June 27, 2019 at 03:00AM by CWC
I like to include what I dub fitness toys into my workouts to make things more interesting. I’m talking about Bosu balls, battle ropes (only when I’m feeling extra fierce), and resistance bands, which in addition to being great ways to sculpt, are also superstars that help with body alignment and even posture.
“Working with a resistance band is one of the quickest ways to fire up your core and upper back, the main muscle groups that support good posture,” says Aly Giampolo, co-founder and trainer at New York City’s The Ness. “While weights can pull you down as they are often heavier, any action that creates tension with a band focuses on strength and postural stability without the added task of fighting against the weight of a weight.” Ah-ha.
So those bands come in handy for those of us who sit in front of computers or look down at our phones all day (ahem: everyone). “This is very bad for your posture, and over time causes your shoulders to hunch forward, which can lead to neck and shoulder injuries,” says Lacey Stone, celebrity fitness trainer. “Using resistance bands to strengthen your back muscles is so important and easy because you can take the band anywhere—just toss it in your bag.”
What makes resistance bands so beneficial for your posture is the tugging action—certain movements, which of course incorporate resistance, work the exact muscles that are key to holding yourself upright. “The motion of pulling the bands apart creates resistance, making it difficult for your arms to take over and forcing you to tap into your upper back muscles, specifically your lats,” Giampolo explains. “Activating and strengthening your lats will allow you to hold your shoulders back and down away from your ears, creating better posture.”
Keep scrolling for Stone’s two posture-adjusting resistance band moves.
Lift and lower: “Step on the band with both feet and hold onto the ends of the band by your sides,” says Stone. “With the bands behind you, stand up straight with good posture, pulling the band in the opposite direction while lifting it up as high as you can. The closer your hands are together, the harder the move will be.” Pro tip: If your shoulders feel strained, Stone recommends bringing the bands further apart.
“With your palms facing backward, lift your arms up and down while keeping the tension on the band so you feel your arm and back muscles working,” she says. “Make sure just your arms are moving, and your core stays stabilized throughout the motion. Repeat 10 to 20 times, and try to increase your range of motion throughout the round.”
Reverse flies: This one begins in the same position as the lift and lower. “With your palms facing backward, press the band behind you, keeping tension on the band,” says Stone. “Turn your head over the right shoulder, back to center, and then to the left. When turning your head, you should feel a stretch. Once you’ve completed the neck rotation, bring your head back to center and arms back to starting position, keeping your chest open.” Then repeat the exercise, this time turning your head to the left first. Stone says to repeat this series five to 10 times on each side.