Ready to use exercise bands? Use these tips to get going.
Begin with two 30-minute resistance band workouts per week, suggests Matthews. You can add more training sessions once you’re ready. Make sure to give your muscles 48 hours to repair and recover in between each workout, adds Charlie Goehl, a professor in the department of kinesiology at Elmhurst University in Illinois. This will decrease injury risk.
According to the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), you may be overdoing the exercise if you feel more fatigued than usual, can’t do your workouts at your usual intensity, or your sleep starts to suffer. Take these as signs to use lighter bands or take more recovery between workouts.
Target Every Major Muscle Group
If you’re doing two workouts per week, you should be targeting every major muscle group (the chest, back, shoulders, arms, abdominals, buttocks, and legs) each session. This is in line with the government recommendations, which advise doing at least two days of full-body strength training per week.
To ensure you’re working all major muscle groups, Matthews recommends following a push-pull-squat format each session. At least one of your exercises should be a type of a squat (bending the knees to bring your hips toward the floor), an upper-body push like a push-up (palms on the floor under your shoulders, legs extended and propped up on your toes; from there, bending the elbows to bring the chest to the floor before pushing back up), and an upper-body pull like a bent-over row (gripping a dumbbell in each hand with arms reaching toward the floor; from there, hinge forward at the hips and pull the dumbbells to your sides).
Get Professional Help
If you’ve never done a strength training program before, Steven E. Mayer, MD, a sports medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine in Naperville, Illinois, recommends working with a certified personal trainer, who can teach you how to use bands correctly. If hiring a personal trainer isn’t financially feasible, use instructional videos from certified fitness professionals to learn proper exercise technique.
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