A 12-minute full-body resistance band exercise that hits all of your main muscle tissues


It can be difficult to get a quality workout when you’re strapped for time and have limited fitness equipment. But if you have full-body resistance band training in your arsenal, you can actually accomplish a lot.

Resistance bands are a very effective piece of equipment, certified personal trainer Alicia JamissonMA, trainer at Body space fitness in New York, says SELF. Due to their lightweight and compact size, they’re « perfect for travel, » she adds, making them an obvious addition to your suitcase.

Additionally, when using resistance bands, you have the unique ability to increase the load simply by stretching the band. The longer you stretch the band, the heavier the resistance becomes and vice versa. This means that resistance bands offer « much more variability in your load » compared to free weights like kettlebells, dumbbells or sandbags, where each weight is fixed and you have to pick up a different weight in order to adjust. load, explains Jamison. This makes resistance bands a truly versatile tool – another reason to pack them next time you’re out of town.

Curious to experience the beauty of resistance bands yourself? Try the four-move workout below that Jamison created for SELF. This routine is fast (it will take you 12 minutes or less!) and effective, thanks to the combination of movements that ignites your whole body. First, you will work the back of the upper body with the pull-apart then the back of the lower body with the deadlift. Next, you’ll engage the front portion of your upper body with the overhead press, as well as the front portion of your lower body (plus some rear muscles as well) with the sumo squat.

By alternating upper body and lower body exercises, each muscle group has some time to recover while your body is still working on the other. That’s why you are able to do a lot of work in a short time.

This workout is designed to focus on strength, Jamison says, though you can always up the pace at which you perform the movements (as long as you maintain good form) to make this a more cardio-focused routine. Alternatively, if you want to step up the strength challenge, you can slow down your pace and increase the amount of time your muscles are under tension, especially by holding for a few seconds when your muscles are in their most contracted position, Jamison says. In the split, for example, that would mean pausing when your arms are fully extended out to the sides.

In terms of frequency, you can do this routine as often as two to four days a week, says Jamison, who recommends waiting a day between sessions to ensure your body has enough time to recover.

Before you begin this routine, do a brief warm-up to help properly prepare your body. Spend a minute or two in the the longest stretch in the world is all you need, says Jamison.

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