The resistance band in your closet can be used for more than just stretching. That’s right, you can use it to enhance your core workout, too. They have a ton of versatility because they come in a wide range of sizes and levels of resistance, and you can buy larger looped resistance bands, mini bands, and resistance bands with handles (which is what is used in the following workout).
Plus, if you’re traveling or don’t have access to gym equipment, working out with resistance bands is the way to go, since they’re small, compact, and affordable.
“Resistance bands are so great—they improve mobility, and they force you to slow down your movement and focus while enhancing your stabilizing muscles,” Amber Rees, senior curriculum lead at Barry’s in New York City and cofounder of the Brave Body Project, tells Runner’s World.
Rees designed this workout that includes resistance band abs exercises so you can work your lower back, hips, and pelvis together to strengthen your core and help you become a better runner, since your core is the power center of your body and aids in driving your body forward.
How to do it: Perform each movement for 20 reps. Complete 2 to 3 rounds of this circuit, resting as needed.
Lie faceup with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms straight out holding the resistance band above your chest. (Resistance band should be folded as much as you need so there is tension on it.) Engage your core muscles to sit up so that your shoulders are directly above your hips. Slowly return to the starting position.
Boat Pose to Hollow Hold
Start in a seated position with knees bent. Wrap the resistance band twice around your feet and hold one handle in each hand. Lift your feet off the floor, keeping your knees bent. Straighten arms out in front of you, next to knees. Your torso will naturally fall back slightly, but don’t let your spine round. This is boat pose, your starting position. From here, extend legs straight out, lowering feet a few inches off the ground, and extend your arms above your head, biceps next to ears. Engage your core—think belly button to spine—while pressing your lower back into the mat and looking straight ahead. Return to boat pose, then repeat the sequence.
Seated Trunk Twist
Start in a seated position with your legs straight out in front of you, the resistance band placed around your feet. Hold both handles together with both of your hands. Extend your spine to keep your back straight. Pulling your navel in tight, twist to the right, then return to the center and twist to the left. Repeat.
Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Make a loop with the resistance band and step on the band with your left foot. Hold both straps in left hand at desired location to provide your preferred amount of resistance. Place your right hand behind your head. Keeping your chest up and back flat, bend sideways at the waist to move your torso to the right. Return to center (the starting position) and bend sideways at the waist to move your torso to the left. Perform 10 reps, then switch the resistance band to your right foot and right hand, and then repeat for 10 reps—for 20 total reps.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your left foot on top of the resistance band. Grab the handle of the resistance band and bring it toward your left knee. Contract your abs as you stand up and bring the handle diagonally upward across your body. Move slowly to maintain control. Do 10 reps and repeat on the opposite side for 10 reps—for 20 total reps.