Training and Travel : Bands

Going somewhere?

Band pull-apart. Image via EliteFTS.This month's collaboration with Run to Win's Blaine Moore looks at training when you're travelling. Today I take a look at something which is ideally suited for packing away and taking on vacation - resistance bands. Enjoy.

A couple of years ago I found myself once again on the road, exploring the countryside for a few weeks (good trip - photos here). The key difference on this occasion was that I'd brought along some very lightweight and portable workout equipment - an assortment of bands.

What are they?

Although there are several types of bands, here I'm referring to the heavier variety that can be used with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells or just on their own. If you've never seen them, think of an incredibly large (several feet across) rubber band.

What do you do with them?

As I touched on above, the bands can be used either with or without the usual forms of iron in your gym. In either case, the idea is one of accommodating resistance. This just means that stretching the band is relatively easy in the beginning of the exercise; gradually becoming more difficult as it becomes longer. Just think of a normal elastic band - same idea.

When you're travelling, you probably don't have the bulk of your gym gear with you. Fortunately, you can get a good workout in with the bands alone. Try these for starters :

band leg curls : just loop one end of the band around something heavy (like a table leg) and step into the other end. lift your leg away from the table; either seated, standing or lying down.

band pulldowns : loop one end of the band around something above head height, and grab the band at around chest height. pull it down until your arms are straight, as if you're using a cable machine. in fact, several cable machine exercises can be easily replicated with bands.

band pull-aparts : remember the Bullworker? (actually, you can still buy them). this exercise is a very similar movement, just in the opposite direction. hold the band at arms' length in front of you, at around shoulder height. stretch it by pulling your hands further apart.

There are many, many more. I've got several ideas listed here; really though, if you can do it with free weights or a cable machine, you can probably do something very similar with bands. Just experiment.

Where do you get them?

There are several brands on the market, and your choice probably depends on where you are in the world. If you're in the US, the JumpStretch bands are the ones to go for (just head over to; in the UK and Australasia the Iron Woody bands are a good choice (start at London Kettlebells); in Europe the Finnish Powerlifting Superstore Voimaharjoittelu is the place to go (again, the JumpStretch bands are top of the list).

Take a look at them in action

Also see :

Missed last week's piece? Here you go :

You Might Also Like...

NB : For a complete list of everything we use and recommend, swing by the reviews area. And of course the Straight to the Bar Store. It's all in there.

To learn how to put it to work, swing by the Guides area.

Scott Andrew Bird

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 35) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing Computer Guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

Find out what he's up to via Twitter, Google+, Facebook; and of course his online home. Enjoy.

Like this? Check out :

Kettlebell Training for Grip Strength.Looking to add a kettlebell to your grip-training arsenal? Here's how.
The Bodyweight Aficionado's Guide to Gear.

A few extras that can add a whole lot of possibilities.

The Investments III : A Look at Training the World's Favorite Muscle Groups.

Drills for every athlete, weekend warrior, bodybuilder and strongman.

A New Routine - Sydney 2006.

Time for a bit of fine-tuning.

Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

(there's also a Daily Update, if you're looking for an even larger dose of training-related goodness.)

NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar, or if you'd like to join the team of Moderators here (I love hearing about everyone's training approaches) - get in touch. And if you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Over to you. Leave a comment below, or send us a tweet :

blog comments powered by Disqus
Straight to the Bar Strength Kit

Are You as Strong as You Could Be?

Grab the Straight to the Bar Strength Kit.

Training Guides, eBooks and of course the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Absolutely free.