For heavy lifters, using a rubber band to increase your strength can seem ineffective. It’s not. In fact, bands often allow you to create resistance for muscles that are not as easily targeted with more conventional equipment, like dumbbells or kettlebells. “Bands are versatile and provide enough resistance to make any bodyweight workout insanely effective,” says Meghan Hayden, a Tier 3 trainer at Equinox Wall Street.
To reap the benefits, try to incorporate one or more of these moves into your regular routine a few times each week.
Stand with feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, elbows bent by sides, with two mini-bands wrapped around your legs—one above the ankles and one above the knees. Push your hips back, hinging forward from the waist, keeping back tall, abs engaged and chest open, and then take a small step forward with left leg, landing on a flat foot (like you’re marching), as you swing right arm forward; left arm back. Repeat with right leg, swinging left arm forward and right arm back. Continue marching forward for 5 to 10 yards, and then reverse the motion to start.
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). 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. Do 10 reps.
Stand with feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, elbows bent by sides, with two mini-bands wrapped around your legs—one above the ankles and one above the knees. Push your hips back, hinging forward from the waist, keeping back tall, abs engaged and chest open, and then take a small step to the right with right foot, pushing band out to side, landing on a flat foot, as you swing left arm forward; right arm back. Step left foot in so feet are hip-width apart again, keeping resistance in bands, swinging right arm forward and left arm back. Continue stepping to right for 5 to 10 yards; switch directions and repeat, taking small steps to the left, until you return to start.
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. Do 10 reps.
Start in plank position (elbows under shoulders, legs extended behind you, abs engaged, back flat), with a mini-band looped around your wrists, palms up, thumbs pointed out to sides. Keeping back flat and maintaining a strong core, slowly push hands out to sides as far as you can; return to center. Do 8 to 10 reps.