They’re in our closets. Under our beds. Over in the corner collecting dust. We got them to help with our New Year’s resolutions or in a burst of motivation to get back into shape, but perhaps have now forgotten what a simple but effective tool they can be. I’m talking about resistance bands, stability balls, and free weights. Most likely you have at least one of these great tools if not all of them. These useful and common items can give you a great workout and they are so versatile that you have plenty of options so you don’t get bored. Today I’ll guide you through a basic workout with each of these.
- Grab a resistance band and step onto it with your feet spread apart. Grab a handle in each hand. For beginners, you can hold the right handle in the right hand and the left handle in the left hand and pull them up towards your chin. For a more advanced technique, cross the handles so the bands form an X like I am doing in the first picture.
- Next, step your left foot straight out to your left, while keeping your arms strong in front of your body.
- Now step your right foot closer to your left foot, but be careful not to step too close or else it will be hard to get enough slack to step out again.
Keep walking in this direction for 20 paces then switch and come back the other way. Do three reps of this. This exercise helps strengthen your knees, the lateral sides of your legs and your thighs. Once you get used to this exercise and it starts to get easier, switch to a thicker band for a new challenge.
- Step on the resistance band just as in the walking exercise, only this time make sure to hold the right handle in the right hand and the left handle in the left hand. Depending on the thickness of your bands and your height, begin with either your arms straight down or at a right angle as I am doing in the picture.
- In one controlled motion, raise your fists up to your shoulders while leaving your elbows in place.
In another controlled, slow motion, lower your arms back down to their starting position. Repeat 15 times. Do three sets of these. As you get stronger, increase the thickness of the bands. You can also change the distance between your feet to adjust the length of the bands to suit your height or to increase the challenge.
- Grab your stability ball and lie down on it on your back, with your feet firmly on the floor, knees at a right angle.
- Sit up into a crunch position, making sure to squeeze your abs and keeping your core tight.
Slowly lower yourself back down into the lying down position and repeat 30 times. Do three sets of these. This exercise stabilizes the spine, helps with the curvature of the spine, as well as all of the benefits from doing crunches.
- Put your stability ball near your feet and lie down on the ground with your arms flat at your side, put your heels up on the top of the ball with your knees bent and butt off the ground, like I am doing in the top picture.
- Now slowly straighten your legs, taking the ball with you and keeping your butt in the air, so your body is in a sort of elevated plank position like I demonstrate in the second picture.
Then bring your knees back to the starting position and repeat this 15 to 20 times. Do three sets of these. This exercise works on tightening the core as well as stability and balance.
- Grab those free weights – about 5 to 8 pounds to start off with for the ladies and 8 to 12 pounds to start off with for the guys. Hold onto them and get into a push-up position, like I demonstrate here.
- Strongly pull one elbow straight back as you twist slightly so you maintain your balance on one hand.
Then gently put that arm back into the starting position. Repeat 15 to 20 times on each arm. Do three sets of these. This not only works your triceps but also your shoulders, back and entire core, giving you a total body workout with one simple move.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a weight in each hand.
- Raise both arms straight up and out towards the left and right sides of your body, as even with your shoulders as possible.
Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position and repeat 10 to 15 times in three sets. This works your arms, shoulders, and back, giving you those sexy, summertime arms that everyone wants.
Walking Lunge to a Shoulder Press
- Stand up tall with your feet together, a weight in each hand, and your arms down at your side. Step forward into a lunge, making sure to bend your back knee, and making sure that your front knee does not go past your toe. At the same time, raise your hands up to shoulder-height with your elbows out on the outside of your body like I am doing here.
- As you stand up to walk forward out of your lungs, raise your arms up over your head, making sure to press them up, with your arms ending up next to your ears like I am doing here.
Repeat on the same leg 15 to 20 times. Then turn around and walk back in the other direction, this time focusing on the opposite leg. Do three sets of these. This is another great total body workout, as it strengthens your legs, core, shoulders, back, and arms all at once, with a bit of balance work thrown in as a bonus.
Thanks for hanging in there with me for this great workout. I knew you could do it! After you’ve mastered these exercises, feel free to get creative and discover even more uses for these amazing tools. Don’t let them catch dust any longer!
JULIA ZAMMITO is a certified fitness trainer, nutrition expert and national fitness and figure champion with more than 14 years of professional experience in the fitness industry. Fitness is not only her life, it’s what saved her life… more »