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55 Resistance Band Exercises and Workouts You Can Do at Home

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Resistance bands have gone from being overlooked in the gym to becoming one of the most widely used devices in home and outdoor workouts that dominated fitness trends during the Covid-19 pandemic. Eventually, over the past year and a half, bands got by and became valuable for both their utility and wide availability as supply chains made it harder to find weights. Now is the time to consider how to keep them permanently in your routines while you go back to more typical training protocols.



a woman smiling at the camera: Can't find any dumbbells or kettlebells?  Build muscle, size, strength, and athleticism (and increase flexibility as well) with these resistance band exercises.


© Nicola Katie – Getty Images
Can’t find dumbbells or kettlebells? Build muscle, size, strength, and athleticism (and increase flexibility as well) with these resistance band exercises.

The stretchy, rubberized tools are ultimately more useful than just replacing other, heavier equipment like dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells. Sure, bands take up less space in your home and are not a problem for training on the go, and even the toughest band is much cheaper than the cheapest set of adjustable weights. But the benefits of a resistance band go beyond mere convenience and cost effectiveness.

For one thing, bands are incredibly versatile. With just your body weight and a band, you can train important movements like pushups and squats. Do you need resistance? Stand on your band to curl, squeeze, or row it, or attach it to an anchor point (just make sure it’s secure and stable to avoid mishaps) and you can do all kinds of pulls Doing stretches, and more. Resistance bands give you the opportunity to hit almost every muscle group in your body – if you’re willing to work hard and be a little creative with your surroundings.

The possibilities are endless. Here is your resistance band primer.

Why resistance bands work



a man who holds up his hands: macho man who trains with resistance bands against corrugated iron


© J. Ivan Rodrguez Pacheco / EyeEm – Getty Images
Macho man training with resistance bands against corrugated iron

Even if you have dumbbells and kettlebells at home or can do simple body weight movements, having a resistance band close to your workout can have significant value.

Why? Two words: adaptation to resistance. The further you pull a resistance band, the more it “resists” you in the truest sense of the word. This is a different type of resistance than a dumbbell, for example.

Do a bicep curl. Curl the bar up and there comes a point where the curl actually becomes “easy” for your biceps, near the top of the motion. The length of the lever that challenges your biceps decreases as you finish the exercise, which means that gravity can no longer be a challenge with the dumbbell (and your muscle no longer needs to exert as much force to do that challenge to manage something).



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Do the same curl with a resistance band and as you get closer to the top it doesn’t get any easier; Instead, you have to work to earn the pressure at the top of the curl. The stretched ligament will fight you more, forcing you to accelerate through the entire range of motion, and challenging your muscle fibers in a different way. You need to tense your muscles extra hard to combat banded resistance, a habit that will also improve your weight training.

Does that make bands better than dumbbells? No. But both tools can have a place in your workout, and both tools can complement each other in the large workout scheme. However, one tool (tip: not the dumbbell) is so small that you can easily fit it into your backpack on every road trip.

The best ways to use ribbons

All of this makes resistance bands a high quality option for any workout. But just like you might mix up barbells, dumbbells, and cables at the gym, ideally you want to mix your workout with resistance bands too. Try these approaches with bands (and know there are many more).

Full training: Yes, you can use resistance bands for a full body workout; they will challenge and push your body. Depending on the size of your resistance band, you might not be able to do some of the moves that you want more challenging, like deadlifts and squats, to be incredibly difficult. In each full-body session, aim for a pull movement (a row or a pulldown or curl), a push movement (a push-up, overhead, or triceps pressdown movement), and a leg movement (a squat, deadlift, or lunge).

Finisher: If you have access to dumbbells and barbells, or if your body weight is advanced enough to handle one-sided challenges (think of pistol squats and pushups), consider using bands towards the end of your workout. They are a great way to encourage active and aggressive chest squeezing while doing a push-up.

Drop sets: A great way to use ribbons at home is to use them in dropsets. In a dropset, you start with a heavier weight (or a more difficult version of a movement) and then “fall” into a lighter weight or an easier version of an exercise. Since you are exhausted from the initial work you put into the harder movement, the easier movement feels heavier. Try squats. Do 10 squats with resistance band, holding the band under your feet and with your hands on your shoulders. Immediately release the band and do 10 standard squats. Do 3 sets. Enjoy the burn.

The resistance band moves

Combine these movements to create resistance band workouts that you can do anytime, anywhere. And when in doubt, remember to think the whole body (a pulling movement, a pushing movement, a leg movement).

19 starter moves

Start with these 19 movements from David Jack, creator of MH’s Muscle After 40 program. They hit your whole body in all directions. The list is highlighted by a multitude of critical back movements: split stance rowing, reverse fly, single arm reverse fly, and the classic bent over.

Pallof press

You’ll rock your abs on this classic ab exercise that uses banded resistance to challenge your core against all rotations.

12 belt movements anytime, anywhere

Trainer Sean Garner, creator of the 6-week sweat-off, takes many of Jack’s ideas and adds 12 new moves for you, including a banded monster walk that lights up your glutes and a banded jump squat that becomes’ Teach you to create a lower body explosion.

Triceps Press Down Countdown Series

This step from Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS, is about isolating your triceps and reinforcing the idea that your triceps need to work with your arms extended too.

Video: The Benefits of Resistance Bands will make you rethink whether you need weights (shape) at all

The benefits of resistance bands will make you rethink whether you need weights at all

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Shoulder warming with a rotator cuff

Attack the small, supportive muscles in your shoulders and make your upper body equally bulletproof with this series of movements for bench press and pull-ups.

Mobility wall squat

Not every movement with ligaments is about pure muscle mass. The Mobility Wall Squat opens your hips and improves your squat shape and technique.

Banded core series with hollow support

This is all about abs fighting both rotation and stretch (can you contract your core no matter how the band pulls you?). It looks easy. However, it is not.

Triceps series with a hollow handle

Here you train your triceps and get valuable abdominal muscle work.

Half-iso knee knee with straight arm, pulldown

This one will brighten your back and there are a lot more abs challenges than you might initially expect.

Hollow Hold Fly to Banded Pushup Finisher

We refer to this as the finisher, but it can easily be a key element in any chest workout as well. You will roll around on the floor and build muscle too!

Chaos Band L-Seat Chinup

This is not for the faint of heart, and it certainly isn’t easy. Build on it. If you dare

Alternating Mass Pound Press

This will build your chest and challenge your core at the same time. And yes, it’s fun to hit the floor.

Crucifix Arm Finisher

A resistance band, a structure, lots of biceps and triceps pumping fun.

Half-kneeling row of archers

Bulletproof your shoulders and use that to build some middle back strength (and also more abdominal strength than you think).

Partner hollow body Pallof game

Grab a partner and bring some fun (and serious anti-rotation challenge too!) Into your workout with this graduation game.

Plank triceps kickback

Yes, with ribbons you can grow your arms and tone your abs at the same time! You do that here.

Breast fly finisher

Find two posts and get ready to burst your chest with this movement that involves squeezing the center of your chest.

Pull face

The face pull, if done correctly, will brighten your back and bulletproof your shoulders. Fun fact: preferably with bands.

Lateral increase in the resistance band

Add depth to your shoulders with this simple resistance band movement.

Resistance band athletic moves

Build speed and athleticism with these moves from trainer Gerren Lilles.

Triceps Pressdown Series with Ribbons

Another movement that will push your triceps to the limit, forcing you to take the position with your arms extended.

Banded hamstrings

This movement increases the size and strength of the hamstring. And you don’t need a lot of space for it.

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Men’s Health

Zack George on Coming Back From Injury To Totally Dominate the NFG

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Zack George last performed live in January 2020. Then the world turned into the COVID vortex, which was just slowing down. The events and competitions that are the motivational elixir of life for elite CrossFit athletes have all been moved to online formats, with Zack and his peers training in their own gyms and submitting videos for official review. Many top athletes have reported that, as you can imagine, it just wasn’t the same.

Zack stepped on the floor of a live competition for the first time since the pre-lockdowns at the National Fitness Games earlier this month. He won dominantly, which is even more notable after a hip injury that eliminated him from the online CrossFit semi-finals in May of this year.

The Men’s Health SQUAD team was there to see Zack crush the first two workouts on his way to the title, and a few days later spoke to him about his thoughts on what had happened, how it felt to do that again what he loved and his crucial advice on how to get the most out of your performance when you compete in your first competition of your own.

Read the full, exclusive interview and find a workout from Zack below so you can train like the champion.

MH: How does the body feel?

ZG: Actually quite good. I thought I was going to feel a lot more sore. To be honest, I’m a bit surprised at how good I feel.

When we talked on Friday evening, you had just won the first two events of the weekend. How many have you won in total?

I managed to win five out of six so I was a little disappointed not to win all of them. I finished second in the deadlift, bike, and power snatch. I thought my judge gave me two reps and I didn’t question it at the time, but when I asked her about it she said I didn’t have any. So she miscounted in my repetitions. So Reggie [Fasa] won that.

How long were you there for the first time live?

A year and a half? Maybe even longer. I went to Strength In Depth as an individual long before COVID. It feels like it’s been a lifetime.

How much did you miss it

It’s one of those things that you don’t know how much you’ll miss it until it’s gone. When the gyms all closed during the lockdown, people suddenly realized just how much they relied on the gym for mental health, not just physical health.

After just doing online competitions for so long, forget what it is like to compete in person. It’s a strange feeling. They don’t know if you actually miss it or what it feels like to stand in front of a crowd or against other physical athletes.

Going to this competition was a little nerve wracking just because I hadn’t done it in so long. I realized how much I missed it. That spurs us on as athletes and drives us on. It’s our passion to compete live in front of an audience and on the main stage you push so much harder. It gave me a huge boost in motivation.

Do you consider yourself a “gamer” who is successful in live competition?

Yes, definitely. I think I’m a pretty smart athlete who knows how to properly set up workouts and get them right the first time. Take the first workout at NFG which was rowing and running. Since I was in the final heat, I had the advantage of being able to see everyone else in the earlier waves. So I knew what the current fastest time was and worked out the splits. I had to do every lap in 2 minutes 50 seconds and get under the time.

I like this quick strategy element the most. For example, if you’re competing online in the Open, it doesn’t matter if you screw up three times as you can repeat the workout. But when you compete live, you have to get it right the first time. And I love that print.

You looked incredibly relaxed at those first two events, considering it was your first time performing live in such a long time …

Since I’ve been in sport for so long, I always practice my pace and make sure my laps are constant. You could see who the people are who aren’t competing as often as they were flying through the first workout trying to win it. But then they totally die and each round takes longer and longer. You cannot recover.

I’m lucky enough to be sponsored by G-Shock so I set my watch on the intervals I knew would win my workout, and as long as I was on the next lap before it beeped, I knew that I would be on the right track. I always control my time, but it’s a great feeling to have that buzz on your wrist when you’re well into the next lap. It’s such a good tool to use.

Am I correct in thinking that you are setting a new PB in the Squat Clean Event?

Yes. It was an 8kg PB and I felt like I had a lot more in the tank. My PB-Rein was back in 2018 and that’s not because I haven’t had the strength to beat it since then. But because I know that in a competition I need 155 kg to win, I just lift 155 kg. If I don’t have to push for a new PB, I won’t. I don’t do the maximum unless I have to and in training I don’t want to walk 100% because of the risk of injury and the stress on your joints.

On NFG, Dan Tai hit 165. Reggie failed on 165 so he logged his good build of 160. I had lifted 157.5 so by the time I went into the final exercise I knew I would have two events remaining when I got third or above, had mathematically locked the competition win. What I did on my second lift.

So I thought I’d jump the hell on 168 and then make it very comfortably. If I had felt a pull in my hip or knee on the second lift, I would have made it and would have been happy with third place, but everything felt great. So I think that in the future a clean of 175 kg is in there.

How much confidence that your hip was fine?

It was big. I haven’t lifted more than 140kg in training in the past three months so getting a new PB has been very rewarding. Both that all the accessory work I’ve done paid off in terms of strength and that my body can withstand the strain.

The whole competition was very leg dominant. It was brutal on the legs. Rowing and running, then wattbikes and deadlifts, assault bikes and thrusters, wallballs … everything was long-legged. Having so much volume on my lower body and feeling good was a great confidence factor.

What was the toughest training for you?

The first two competitions were back to back with a five minute break in between. After running and rowing the first workout, I thought I went out too hot and my legs felt chipped. But those five minutes were enough time for me to recover. In the second training [rowing and sandbag carries] it all came down to mental strength. It’s not that the sandbag weighed so much that you couldn’t physically walk. The only reason people left was because their legs were burning so badly. But you can mentally block that out. For me, the only reason I started running as soon as I had that sandbag on my shoulder was because I was mentally broken. And I wouldn’t let that happen.

Do you feel that with the win you are well equipped for the season?

It does. It gives me confidence when I go to my next one, the Madrid Crossfit Championship in October, knowing that my body can handle the load. It’s a tremendous thing mentally – to be sure of your ability to handle the volume.

What advice would you give to a first-time competitor?

The first thing you should do is make sure that you really enjoy the weekend. Lots of people put a lot of pressure on themselves and take it all too seriously. If you make a mistake, you dwell on it and in the end have not enjoyed anything from the experience. Nerves are normal, but don’t be too strict with yourself.

Second, try to take away a lot of the things that you have learned. Perhaps it is a weakness that you would like to leave and work on. Or maybe it is something that you are much stronger at than you thought you were. You may find that you need a better pace for longer workouts, or you need to be able to push harder at sprint events. Incorporating these lessons into your training is key to improving your next competition. It’s half the battle.

Third, consider your diet. It’s so important and a lot of people get it wrong. You need to pack enough easily digestible and easy-to-eat foods. My goal is always to have one proper meal throughout the day and then eat a gummy sweet and malt bread with a lot of moisture.

New competitors can often do four workouts in a day and eat nothing. You can get so involved in being in the right place at the right time at any event that you forget about the food. You need food if you want to be at your best. So eat, eat, eat!

THE WORKOUT

Complete a 20-calorie attack wheel and 20-calorie series within a minute. Then rest for three minutes. Perform a total of six rounds.

“I managed to do 5 out of 6 laps and get the repetitions under a minute,” says Zack. “Let the tunes run and send them!”

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Men’s Health

Lee Crooks ready to ‘Offload’ as Hull FC launch men’s mental health programme

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Hull FC becomes the newest rugby league club to run Rugby League Cares’ offload program.

Offload is an initiative by former professional rugby league players with the aim of helping men improve and maintain their mental health and fitness.

The project has already been successful in a number of different clubs in Yorkshire and the Pennines and, through their foundation, the Black and Whites will be running a pilot project in the city.

The FC will play six hour-long “games” from the Community Hub at MKM Stadium with the help of former UK international Lee Crooks, who wants to use his own life experiences to help others in his hometown.

The program starts on Thursday October 7th and is open to all men over the age of 16. Sessions are offered to make the “squad members” comfortable when they want to share troubling issues or mental health issues.

Crooks will lead the program and over the course of six weeks he will use the rugby league as a platform to discuss topics like stress and coping, build positive mindset, analyze negative thinking and build resilience.

A part of Offload since its inception, the FC Hall of Famer is running a number of programs across the country and encouraging men who may be struggling to participate and get involved.

“It’s for like-minded men to come in and talk and discuss,” said Crooks. “We deliver slides and talk about various things.

Hull FC legend Lee Crooks.

“It’s just about getting people to come in and chat and talk about the problems they encountered in life or during lockdown, and it’s all provided by former rugby league players who have suffered from some mental health problems themselves.

“When I signed up for Hull, I got married when I was 17, and while I didn’t have a lot of rugby issues, I struggled with the family, being a husband and having two young children when I was 20.

“Because of the family side of things and the insecurity of being a father or husband, I struggled a little.

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“It is only when I look back now that I realize that that was the problem.

“I grew up in an area where talking about emotions was considered a sign of weakness, and I think a lot of people still do.

“Men don’t talk about their problems as much as they should, and the biggest statistic we publish is that 78 percent of all suicides are male, the ones if you can’t get it off your chest.

“Many workshops are about what I have overcome and what people can do for coping mechanisms from a mental health perspective.

“Just being able to do the workshops has really cleared up the backlog of things that I’ve had in the back of my mind for some time.

“You don’t have to be a rugby fan, you can play rugby yourself, but if you want to come down and talk and get rid of something, we’ll try to discuss things.”

For more information on Offload and to register, please contact Crooks at lee.crooks@hullfc.com.

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Men’s Health

Africa: Modern Masculinity in Africa – Pressures, Expectations and Breaking the Mold

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From juggling the traditional and the modern to just a few ways to express your inner fears. The DW show The 77 Percent examines what masculinity means for African men today.

What does it mean to be an African in the 21st century? What pressure are men under? And how do we define masculinity in the modern world anyway?

These were just some of the questions the panel was asked in the latest edition of The 77 Percent’s Street Debate in Nairobi, Kenya.

Conversations about masculinity and masculinity are not unique to the African continent. But many African societies now find themselves in an often stark conflict between traditional and modern values.

“The majority of us come from a patriarchal society,” said Charles Okumu, the moderator of the Man Enough program in Kenya, which seeks to redefine traditional roles and masculinity.

“There was a way we should act, or see how our fathers treated our mothers.”

Tradition meets modernity

In many African societies – especially in rural communities – traditions still play an important role in everyday life. Men and boys are often brought up to see the “man” as the dominant force and provider in the household amid changing social norms.

In fast-growing cities like Nairobi, it is even more difficult to keep up with modern values ​​in the face of persistent ideas of what makes a man a man.

“Some of our patriarchal paths that we inherited from our background are not really helpful in modern life,” said Okumu. “There are still some who want to behave like our fathers. But on the other hand, modernity has taught us to deal better with ourselves.”

The Kenyan influencer, radio host and comedian Eric Omondi has seen a great deal of development in Kenyan society compared to a few decades ago.

“While the roles were clearly defined back then – the man who brings the bacon home and the woman who cooks it – they no longer exist,” Omondi told DW.

Juggle expectations

As modern and traditional values ​​collide, African men, especially the younger generation, find it difficult to live up to expectations on both sides.

“There is a fight that comes from within,” said Okumu. “To want to do things that are morally right in the modern way … But there is this inner struggle of still not wanting to let go, as we saw our fathers show us the way.”

Many men still feel the pressure of their families to live up to these male “ideals”.

“The expectations are great and [often] unrealistic, “said Omondi.” From his parents’ demands that he keep paying it with his younger siblings and aging parents – aka Black Tax – to his wife or girlfriend’s need for a new hairstyle, facial and a house on a hill [while] to be emotionally present and sensitive to all of your feelings. The list goes on and on. “

Okumu believes that boys have also lagged behind in education, albeit inadvertently.

“For the past decade or so, there has been an emphasis on girl education and empowerment – which I fully support,” said Okumu.

“However, it was done at the boy’s expense, and now these boys and girls have grown up. These girls are now better informed, make more informed decisions, and make more money leading to a much more informed one [woman]? “

Focus on mental health

This discussion of masculinity also highlights the importance of the mental health of African men – an issue that remains difficult to openly discuss.

“Most African societies have an implicit need for men to ‘man-up’ – so that all the emotions a man feels should not be expressed openly or even privately,” said comedian and influencer Eric Omondi.

“Because of this, many have [men’s] Challenges are swept under the carpet and rarely discussed “

Infertility, domestic violence, and financial abuse in Omondi’s cities are just some of the many problems African men face and are reluctant to talk about, even among family and closest friends.

If left unaddressed, these issues can lead to higher rates of gender-based violence, depression, and suicide in men, Omondi said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide rates in Africa are above the global average. Stress in men was compounded during the COVID-19 pandemic, with job losses and isolation taking their toll.

But more African men are talking about the pressures they are under.

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Resources like Okumu’s Man Enough program encourage participants to move beyond traditional gender roles.

Okumu also emphasized the importance of providing boys with good role models from a young age.

“Boys become the men they see around them,” he told DW during the street debate.

“We have to make a conscious choice to talk to our children, not because we feel that way [this or that] defines masculinity, but helps them see how easy it is to be a responsible person. “

Comedian Omondi believes that African men today can benefit from adopting values ​​from other cultures while remaining true to their roots.

“Now that the world has become a village, it’s not far-fetched to grab a little of what works from western or eastern cultures and blend it with our very rich African culture as modern men,” said Omondi.

If you are struggling with your mental health or have thoughts of suicide, don’t hesitate to seek help. Find resources for mental health services in your part of the world here: https://www.befrienders.org/

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