Top 5 Resistance Band Stretches
One of the most useful pieces of fitness equipment you can have at home just happens to be one of the most affordable and easiest to store: the resistance band. While you can use resistance bands for a large variety of purposes, including strength training and even cardio, they are especially effective for stretching and mobility.
If you’re looking for a way to use your resistance bands that will be highly beneficial to your body and health or, conversely, are seeking a way to get a deeper, more effective stretch, this article offers five great resistance band stretches that you can add to your daily or weekly routine.
Benefits of Stretching With Resistance Bands
In general, resistance band stretching can be highly beneficial to your body. First, stretching improves your flexibility and mobility, which allows you to complete various physical activities - both for exercise and just activities of daily living - with fewer limitations and with more comfort. For example, being able to touch your toes will help you with any reaching activities that require loose hamstrings. Further, being more mobile and flexible will help prevent injuries, which can be especially desirable if you’re an athlete or older adult.
Stretching also improves your posture, increases your energy, and releases tension in your body. In general, resistance band stretching can be very relaxing and destressing, especially when compared with higher-intensity and higher-impact workouts. This makes it a great option for active rest days or self-care sessions.
All of that being said, stretching with resistance bands is even better because it’s even more effective. Using resistance bands can allow you to get deeper into stretching positions that would be difficult to achieve with just your bodyweight or strength alone. It also has the positive effects of improving blood flow, decompression, and enhancing joint health.
With all of that being said, here are five of the best resistance band stretches you can try and how to do them.
Five Resistance Band Stretches to Try Today
Shoulder and Chest Stretch
These resistance band shoulder stretch exercises are great for both your shoulders and pectoral muscles, which will help mobilize your shoulder joints and improve your posture. This makes it a fantastic option for any athletes who often do exercises that involve reaching overhead, such as gymnastics, swimming, or Olympic lifting. It’s also a great warm-up for activities such as rock climbing.
To perform this resistance band stretch, hold your resistance band in both hands. Slightly pull the band apart as you raise your arms over your head and pass them behind your body. Perform 10 to 12 reps and repeat for further sets if you’d like.
Lying Hamstring Stretch
This is perhaps the best stretch you can do with a resistance band, especially for your hamstrings, which can be notoriously difficult to improve flexibility in. This is especially important because most people have tight hamstrings, which can cause problems such as lower back pain, knee pain, foot pain, and posture issues.
To perform this resistance band stretch, lay on your back and wrap the resistance band around your foot. Straighten your leg and lift it off of the ground. Use the resistance band to assist you in pulling your leg toward you, keeping the leg as straight as possible. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, breathing deeply and deepening the stretch as you exhale. Repeat for the second leg. You can do up to three sets.
Seated Hamstring Stretch and Upper Back Stretch
Another great stretch for the hamstrings is the seated forward fold, which gets both of your hamstrings at once and can even be a good stretch for your upper back. This is great because so many of us have tightness and discomfort in our upper backs from spending so much time hunched over laptops, computers, and mobile devices. Doing this stretch can help open up your upper body and provide pain relief.
To perform this stretch, sit on the floor with your legs straight together and outstretched in front of you. Flex your feet and wrap your resistance band around them. Keeping a straight back and tight core, lean forward, using the band to help bring your chest toward your thighs. To make this stretch hit more of your back, sit up and curl backward, stretching your back open. Keep your core tight. This chest exercise helps to keep you in shape.
Adductor and Abductor Stretch
Because it is very similar to the lying hamstring stretch, you can perform this stretch directly after you do that one. However, this one will stretch your hip adductor and abductor muscles, which not only feels great, but can also help you be able to achieve advanced stretches such as the splits. It’s also a fantastic step toward injury prevention.
Lying on your back with the resistance band looped over your foot, raise your leg into the air with the knee straightened. First, bring the leg out toward the ground, away from your body, pulling the resistance band toward you. Then, cross the leg over your body, pulling it to the ground on the other side, keeping your leg as straight as possible. Stretch both legs thoroughly in both directions.
The final stretch on our list is the quad stretch, which is a wonderful stretch for athletes who heavily use their quad muscles for strength work. This includes cyclists, weight lifters, and skaters. Stretching this muscle will help balance all of the strength training.
This stretch can be performed either laying down or kneeling. The key is that you are able to wrap your foot in the resistance band with your leg bent, heel toward your bottom. Use the resistance band to pull the heel closer and closer to your body, keeping the hips square and core tight. To deepen the stretch, squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward.