Workout bands offer ease and convenience for exercise at home or on the go. You get versatility, too. But, are these workout wonders dazzlers or duds of the exercise world? Here’s the scoop…

Workout bands are a winner
Writing for Prevention, Marianne McGinnis reported the magazine’s comparison of weights, resistance balls, bands, Pilates, yoga and body weight exercises. Testers found that exercises bands helped previously sedentary women get leaner fastest of all the training methods. McGinnis gives the good news in percentages. For example, the women using exercise bands lost 30% more stomach, thighs, arms and hips than other participants. Even better they all increased metabolism and lost about 18% more weight than others in the study.

Why exercise bands work
It’s easy to get up to speed quickly. Beginners can use light resistance and those with a little more exercise experience can opt for medium resistance. You can use resistance bands virtually anywhere and very little space is required. Prevention researchers also found that workout band users exercised more often. The resistance band routine boosted functional fitness and participants noticed gains quickly. Success is encouraging and breeds more success.

More benefits of workout bands
• Cost – workout bands are inexpensive. You can buy a set with handles for about $15.00.
• Portable – you already know they travel compactly for anywhere, anytime fitness.
• Get a full body workout while you build functional fitness, tone muscles as well as improve flexibility, strength and coordination.
• Variety – you can use workout bands in many ways, so workouts remain a challenge you keep coming back to with motivation and interest.

young athletic legs with sharp scarf muscles of runner sport man climbing up city stairs jogging and running in urban training workoutSample set
This workout from ACE Fitness takes only 15 minutes. Trainer Stephanie Thielen recommends warming up with 3 minutes of walking up and down the stairs before getting started.

Standing Chest Fly
Begin in a split stance with the band anchored to the back foot. With palms facing forward and arms in a low “v” position, scoop the arms to chest height and return to the low “v” position.

Squat to Shoulder Press
Step onto the band with both feet and bring the hands up to shoulder height. Lower down into a squat and then press back up to standing while pressing the arms overhead. Lower back down into the squat and release the arms back to shoulder height.

Seated Back Row
Do this one sitting in a chair or on the floor. Place the resistance band underneath both feet and take up some slack on the band so there is moderate tension before you begin the exercise. Pull the arms back toward the hips, keeping the elbows tight to the body.

Lat pull-down with lateral knee lifts
With the band in your hands, raise your arms overhead then take up some slack so there is moderate tension on the band before you begin the exercise. At the same time, pull the right elbow down toward the hip and lift the right knee up. Switch sides, pulling the left elbow down toward the hip and lifting the left knee up. Each pull-down and knee lift equals one rep.

Stationary Lunge
With the legs in a split stance, place the band underneath the front foot and bring the hands up to shoulder height. Lower down into a lunge and press back up to the start. Complete all reps on one leg before switching to the other leg.

Seated rotation
Sitting in a chair or on the floor, place the resistance band underneath both feet. Cross the band and hold onto the ends of the band with both hands. Maintain a long spine and a slight lean back as you pull the band and rotate toward each hip. Each rotation equals one rep.

Thielen recommends completing 20 reps of each exercise. Complete one round, rest for one minute and repeat each exercise. Turns out exercise bands aren’t duds at all, they’re exercise dazzlers. Get busy now to start seeing results in about three weeks.