Health & Fitness

Jason Wanlass: Embrace the benefits of resistance tubing for a well-rounded workout

Slowly descend into a squat for the squat row.
Slowly descend into a squat for the squat row.

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to exercise equipment. From free weights to cardio machines, there are plenty of ways to get an effective workout. However, an often overlooked fitness tool is resistance tubing.

Resistance tubing is a simple and effective way to get a complete workout, and it comes with many benefits. It’s portable and can be taken anywhere, whether you’re traveling, looking for an alternative to the gym or just want to add another element to your training. In addition to the convenience, resistance tubing can create some unique training challenges.

First, tubing provides a progressive increase in resistance. Several exercises with dumbbells or barbells create less challenge as you approach the end range of motion. A good example would be a dumbbell bicep curl. Once your arms reach a fully flexed position, the dumbbells are placing a much lighter load on the bicep. But with tubing, resistance progressively increases as you reach the end range of motion and would actually peak at the end of a bicep curl. That’s not to say that tubing is a superior method, but rather it provides a different challenge to the muscle.

Second, tubing can provide a horizontal load.Most traditional exercises provide only a vertical load. Squats, pushups and pull-ups all work against the line of gravity (i.e. vertically). But with tubing you can create a horizontal load, similar to what you would get with a cable machine. Simply hook a tube to a solid anchor point and now you can perform rowing, pressing, rotations and leg movements at a variety of angles. This is great for training variety and preparing for recreational activities such as wakeboarding, skiing or soccer.

Third, tubing can be used at different speeds.Depending on your workout goal, the speed of movement can be varied for different outcomes. If you’re focus is more on strength, using a medium to heavy tube with slow, controlled movement is best. Want to get your heart rate elevated? Try quick total-body movements, such as squat rows or rotational presses at 30-60-second intervals for a great cardiovascular challenge.

Now that we know the benefits, let’s put it to use! Here is a resistance tubing circuit that will have your muscles burning and heart pumping anytime, anywhere.

Squat row: Wrap a medium to heavy resistance tube around a solid anchor point at waist level. Stand facing the anchor point taking a handle in each hand, and stand far enough away from the anchor so there is slight tension on the tube. Slowly descend into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, while keeping your arms straight in front of you. Slowly return to an upright position and pull the handles toward the outside of your hips at waist level, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Repeat the movement for 45-60 seconds. For an advanced option, try performing the exercise with a single-leg squat.

Alternating lunges with rotational resistance: Wrap a light to medium resistance tube around a solid anchor at chest level. Stand sideways to the anchor point and hold one handle with both hands, and stand far enough away from the anchor point so there is slight tension on the tube. Keep your arms in front of you in a straight line from the middle of the chest, resisting the pull against your arms and torso. Step forward with you left leg and descend into a lunge position until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement with your right leg. Continue the exercise, alternating legs as you go for 45-60 seconds. Turn around with the opposite side of your body facing the anchor point and repeat for another set.

Chest press with alternating steps: Wrap a medium to heavy resistance tube around a solid anchor at chest level. Grab both cable handles and position your body with your back facing the anchor point. Stand far enough away so there is slight tension in the tube. Take a hip-width stance with your arms at a 90-degree position, and engage your abdominals. Step forward with your left leg and press your arms out in front of you. With control, return to the starting position and step forward with the right leg and repeat the same movement. Continue the exercise by alternating legs as you press for 45-60 seconds.

Pallof press: Begin by anchoring your band at chest height. Standing in an athletic stance, and hold the handle against your chest with both hands facing sideways to the band or cable. Brace your core and slowly extend your arms away from your chest. The farther your hands travel, the greater the challenge on your core. The goal is to not allow your torso to twist. Return your hands to the starting position and repeat for 45-60 seconds before switching sides.

Jason Wanlass is the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian. Contact him at championfit@live.com or championfit.net.

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