Toning up the whole body to acquire shape and cuts to the muscles, or to increase bodily strength, one needs to work out and exercise regularly, preferably under professional guidance. Exercise rubber bands are made of elastic, and are lightweight, portable, easy to use and store, and inexpensive. Workout routines with exercise bands can easily be incorporated into regular training to strengthen specific muscle groups and condition the cardiovascular system. One can work on all small muscle groups of the arms, chest, back, abs, hips, thighs, etc.
Chest Press: Stand with the feet apart, at least an arm’s length. Keep the posture erect and hold the abdominal muscles tight. Hold the ends of the band firmly, and place it behind the back under the arms, at chest level. Bend the knees slightly, and raise your elbows to chest level. Hold the ends firmly in the wrist, and extend the arms straight in front of the body. Do not fold or bend the elbows while extending the arms straight. Return to the starting position, and repeat the whole process at least 8 times.
Squat: Stand with the feet apart, approximately at an arm’s length. Place the exercise band under the arches of both the feet, while holding the ends firmly in each hand. Stand erect, contracting the abdominal muscles. Bend the knees until the upper legs (thighs) are just parallel and above the floor. While doing this exercise, keep the heels of the feet flat down on the ground, with the body weight over the ankles, and the abdomen contracted tight with the low back in a natural arch. One must be able to see the toes as one bends the knee. Return to starting position, and repeat the whole process 5 times.
Upper Back: Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart, with an erect posture, and contracted abdominal muscles. Stretch and hold the band slightly wider than the shoulder-width apart. With the palms facing the floor, bend the elbows and lift the arms to the chest level. Expand the chest and pull the shoulder blades back and together. Keep the lower body still and maintain an erect posture while expanding chest. Return to the starting position, and repeat 5 times.
Bach Extensions: On a mat, lie face down with the arms straight by your sides, palms facing up, and legs extended. Raise the head slightly above the ground and hold it there. Relax the shoulders, and press it into the floor, keeping the abdominal muscles tight. Contract the abs, and using the lower back muscles, slowly lift the shoulders and chest off the floor. Lower self, and repeat the whole process 5 times.
Leg Abduction: This exercise requires a chair. Stand a step behind it, with both the feet inside the loop of the exercise band, and position it around the ankles. Place one hand on the chair for maintaining balance. Standing erect, contract the muscles, and shift the entire body weight onto the leg closest to the chair. Holding the chair, stay bent at the knee throughout the exercise. Lift the outer leg out as far as possible, keeping the hip and shoulder still and erect. Slowly lower, and repeat at least 4 times.
Lateral Raise: Stand with the feet apart at arm’s length, and place one end of the band under the right foot. Firmly grasp the other end of the band in the right hand, and slightly bend in the elbow. Position the right arm straight down, with the thumb pointing forward. Make sure the posture is erect and the abdomen contracted tightly. Lift the arm laterally to shoulder height, holding one end of the band firmly in the wrist, with the thumb pointed up and palm facing forward. Lower, and repeat 6 times.
These workouts make for very easy exercises, and are effective for developing muscular strength and endurance. They do not take more than an hour, and since the equipment is so small and lightweight, one can always be ready for some workout anywhere, anytime.