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15 Low Impact Band Exercises

I've needed to add in more strengthening opportunities into my workout routine, both to build more muscle and also protect and prevent a former shoulder injury from reoccurring. I am not trying to bulk up so I keep to simple and safe exercises that will maintain my muscles and slowly strengthen them by working these exercises into my weekly workout routine. 

One of the best ways that I can do this strength training at the home or most gyms is with a stretchy band that has the handles on each end. These can easily be looped around poles or other objects to create the motions that mimic gym equipment. And because of the low impact and lighter resistance, I can do motions that I can't do on gym equipment. 

Below is my list of exercises that work pretty well for me. One visual that helps me is the Chuck Norris Total Gym informercial that was on a bunch in the early 2000s. A lot of the arm motions he showed that machine doing are what comprise these exercises.

As for setup, the first 9 on the list can be done by rotating the center of the band a few times around a vertical bar to create an anchor point that is ideally shoulder high. The exercises with the anchor behind you will require getting used to where band gets fed around your body. Play around with what is comfortable. The next 2 (exercises 10 and 11) on the list require feeding one handle through the other to create a single handle. Ideally the anchor point is waste high. The next 3 (exercises 12-14) require standing on the band while holding the handles. The last one (exercise 15) requires an overhead horizontal anchor point with the handles dangling down from the bar. 

A few final tips are to remain in an athletic pose for each exercise with knees bent and legs at least shoulder width apart. Do as many reps as you are comfortable. I personally do 2-3 sets of 20 each. Focus on form with each muscle that is being worked getting full activation and range of motion. Slow and steady is better than fast and jerky. Finally, stop doing any motion that feels painful or causes discomfort.

15 Band Exercises

  1. Standing back rows - while facing the anchor point, mimic a sit-down row machine but doing them while standing.
  2. Reverse fly - in standing row position, keep arms straight and pull to your side to mimic a fly motion in reverse.
  3. Triceps - move your arms at your waste with palms facing behind you and pull back passed your hips.
  4. Biceps - back in standing row position, do curl of your arms towards your chest.
  5. Traditional fly - turn the opposite way with the anchor point behind you and do a traditional fly motion.
  6. Low fly - drop your hands to your side and do a fly motion from your hips upward.
  7. Overhead triceps - arms above your head and mimic an overhead tricep pull.
  8. Chest press - from standing position, make a chest press motion.
  9. Punches - punch out like your hitting a punching bag right in front of you. I like to do straight punches and wide punches alternating hands.
  10. Arm rotation out - position your body parallel to the strap direction and put the handle in the hand that is furthest from anchor point. With arm bent 90 degrees, rotate across your belly and outwards. Then turn your body 180 degrees so the hand that was furthest from the anchor point is now closest and repeat.
  11. Arm rotation in - With arm again bent 90 degrees and with the arm closest to the strap, rotate in towards your belly. Then rotate 180 degrees and repeat with the other hand.
  12. Low biceps - while standing on the band, pull arms up in curling motion. Keep elbows close to your body but not against it.
  13. Upright Row - pull arms up the middle of your body while your elbows point out like you're picking up a kettle bell. Go until your elbows are just under parallel to your shoulders.
  14. Overhead press - pretend like you are holding a bar at your shoulders and press up overhead. Don't let the weights go back behind you.
  15. Lat pull down - mimic this piece of traditional gym equipment. It might require getting a bench or kneeling on the floor.