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Workout Wednesday: Using bands to optimize your full-body routine

You don't need a full gym to get a full-body workout. Each week I'll provide tips and tricks to use only your body weight, bands, or small hand weights.

DENVER — Being stuck in your house does not mean you still can't complete a full-body workout.

As a certified personal trainer, I've redesigned all of my workouts for my clients and members to fit within a small room of their homes, using nearly 100% bodyweight, resistance bands and/or small hand weights.

Every day must start with a warm-up. I always encourage dynamic stretching, which is moving while you stretch. 

Use a double-pull for each of your lower body parts. For example, pull your knee to your chest twice, your ankles back twice and your feet toward your chest in a pigeon twice. That allows your muscles to activate and then elongate. A short jog in place or mock jump-rope is also encouraged.

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Today's workout involves rubber resistance bands. These are excellent tools to optimize your full-body workout because they're inexpensive and won't take up much space in your home gym. These resistance bands are great substitutions for hand weights when those are not available at home and come in plenty of different "weights" or resistances.

WEEKLY WORKOUT: (Repeat three times after upper body and lower body sections)

UPPER BODY:

  • Tricep extensions
    • Loop the bands around your hands with your palms facing each other. Place your left hand on your right shoulder. Your right hand can now extend back past your rib cage and toward your butt. Repeat 12x per side.
  • Bicep Curls
    • Return your hands to the starting position with palms facing each other. This time, place the left hand on the right thigh, creating tension in the band. Use the right hand to curl the band from the mid-point of the curl up to the shoulder. This will only work as a half curl, since the band will lose tension toward the thigh. Repeat 12x per side
  • YT back and shoulder
    • Return your hands to the starting position with palms facing each other. This time bring your hands directly up above your head, forming a "Y," and stretch them apart as far as you can. You should feel this in your scapula and the rest of your upper shoulder area. Then, bring your hands back toward your rib cage, spreading them out at a right angle, forming a "T." You will feel this in the rest of your rotator cuff and upper back. Repeat 12x.

LOWER BODY

  • Squat/side step
    • Using the heaviest of your resistance bands, place it above your knees. Squat down in a standard squat, shoulder-width apart. Then step out to the side, and squat again. Return to the starting position by stepping out with the other leg. Repeat this 12 times.
  • Hamstring curls
    • Use a slightly lighter resistance band, and place it around your ankles. Bring the right side of the band around your foot, keeping the left side band around your ankle. Align your knees and kick back or curl back with your right foot. Repeat 12x per side
  • Side leg raises
    • Place the band around your ankles and lay down on one side. Align your body and extend the upper leg into the air. Keep that foot flexed back toward your face and tilt your toe toward the ground. This will add extra work to your hip and gluteus minimus. Lift and lower 12x per side.
  • Plank with side raise
    • Remain in the same position. Lift your body into a side plank and hold for one minute. The bonus move!! Lift your top leg with the band and keep the toe tilted toward the ground -- you'll thank me later!

The most important part of every workout is the cooldown or stretch. Spend roughly 10 minutes on your stretch session, and no less than 15 seconds per stretch. 

Start from the bottom and work your way up, stretch your hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, hips, lower back and quads, before moving to your upper body. Then stretch your shoulders, triceps, back and finish with chest.

Drink plenty of water, especially after your stretch. Once your muscles have been stretched out, they need to be replenished with fluids.

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