Please bear with me. I’m going to be typically British for a little while, and talk about the weather.
So, unless you’ve been living in a hole for the past fortnight, you’ll know that England has been pretty damn hot lately. We’ve had glorious sunshine and record breaking temperatures- with (for once) minimal rain.
I realise that this is no big deal in most countries. In England, however, and in London in particular, when the thermometer exceeds 30 degrees celsius it generally makes front page news. Trains get cancelled, buses overheat, hoards of sweaty-shirted office workers go on strike because with only a few half-hearted fans and no adequate air con, working conditions are simply, well, unworkable.
Despite the uproar, I’ve been absolutely loving the weather. I love the heat and will worship the sunshine given even the slightest opportunity.
Unfortunately, I do find it incredibly difficult to motivate myself to go to the gym when the weather is this spectacular – who wants to be stuck inside a hot, stuffy gym when you could be heading to the closest stretch of grass to bask like a cat in the sunshine?
Thankfully, a couple of months ago, I invested in a couple of Resistance Bands, which have saved my summer body from the exhausting lethargy that comes with overwhelming heat.
Essentially just a big, glorified piece of elastic, resistance bands are a great and extremely portable piece of equipment- the ideal exercise aid for muscle strength, endurance and flexibility.
Priced between £5-£25, resistance bands are much cheaper than a gym membership and much easier to carry about than actual weights. They come in different strengths – obviously the stronger they are, the greater resistance they will give and the “harder” the exercise.
And the best thing? They can pretty much be used anywhere, meaning that you no longer need to sacrifice your tan in order to get a cheeky session done.
5 Summer Strength Resistance Band Exercises
1) Resistance Band Squats
What: 5 sets, 20 Reps
How: Step inside the resistance band, feet hip width apart and ensuring that the balls of your feet are holding it flat against the ground, and looping the rest of the band just above your shoulder blades (but not around the neck!). Use your hands to grip the sides of the band and keep it in place. When you squat, your body weight should rest onto the heels of the feet, pushing your hips back but keeping your chest up. Remember to keep your knees in line with your toes – don’t let them fall in or out.
Why: Leg strength, great for the glutes and core stability.
2) Shoulder Press
What: 5 sets,10 Reps
How: Stand with the feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Loop the band around one foot, standing down on it to secure it to the floor. Grab the other end of the band with the same arm as the leg that the band is looped around. Your forearm should be on the outside of the band. Use your shoulder and back muscles to straighten your arm over your head. Lower and repeat. Make sure to swap to the other side once you have completed your sets.
Why: Strong shoulders and back – really important for posture.
3) Resistance Band Sumo Lifts
What: 5 sets, 10 reps
How: Lie the resistance band on the floor and put your feet inside, standing as wide as is comfortable. Use your feet to hold down the band. Bend in the legs, whilst pushing the hips backwards and keeping the chest up. It’s important to keep a straight spine and avoid rounding the back. Pick up the middle of the band with both hands (close grip) and straighten the legs whilst driving the hips forward.
Why: Core stability, strong lower back, glutes and legs.
4) Overhead Tricep Extensions
What: 5 sets, 10 reps
How: Stand with one leg forward and one leg back – not so wide as a lunge, but wide enough that you have a good, solid grounding. Loop the band around your back foot, standing on it to hold it down. Grip the opposite end with both hands, stretching out the band upwards, behind you. The elbows should be tucked in, with upper arms close to either side of the head and the forearms parallel to the floor. Keeping the shoulders and upper arms still, straighten the elbows, using the triceps to stretch the band upwards until the arms are straight. Gently lower and repeat.
Why: Lovely toned arms.
5) Resistance Band Seated Rows
What: 3 sets, 20 reps
How: Cross the resistance band so that it makes a figure of 8, rather than a circle. Sit down on the floor, with your legs straight out in front of you and your back straight. Each hand should be holding one end of the resistance band (one loop of the figure of 8) and the middle of the band (the crossed section) should loop around the feet. Pull your hands back as far as you can, squeezing the shoulder blades and the lats. Relax and repeat.
Why: Great back and posture exercise.