The mini-band is a fitness tool that can seriously enhance your workouts. If you have taken my barre classes you probably already know how much I love using the band for butt and thigh work, but there are SO many other uses for it. Not only is it super inexpensive, but you can take it anywhere (gym, outdoors, travel, etc) and get a killer workout guaranteed. Below are 5 different ways that you work your arms, abs, and legs using just the mini-band:
1. Standing Kickbacks- Place band right around ankles and stand with your feet hip width apart. Hold onto a chair or wall to help with balance. Lift one leg, flex foot, and drive your leg straight back squeezing your glute. Pause for a moment before lowering. Repeat on same leg. Try not to lean forward and don’t worry about how high you lift your leg.
2. Pop Squats- Place band right above knees. Start standing with feet hip width apart and then jump legs out to a squat, making sure not to let your knees collapse in. Jump back up to straight legs without letting legs come closer than hip width apart so the band doesn’t slide down. Jump back out to a squat position and repeat.
3. Clam Shell- Lie on your side with your band above your knees. Stay propped up on your bottom elbow and engage your core so you are not sinking into your bottom shoulder. Bend your knees so that your feet line up with your butt and your legs make a V shape. Keeping your feet together, lift you top knee and pause for a moment at the top, squeezing the side of your glute. Make sure not to lean back as you lift your leg. Slowly lower your knee back down to hover over your bottom knee, and then lift back up, repeating the move.
4. All Fours Donkey Kick to Hip Abduction- Place band right about knees. Come to hands and knees, making sure knees are hip width apart. Without arching your lower back, lift one knee off the ground until thigh is parallel, or close to parallel, to the floor. Slowly lower and then lift that same knee out to the side so that your inner thigh is parallel to the floor and your knee is in line with your hip (think of a dog peeing on a fire hydrant!). Slowly lower and repeat.
5. Butterfly Bridges- Place band above knees and lie on your back with knees bent and feet together and arms down by your sides. Driving your heels into the floor lift your hips off of the floor and simultaneously open your knees apart. As you lower your hips back to the ground bring your knees back together and then repeat on same side.
1. Kneeling Rows- Come to a kneeling lunge position. Place the band under the ball of your front foot. Grab the band with your opposite hand and lean slightly forward maintaining a straight back. Pull the band back, keeping your arm close by your side as you do so. Pause for a moment as your elbow is bent before slowly straightening your arm back out and repeat. Option to lift back knee off the ground for more leg and core stability work!
2. Tricep Press Down- Take the band in the palm of one hand and rest it on your chest right in front of your opposite shoulder. Take the bottom part of the band into the other hand and bend that elbow. Keeping your arm close by your side, straighten out your arm completely and push your straight arm back slightly at the bottom, really engaging your tricep. Pause for a moment before re-bending your arm and repeating.
3. Double Hand Tap and Tricep Pushup- Place the band right above your wrists. Come to a high plank with hands shoulder width apart. Keeping the rest of your body steady in the plank, tap one hand out an inch or so to the side and then return back to starting position. Repeat on the other side. After tapping each hand out, lower your body halfway to the ground in a tricep pushup (option to drop to your knees), keeping your arms close by your sides, elbows pointing behind you as you lower down. Straighten arms coming back to plank position and repeat.
4. Hammer Curl to Shoulder Press- Place band right above wrists and straighten arms by your sides, keeping them shoulder width apart at all times to keep the tension in the band. Bend your arms until your thumbs are directly in front of your shoulders (hammer curl) and then reach your arms overhead keeping your palms facing in (overhead press).
5. Side Plank Row- Prepare for a side plank on your forearm and loop the band around that wrist like a bracelet. Stack or stagger your legs (or keep bottom knee on the ground to modify), and lift your hips into a side plank. Grab band with the top hand and from your side plank, pull the band across your chest, elbow reaching towards the ceiling. Slowly straighten arm back out before repeating.
1. Bicycle Crunches- Place band around the balls of your feet and lie on your back, lifting your legs to a table top. Place hands behind head and lift up to a crunch. Keeping elbows wide, twist one elbow towards your bent opposite knee, opposite leg will straighten out. Come back to center, legs in tabletop before twisting to opposite side. Make sure to fully extend opposite leg as you twist.
2. Table Top Crunch with Hip Abduction- Place band right above your knees and lift legs to a table top. Keeping hands behind your head, elbows wide, and making sure not to pull on your neck, hold the crunch and open your knees out slightly wider than your hips. Pause for a moment before returning knees to hip width and then repeating. Try and stay in the crunch position the whole time.
3. Plank Toe Taps- Place band around balls of feet and come into a high plank position, keeping shoulders above wrists and feet hip with apart. Lift one leg and draw that knee in towards your chest. Step leg back into a plank and repeat, alternating sides.
4. Frog Kick with Abduction- Place band right above knees and lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Lift legs to tabletop and then glue your heels together so that your knees and toes are pointing out. Keeping your back pressing into the floor, extend your legs out to a 45 degree angle. Once legs are straight, open them wider than hip width and then close them, brining heels back together. Bend your knees, bringing them back in towards your chest and then repeat.
5. Deadbug- Place the band around the balls of your feet. Lie on your back with your legs in table top and your arms straight in the air, directly above your shoulders. Slowly start to extend one leg straight, pressing foot into the band. As you extend your leg, extend your opposite arm overhead. Pause for a moment before slowly returning back to center and repeating on the opposite sides.
**You can purchase mini-bands here. They come in a package so that you can either progress and eventually make your workouts harder, or you can use the lighter bands for arms and abs and the heavier bands for the leg work.