Plus, it keeps your muscles under constant tension, giving you a tougher workout and better results.
Do this versatile workout at the gym or at home.
At Women’s Health, generally speaking we’re not huge fan of gym machines. Why? Well, we just think more often than not you can get more bang for your buck and build more functional strength using free-weight equipment (think dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells), as opposed to using a machine that keeps you in a fixed pattern of movement (think leg press machine).
The one exception: the cable machine. You’ll find it in nearly ever gym you walk into, and you’ll find a ton more trainers utilizing it regularly. Why? Well, unlike other machines, the cable machine operates more like free weights, allowing you to work nearly every muscle from all angles and in a more functional and complete range of motion. Plus, it keeps your muscles under constant tension, giving you a tougher workout and better results.
The one downside? If you don’t have a cable machine at home, on the road, or at your gym, you’re out of luck. That’s where resistance bands come in. These bad boys are portable, and can be easily fixed around an anchor point (like, say, around a sturdy banister or tree branch, a bookshelf, or doorknob).
This upper-body circuit routine focuses on your arms, shoulders, and back. But they also double as sneaky standing abs moves: That’s because every time you pull the band, your entire core has to work overtime to keep the rest of your body stable. These moves may seem simple, but done right, you’ll feel the burn after just one round.
The key is keeping your core tight and the rest of your body completely still so that the work is coming from your upper body. If it doesn’t feel challenging enough, you can adjust the resistance by stepping further away from the fixed point.