leg.
2.) SIDE LUNGE WITH ROTATIONAL PRESS
Set up as you did for (1) but hold the band in one hand (A). Step to the side and drop into a lunge, simultaneously pressing your arm forward and rotating your torso away (B). Repeat on the opposite side.
3.) BAND-RESISTED PUSHUP
Wrap the band around your back and grab an end in each hand. Get into pushup position, securing each loop under each palm. There should be tension on the band (A). Then perform a pushup (B).
4.) BAND SQUAT
Loop the band over one shoulder and stand on the other end with the opposite foot (A). Squat down while keeping your lower back arched (B). If you're using a surgical band, stand on the middle of the band and hold handles at shoulder height.
5.) SINGLE-ARM PUSH PRESS
Stand on one end with your left foot and hold the band's other end at shoulder level with your left hand (A). Dip your knees and use the momentum to explosively press your arm overhead (B). Finish reps and repeat on right side.
6.) SINGLE-ARM ROW
Attach the band as in (1) and stand facing it with feet staggered, holding the free end far enough away so that there's tension (A). With one hand, row the band to your side like you're starting a lawn mower. Repeat on the opposite side.