The following article is written by Lisa Marie Mercer.
In both of my books, Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness: Mastering Life through Love of the Slopes and 101 Fitness Tips for Women, I included information about keeping fit without a gym membership. Having spent over 25 years in the fitness industry, I’ve discovered that if you’re looking for affordability and portability, nothing beats elastic resistance equipment.
Although elastic equipment may not provide the same strength benefits that weight training equipment supplies, it is not without its own merits. Bands and tubes provide resistance in both the eccentric and concentric phases of the movements. The concentric phase of a muscular contraction occurs when a muscle is shortening. In the eccentric phase, your muscles are lengthening. Training the muscles eccentrically can be an effective way to prevent injuries.
Resistance tubes and bands provide multi-directional resistance. Most weight training equipment, with the exception of cable systems, provides resistance in a linear fashion. This is not how the body functions in sport. There a variety of rubber resistance products. Let’s take a look at them!
Like all elastic products, exercise tubes come in varying degrees of resistance. Be sure to purchase the door attachments, since they will be useful for many of the Ski Ready exercises. Resistance tubes come with handles on both ends. This is important for anyone with carpal tunnel syndrome or any other hand injury.
Circular shaped bands can be used for various leg exercises. Therabands are thicker than tubes. Although they usually come without handles, some companies manufacture specific theraband handles. Therabands are popular for post rehab exercise. We also used therabands for the foot and ankle exercises.
Elastic Resistance Exercises
Tuck Squats: The tuck squat uses muscle groups that are similar to those that racers use in a skier’s “tuck” position.
*Sit in a low chair, with a resistance band under your feet.
*Bring the handles of the band up to your shoulders.
*Inhale and lift your butt about two inches off the chair.
*Exhale as you lower your butt about an inch.
*Do not let your butt touch the chair.
Perform three sets of 12 repetitions. When you get good at this, try it on one leg. Remember, for this particular exercise, you will never completely straighten your legs.
Lateral Resistance Hops: You will need an extremely strong tube for this exercise, as well as a door attachment. Some companies make a specific belt that attaches to the band for this purpose.
*Attach the tube to the door.
*Stand sideways with your right hip facing the door.
*Step away from the door until there is no slack.
*Jump from side to side
Warning: Do not do the lateral jumping exercise if you have knee injuries or nasty downstairs neighbors! However, if you are light on your feet, this next
*Attach the smaller band around your ankles.
*Side step, 4 steps to the right, and then 4 steps to the left. Keep your feet parallel.
Perform this exercise until you feel a burn in your outer thighs. Remember to keep your core muscles engaged and your shoulders relaxed. You can also do this exercise in a squat position, keeping your knees bent the entire time.
Lisa Marie Mercer is the author of Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness and 101 Fitness Tips for Women. She lives in Summit County Colorado, where she is the owner of Mountain Sport Pilates and Fitness.