When you want to take your workout routine on the road, it can feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle. It’s tough enough to make exercise a priority when you’re at home, so travel issues like missed flight connections, time-consuming drives, and jet lag can derail your best intentions. The solution is a portable workout that’s efficient, convenient, and doesn’t break the bank. That’s where Clench Fitness resistance bands come in.
Lightweight and easy to pack, these deceptively simple fitness tools make it easy to work every major muscle group in a space about the size of your yoga mat. You can get a variety of bands with different levels of tension to suit certain types of exercise. Choose one band to replicate the light resistance you need for a warm-up with five-pound dumbbells. Then, switch to bands with 15 to 35 pounds of resistance for upper body and ab work. Take it to a greater resistance of 75 to 150 pounds for your bench presses and squats. If you find that a band has too much or not enough resistance, stack two or more bands together to hit the ideal resistance that you need. One set of bands is all you need to get your exercise fix in your hotel room or a local park.
Pack a set of Band Handles to replicate the control, range of motion, and power you have with dumbbells. Maintain your form and technique by grasping band handles firmly, keeping joints loose and core muscles engaged for stability. Also, be sure that you don’t hyperextend joints when performing your reps. It’s best to choose a band that allows you to perform each exercise to the point of muscle fatigue with 8 to 15 repetitions. Whenever you travel, pack a set of bands so you can do the following total body workout:
1. Bicep Curl
Secure two bands of equal tension around a post, door frame, tree, or other anchor point with an Anchor Strap. The anchor strap should be positioned low, near the ground. Stand facing away from the anchor with your feet hip-distance apart and palms forward. Grasp the band handles and bring them up to your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your torso and your upper arms stationary. Pause, then release the handles back to starting position and repeat. If it’s not possible to anchor the bands to a fixed object, you can also stand on the bands to perform bicep curls.
2. Overhead Press
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and bands of equal tension under each foot. Grasp the band handles and extend your arms overhead, palms facing forward. Lower your arms, so your elbows create a 90-degree angle at your sides, and the handles are at eye level. Return to the starting position and repeat. Modify this exercise by alternating single-arm overhead presses.
Back & Torso
3. Seated Row
Sit on the floor with your legs extended forward, knees slightly bent, and your feet flexed hip-distance apart. Loop the ends of your band under the arches of your feet and place a single handle in the middle of the band. Hold the Clench Band Handle with your palms down and your arms extended at chest level. Engage your core to keep your back straight and your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Pull the handle toward your chest, bringing your elbows in toward your torso as you bring your shoulder blades together at your spine. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-distance apart and one band centered underneath the balls of both feet. Hinge forward at the hip, keeping your head up and your back flat, and grasp the band handles with your palms facing your knees. Driving through your heels, lift your body to a standing position by thrusting your hips forward and bringing your shoulder blades together at your spine. Return to the starting position and repeat. The movement is slow and controlled, and you should keep your arms extended throughout the exercise.
5. Kneeling Crunch
Use an anchor strap to secure a band above your head at a door frame or sturdy tree limb. Grasp the band handles and assume a kneeling position with the anchor point behind you. Hold the handles at your shoulders with your elbows at your torso and palms facing each other. Contract your abs to bring your shoulders toward the floor. During this slow and controlled movement, focus on holding the abdominal contraction. Return to the starting position and repeat.
6. Wood Chop
Keeping your band anchored above your head, stand with your side facing the anchor and your feet hip-distance apart. Reach across your body to hold the band handle with both hands, keeping your hips in a forward-facing position. Pull the handle across your body and down toward your hip, releasing the heel that’s closest to the anchor to pivot the hips. Move slowly and focus on the contraction of your oblique muscle. Return to the starting position and repeat. After your first set, turn to stand with your opposite side facing the anchor and repeat the exercise, focusing on your other oblique.
7. Goblet Squat
Stand with feet slightly greater than shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly out. Place bands of equal tension under the ball of each foot. Grasp the band handles at your chest with your palms facing each other. Slowly drop your hips between your knees, pressing your hips back and tracking your knees over your toes. Keep your head up, chest lifted, and back flat. Lower your body so that there’s a 90-degree angle at your knees. Your elbows should be positioned at your inner thighs, and your knees should be wide. Push through your heels and engage your glutes to return to standing position and repeat. If your heels come off the floor as you descend, widen your stance to maintain heel-to-toe contact with the floor throughout the movement.
8. Lateral Band Walk
Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart, head and chest up and knees and hips flexed. Position a band around your legs and position it above your knees. Take a slow, lateral step to one side, staying low in a semi-squat stance. Repeat to the other side and continue to alternate sides. Modify this exercise by placing the band around your lower leg just below the knee.
Sticking to an exercise routine can be a challenge, especially for those who travel frequently. Many hotels lack adequate fitness facilities, and hectic work schedules make it tough to squeeze in a workout. Fortunately, resistance bands offer a convenient solution for working up a sweat while on-the-go. Just pack a set of lightweight bands in your luggage, and you’ll have everything you need for a rejuvenating workout, no matter where your travels take you.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you should check out:
Written by Ann Gibson for Matcha in partnership with Clench Fitness.