Circuit Training: Resistance Bands

Hello and welcome back my friends, and let me congratulate you on another great week of hard training, and staying on your nutrition and recovery plan. That’s what is ultimately going to propel the new you so far past the old you, that you’ll surprise both the past and the current you in the process. That is always the plan for those of us that undertake the challenge of daily self improvement. The amazing thing is that if you are up for it, you will never be disappointed. The limits of our own abilities seem to know no bounds, and the accomplishments we make often pale in comparison to those that we will make further on down the line.

I have been using a bit of a different strategy to continue to progress with my training. Sometimes a little break from our regular routine is exactly what or body needs. Allow me to show you what I’ve been up to lately, as I think you will find some inspiration and may even decide to try this for yourself.

Monday to Friday it’s all business with my Training Partner In Iron @RyanCaicco, and I enjoy every minute of it. It’s kind of strange because I had been a member at the gym I attend for two years before I met Ryan, and hadn’t ever trained with anyone there. Fairly immediately upon meeting Ryan, we just started training together and haven’t looked back. I love every minute of it, and hope he does too. We both lead pretty busy lives, but the time that we train seems to slow down a little, and we have a good time doing what we love to do. There’s something to be said for having a great training partner. If you’re lucky enough to have one – you know what I mean.

Weekends on the other hand are a little less predictable as far as scheduling goes. Neither of us seem to be able to meet up, so I needed to add something to keep making progress. One method I have been using of late to further my training goals, as well as enjoy a change in scenery, is to do what I call my Weekend Warrior Training. I know the term weekend warrior doesn’t conjure up an image of someone heavily committed to fitness, so it’s a kind of self deprecating title that I give to the two days a week I’m not in the gym. It may be a sarcastic type of name that I’ve given my training, but it’s still a serious and a fun way to get the job done.

I go to a school near where I live to do this training. There’s a track that circles a soccer field – complete with goal posts of course – and things like stairs, a playground with monkey bars and some benches amongst other things (I’ll get into how I use those another time). I always bring various pieces of exercise equipment with me, and set up exercises around the track so I can run station to station. Today I’m going to take you through my resistance band circuit, so you can have an idea of how to do this if you’d like to give it a try.

All you need is a park, school, or community center that has some space, and a few different posts or poles to wrap bands around. I set mine bands up at each goal post, and at the halfway point between the goal posts on the track, one on each side. That’s four different sets of bands, and a jump rope for this particular day’s circuit. The bands I use can be adjusted to varying tensions as well, so each exercise has a different intensity, and can be mixed and matched each week to focus on either reps or power for example.

Aside from the four exercise band stations,I also have the jump rope at the finish which I use as a sprint. An example of one of my circuits would be as follows – at goal post number one, I assume a squatting position while holding the handles of the bands so that the tension is relatively tight. Then while holding the squat position, I begin to row for 10 – 15 reps. This is a great core exercise as I hold the squat the whole time with my torso rigid, and a great back exercise as well due to the row.

I then run to station two, which is moderately tense band at the midway point on one side of the track between the goal posts. Here I’m going to do some side lateral raises by standing on the band, and grasping each handle while flying my arms up like a dumbbell side lateral. I either stand with both feet on the band, or stand in a semi – lunge and have the band under one foot. I also do both front and rear lateral raises in different circuits, which requires different tensions so for this circuit I’ll stay with side laterals.

When I’ve completed 10 – 15 lateral raises, I then  run to the next set of goal posts. Here I’m going to assume a squat position again, but face away from the goal posts far enough away that the bands are tense. This time when I grab the bands, I’m going to do a pressing movement as if I’m doing a chest press with dumbbells, bringing my hands together at the ‘top’ of the movement.

Next it’s time to run to the last station, which is between the goal posts on the opposite side of the track where the laterals were done. Here I’m going to stand with both feet on the bands, with them at a very tight tension while they’re held at my shoulders. From this position I’m going to do high rep squats. I do them like I do all band exercises – quickly. I feel a great contraction in my quads due to the explosiveness, as well as the increased tension as I’m driving straight up.

Finally, I run the rest of the track back to the starting position, grab my jump rope, and skip for a minute. I do this all continuously. The rest portion is the running between stations. If I’m going really hard, it might be a sprint. If I’m really tired, it might barely be a trot. I usually do three or four rounds of this, and then move on to another circuit.

The thing with resistance bands is they are much different than weights or cables, so they offer a unique training experience with a muscular response you don’t get with free weights, cables, or machines. The combinations of exercises are endless, and if you have several of them you can do circuits like I described that are amazing for conditioning, sculpting and fat loss. They also travel very well if you go away for work or on weekend get-a-ways.

On the next Weekend Warrior, I’ll bring you another type of circuit that I like to do. I really enjoy training outside like this, and believe that my body and mind benefit greatly from the change of pace and venue.  I’ll do very different circuits on Saturday and Sunday, but both are full body, and have an element of cardiovascular training as well. These are very good functional, and health enhancing workouts. I urge you to give this method a try as well. I think you will find that your other training benefits from the variety that this adds.

Next up is the Sunday Quickie, which means more amazing recipes featuring this weeks Super Food. Mrs Toronto has been compiling recipes featuring the incredibly versatile Tomato . Have a read if you missed it. I think you’ll be surprised at what you will discover. Until tomorrow then my friends,

Happy Lifting!

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