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.
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.
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.
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 EliteFTS.com); 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).
Also see :
Missed last week's piece? Here you go :