Now we’re in lockdown from the Coronavirus, I need to find a way to get a good workout at home. I was thinking that exercise bands may offer a good way to get a workout at home. Can you provide me recommendations on what sort of exercise bands I should buy or any other recommendations you might have?
If you're set on resistance bands, purchase the type with a handle that can accommodate multiple bands. These offer the largest range of resistances and greatest value. Here's a package that also offers protective coverings over the elastic bands with a larger range of resistances at only a slightly higher cost than the other options: Stackable Resistance Band Kit (Amazon Affiliate Link).
Before purchasing exercise bands, consider adding a suspension trainer for an arguably more effective and diverse home workout. The great thing about suspension trainers is that you can conveniently perform exercises for all major muscle groups with a proportion of your body weight allowing for incremental progressions for a wide range of strength levels. All you'll need is a door, high beam, or horizontal structure to attach the suspension trainer either indoors or outdoors. Like weight training, resistance increases can be granularly applied as you get stronger. With most suspension exercises this is achieved by slightly adjusting the angle of movement to work more against gravity.
The most well known suspension trainer brand is the TRX®. However a suspension trainer that has two independent straps (dual anchored) allows you to perform a few additional exercises compared to the single anker design of the TRX. Here's an affordable dual anchored suspension trainer offered by a mechanical engineer from the San Francisco Bay Area.
- NOSSK Twin Pro Suspension Bodyweight Fitness Strap Trainer (first option)
Both the TRX and Nossk are also available on Amazon:
- TRX GO Bundle (Amazon Affiliate Link)
- NOSSK Twin Pro Bodyweight Fitness Strap Trainer (Amazon Affiliate Link)
The exercises are incrementally adjusted or are progressed to a more challenging exercise as strength increases. It is important to make these strength adjustments whenever possible to yield the greatest benefit from your strength training program.
Although a beginning program need not be this complex, here's a sample suspension training program consisting of 6 movement patterns so you can get the general idea of how you can progress for each movement pattern.
I have been using the NOSSK suspension trainer and absolutely love it! What a simple and efficient way to get a great workout without having to buy and store a bunch of weights. Weirdly, I feel like I’m getting a better workout than I did when I was using almost all weights. Such a simple set up and unobtrusive design. It’s making me wonder if I will need all of my gym memberships going forward. Thanks again for the detailed advice.
I'm glad to hear it! Keep in mind that even the most effective workout will decrease in effectiveness over time and boredom may set in. You may notice you progress more rapidly in the beginning, then improvements will begin to diminish even when you continue to progress by making the exercises more difficult as you get stronger. Changing exercises monthly for each muscle group will allow you to see more continued progress and will make your workouts more interesting.
Normally I would suggest to eventually add free weights to your home gym arsenal. As you may have already discovered, during the pandemic it's been very difficult to find weight training equipment and whatever is available is very expensive.
In the mean time, you can consider programming calisthenic exercises into your program. Here's an similar calisthenic training program to the suspension training program I had previously provided you.
With the calisthenic workout, you'll notice that you'll need an adjustable height horizontal bar (pullup bar) and parallel bar (dip bar) to make continued strength increases. A dual anchored suspension trainer essentially provides you alternatives to these key bodyweight apparatuses and more. However, there's no reason why you can't exercise one muscle group on the suspension trainer and another using a calisthenic exercise. Ideally the goal would be to have at least a small pool of exercise for each movement pattern or muscle group to choose from, allowing you to change exercises monthly, for a more continued progress and lower chance of dropout due to boredom.
If you're still not interested in renewing your gym membership when life begins to turn back to more normal, consider purchasing free weights such as an easy to adjust dumbbell set, power rack, barbell, and an adjustable flat to incline bench for greater variety for your future workouts.
Such great advice!! Thank you so much. Your authority in this area is clearly very well earned!
Pictured: Nossk Twin Pro Suspension Bodyweight Fitness Strap Trainer. Image used with permission by Nossk.