20-minute workout: resistance bands

The Pro: Meghan Hayden, a Tier 3 trainer at Equinox Wall Street

The Workout: “Nine out of 10 times you'll see me in the gym wearing resistance bands like stacking bracelets up my arms,” says Hayden. The reason has nothing to do with style. “They are versatile and provide enough resistance to make any bodyweight workout insanely effective,” she explains. “Lightweight and portable, bands are also perfect for traveling or when you’re on-the-go.” You can literally do this routine anywhere—and in just 20 minutes. Hayden made sure to include moves that target every major muscle group, including the glutes, quads, hamstrings, core, shoulders, and back. “Moving through the exercises at a fast pace with little to no rest ensures you’ll keep your heart rate elevated to get a fat-burning cardio effect to boot,” says Hayden. For inspiration, watch Hayden demo each of the moves in the video below. Then, scroll through the slides for instructions on how to try it on your own.

Narrow to wide squat jumps x 10

Place the resistance band around your legs just above your knees with your feet a few inches apart (so that there's a bit of tension in the band). While squeezing your core, lower into a squat, push through your heels, and jump as high as possible. Land softly with your feet wider than shoulder-width. Pause, then repeat the squat jump landing back to narrow position. That is one rep.

Low squat pulses (regular) x 10 then with hip abduction x 10

With the band in the same position, sit in a low squat keeping your weight centered over the middle/back of your feet. Squeeze your glutes, insides and outsides of your legs, and core and pulse a few inches up from starting position and back down. After completing 10 reps, contract your glute medius (outside of hip) and pulse 10 times as in first move.

Jack jumps x 10

Maintaining the band position, squeeze your core and lower into a squat. Push through your heels and jump as high as possible. In midair, contract your glute medius to widen the band. Land softly, pushing hips back into the squat position. That is one rep.

Broad jumps x 10

Hinge at your hips maintaining a flat back then push your hips forward, tucking your knees to your chest. Then, extend your legs to land softly into a squat, feet about shoulder-width apart. That is one rep. Focus on slightly pushing against the band, keeping your knees in line with your hips and ankles throughout the movement.

Lateral shuffles x 10

Now, move the band just above your ankles and stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Pushing laterally off your back leg, land softly on the opposite leg with your hip, knee, and ankle in alignment. Reverse the movement to return to the other side. That is one rep.

Low squat "T" walks x 10

Keeping the band just above your ankles, start in a low squat. Stretching the band, step diagonally forward two steps with each leg, then reverse. Step out to the side two steps each, then back the other direction creating a "T" shape with your steps. That is one rep. 

High plank pull-downs with hip abduction hops x 10

Now, attach a resistance band handle to a sturdy object about two feet off the ground. Position yourself in a high plank. Without moving the rest of your body, grab the handle with palm facing the ground and pull towards your body (as in a single-arm lat pull-down) activating your lats and finishing with your palm just outside to your shoulder. Still holding handle place hand on the floor and hop your feet into a wide stance stretching the band. Hop twice for one rep, then switch handle to other hand and repeat sequence. 

Reverse walks to rows x 10

Begin in a low squat facing the band, holding it with both hands, arms fully extended and palms facing each other. Take four steps backward, then pull the band backwards while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then, take four steps forward to complete one rep.

Dead bugs x 20

Now, place a more resistant band around your legs just above your ankles and a less resistant band around your arms above your wrists. Lay on your back and stretch all four limbs straight reaching towards the sky. Activate your shoulders and hips outwards, stretching the bands. Then while maintaining this resistance, reach all limbs down to the floor squeezing your core and keeping your back flat. Return to starting position to complete one rep.