Pilates Resistance-Band Workouts
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Even Pilates veterans may need to add a little variation in their workouts now and then. A resistance band’s introduction into your normal workout helps to increase the engagement of muscle fibers that may have grown accustomed to performing the same movements day in and day out. It will further encourage the creation of the lean muscles.
Lie on the floor on your back and bring your knees up to your chest. Position the resistance band so that the middle of the elastic is underneath your feet and one end of the band is in each of your hands, with your elbows bent, not straight. Your hands should be near your knees, holding the resistance band taught, but with room to stretch it out.
Lift your head and neck as though about to do a crunch, but stop before your shoulders leave the ground. Take a deep breath while extending your legs, pushing against the resistance band until your legs are straight in front of you. While exhaling, bend your knees slowly until the backs of your heels touch the backs of your thighs. This constitutes a single repetition. Do the exercise between 6 and 10 times.
Single Leg Extension
While still on your back with your legs outstretched, bring your left knee up to your chest and position the resistance band again behind the arch of your foot. Hold each end of the band in your hand, taking up any slack in the band, and extend your leg upwards and then slowly back down to your chest. Repeat this motion between six and 10 times, first on the left leg and then on the right.
Resistance Band Row
Sit with your legs stretched in front of you and your back straight and perpendicular to your legs. Again, position the resistance band under the arches of both your feet. You should find a comfortable handhold in the middle of the resistance band with your palms facing your body. In order to perform this exercise, lean slightly forward and focus on using the muscles in your back to pull your elbows back. Perform 6 to 10 repetitions per set.
Begin this exercise by standing, or lying down, with your feet on the middle of the resistance band, the ends of the band held in either hand so that there is no slack in the band. The palms of your hands should be facing forward if standing, upward if lying down. Slowly bend your elbows, keeping the muscles in your arms tight. As your hands get close to your chest, you should feel increased resistance from the band and a resulting increase in muscle tension in your biceps. After reaching your chest, return to your initial position with your hands at your sides. Also perform this exercise for 6 to 10 repetitions.
Andrea Boldt has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.