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Resistance Training for a Strong, Lean Body

t’s no secret that you can have a killer workout, with your body weight alone. It’s the perfect way to build strength without bulk.
​Attending Pilates classes regularly will strengthen your core, improve your flexibility & create longer, leaner muscles.

It’s amazing for your body, mind & spirit.
It’s gentle, but also challenging (especially when I lose count during The Hundred..oops). 

​Resistance bands are a very popular prop used in Pilates. If you’ve never tried using one, or you’re new to them, you may be surprised at the many benefits of adding them into your workout. The resistance band is one of my FAVOURITE pieces of equipment. You can use them to work your arms, glutes, abdominals, to help with stretching… the possibilities are endless!

My top 5 reasons for loving the bands are:
1. You can take them anywhere – On a holiday or work trip, the bands are so easy to pack and take with you. Now there’s no excuses as to why you can’t workout, when you’re away from home!
2. Eccentric muscle contraction – Resistance bands are amazing because they force you to control the movement as you return to the start position of each exercise. This is an Eccentric contraction, which will keep the muscles strengthening but lengthening at the same time (hello strong/lean muscles!)
3. Stretching benefits – Can’t quite reach your leg to have a hamstring stretch? Grab a band to help feel the stretch, without creating tension in your upper body or forcing your body into incorrect alignment/positioning.
4. Adds a challenge – I know you all love a challenge & the great thing about the band is that there are band-specific exercises & other exercises you can add the band to, to change the focus or challenge different muscle groups. 
5. Varied Resistance – You decide how much resistance you want in each exercise. Want more tension? Hold closer to the middle of the band… want less tension?  Hold closer to the ends. This is also great for progressing through your workouts, making the exercises a little bit harder each time. 

Here are some of my favourite Resistance Band exercises, for you to try at home. 

Please remember to always listen to your body. If you have any injuries, please contact me first, before starting any exercises at home.

Start standing with your best posture, holding your band with palms up, elbows in by your side
1. Exhale to gently pull the band apart, keeping your elbows in
2. Inhale to resist as you return to the start position
Do this twice to really feel the burn
Keep your shoulders down away from your ears & your abdominals pulling in

Start standing on the band with both feet, holding the ends of the band, with your palms forward
1. Exhale to bend your arms and pull the band up towards your shoulders 
2. Inhale to resist as you return to the start position
Do this twice to really feel the burn
Keep your shoulders down away from your ears and keep your shoulders pulling back
Keep your abdominals pulling in

Start sitting, with your legs stretched out (or bent if you need), the band is around your feet,
holding the band with your palms facing towards each other
1. Exhale to pull your abdominals in & pull your arms behind you, opening your chest,
​squeezing between your shoulder blades
2. Inhale to resist as you return to the start position
Do this twice for a nice chest opening
Keep your shoulders down away from your ears and your abdominals pulling in

Start on your back with one leg stretched along your mat & the other leg up towards the ceiling with the band around your foot
1. Pull your elbows down beside you and hold the stretch for 10 deep slow breaths (relaxing your shoulders & neck)
2. Slowly release and swap legs
REPEAT x2 on each side
Keep your abdominals pulling in & your knee slightly unlocked 
Relax into it & enjoy!