Having just come back from Hawaii, the last thing I wanted to do today was to workout inside. So I went for a short 10 mile bike ride. However, having already done a bike ride this month I decided to stop at the Fitness Park located along the Charles River to get in some alternative exercise. I brought my roommate’s resistance bands and did a shoulders/biceps/triceps workout. For those of you who think resistance bands are for sissies, guess again. You can make them as easy or as tough as you want depending on the strength of your band and/or the tension you create for yourself. I got a good burn going on my muscles and my muscles were shaking by the end of each set. We used to use them all the time when I played high school and during my brief stint in college as well. They are great for strengthening things like rotator-cuffs for example. You can also get a good burn doing just about anything as long as you’re doing it right (i.e. consistent tension in the band throughout the range of the exercise, if the bands go slack you’re doing it wrong).
Using a heart rate monitor for the first time during a resistance band workout I found that I should probably mix in some type of cardiovascular component next time. My min/max/average heart rates were 67/96/125, so pretty low intensity as far as heart rate goes. I was feeling a serious burn in my muscles but I wasn’t exactly working my lungs at all. It would have been great to do one set of shoulders/biceps/triceps and then jump rope or do abs as a way to get my heart rate average up overall. I felt ok with not doing this today because I had already biked 10 miles so I figured that was good enough cardio for the day.
I meant to bring the bands with me on my trip to Hawaii so I could get a workout done in the airport but I totally forgot and left them at home. I would definitely bring these on travel with me as a way to get a quick and effective workout in my hotel room instead of using the bogus equipment usually found in hotel workout facilities. I’d also use them for rehab as well if I were injured. For example, my roommate had shoulder surgery a while back and he’s been using them pretty consistently to regain strength. I used them last summer when I aggravated my shoulder 2 months into the P90X+ workout program. A mixture of rest (i.e. no shoulder exercises) and resistance band workouts helped me to move past the shoulder issue. I’m even thinking of getting a set of bands to keep at my desk at work for those times when I’m sleepy at the end of the day, getting the blood flowing is a great way to wake back up.
I like resistance bands because they are light-weight, low-maintenance, and can be used inside or outside to give you a serious workout so I definitely approve of using them as a way to stay fit and augment your normal workout routine.