The resistance exercise band is a wonderful way to add a variety of strengthening and stretching exercises to your fitness routine and a terrific way to strengthen the abdominal muscles. You can easily adjust the resistance of the band for each exercise by placing your hands farther apart or closer together. Several resistances are available, so as you become stronger, you can use a band that provides greater resistance. A resistance band is inexpensive and convenient, so you never have to miss your exercise session if you are traveling.
Resistance Band Precautions and Guidelines
• Never hold your breath when performing resistance exercises with a band or weight. Holding your breath increases the pressure in your chest cavity around your heart.
• If you have high blood pressure, check with your physician before doing any kind of resistance exercises.
• When using the exercise band, keep your wrists straight. If you have severe arthritis in your fingers or wrists, you may not be able to use an exercise band, or you may need one with lighter resistance. The exercise band should not stress painful, arthritic joints, or joints that suffer deformities.
• Maintain good posture and good form with each exercise. Move through each exercise slowly. If you cannot do the exercise slowly or cannot maintain good posture and form, you are using a resistance that is too great for you. Begin your exercises with less resistance, and then gradually increase the resistance as you become stronger.
Here are two seated exercises using the band: (A chair without armrests is preferred.)
Scoot all the way to the back of your chair. Reach back and place the band around the back of the chair so that you are holding one end of the band in each hand. Don’t “throw” the band over the back of your head to get it behind the back of your chair as this may result in shoulder injury. Bring the ends of the band to the front, with the thumbs on top of the band pointing forward. Take a deep breath in. As you breathe out, press the small of your back into the back of the chair and press forward slightly with the arms against the resistance of the band. Imagine pulling the belly button to the back of the chair. Tighten the abdominal muscles and keep tightening until you have completely released all your breath and are ready to take the next breath. Then relax the abdominals and the pressure on the band, and repeat the exercise 2 to 4 times starting with a deep breath in.
ABDOMINAL EXERCISE VARIATION FOR OBLIQUE MUSCLES
Repeat the above exercise. While pressing the back into the back of the chair, lift the right knee and bring the left hand toward the knee. The left shoulder should turn toward the right as well.
It’s important to continually breathe in and out with a natural, relaxed rhythm. Never hold your breath or bear down. Breathe in through the nose and blow the air out softly through pursed lips. When pressing the band forward, pull just enough to help stabilize the spine. Remember, these are abdominal exercises, not arm or shoulder strengtheners.