How A Resistance Band Pilates Workout Tones & Tightens Muscles: 3 Pilates Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
There are instances in life where we need to elevate our actions or choices.
For example, if you’re a fellow Pilates enthusiast like me, then you’ve had the opportunity to experience something that once seemed unattainable. You know what I’m talking about – the feeling of unadulterated joy that emanates from Pilates’ mindful movements. The freedom from self-limiting beliefs. The holistic transformation of your physical and mental well-being.
The exercise system really is a beautiful rarity when it comes to working out. For all the Pilates buffs looking for a little challenge, I want you to meet my good friend: the resistance band. Or, as I like to call it, the versatile cousin of your run-of-the-mill, traditional dumbbells.
The prop can certainly turn your Pilates routine up a notch – especially since it’s available in several various resistance degrees. The thicker the band’s width, the heavier the resistance – a.k.a. it’s more difficult to stretch.
It’s convenient to keep around the house or throw in your bag, and it infuses your mat routine with new and inspiring possibilities. Like the Pilates ball, it’s inexpensive, portable, and provides a multitude of benefits when integrated into your workout.
Can You Rewind a Bit? What Exactly is a Pilates Resistance Band?
Made from elastic, resistance bands typically come in three variables: light, medium, or heavy. As you likely gleaned from the name, this popular Pilates prop adds an extra layer of complexity to your movement by providing resistance to your own bodyweight.
As physical therapist, author, coach, and speaker Dr. Kelly Starrett says, “Resistance bands allow us to be really clever.” Starrett, who works with both professional athletes and Olympic gold medalists, continues on to share, “If you add a band, you can rig it so that you can start to interact with the movement. It democratizes strength.” In other words, when you pull against a resistance band, it increases the difficulty of your workout. But, you can also allow the band to serve as an aid – pulling and supporting you as you move – making an unfeasible exercise accessible.
If you’re thinking that these compact, rubber-smelling infinity loops appear boring or the opposite of fun, think again! Resistance bands may look innocent (or “cute” because you ordered a pink-colored one), but in reality, they pack a real punch. They allow you to activate, strengthen, and tone all of your main muscle groups in a manner that’s simple yet effective. Plus, who can argue with getting a full mind-body workout in the comfort of your home?
Ready to dive into the benefits and uses of adding a resistance band to the gentle, mindful movements of your Pilates routine?
An At-Home Pilates Workout that Challenges Your Body
Whether you’re on-the-go, traveling, or working out at home, resistance bands are an effective and comprehensive way to recreate exercises normally performed with equipment. For example, by simply placing your foot on one end of the loop, or wrapping it around a fixed object, you’ll essentially mimic exercising with a spring or pulley system found on the Pilates reformer. When integrated into your Pilates workout, these bands bolster the difficulty of your movements because of the added resistance.
Unparalleled Support for Accomplishing New Exercises
While resistance bands can add a supplemental layer of difficulty to your routine, they also serve as a powerful assistance prop – transforming exercises that were once out of your reach into something achievable. They’re an adept wing-woman for guiding your arms and legs, and ensuring your body is in proper alignment. Because they’re such a beneficial aid, resistance bands are tremendously useful for Pilates beginners and those with injuries seeking a more rehabilitative or therapeutic workout.
Flexibility to Customize Your Pilates Workout
Everyone has different abilities and needs when it comes to how they practice Pilates – and that’s the true beauty of the exercise. It can accommodate all shapes, sizes, and levels of athleticism. The same concept applies to resistance bands. They can easily be adjusted to create the amount of tension that suits your individual strength and capabilities.
Multiple bands can even be utilized in conjunction with one another to augment an exercise and make it more challenging. Similarly, you can opt to reduce the tension by giving the band more slack when you’re holding it. And there’s really no shying away from the truth: Pilates resistance bands can make your mat exercises more effective, satisfying, and enjoyable.
3 Pilates Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
1 | Bridge with Thigh Press
To perform, lie down on your Pilates mat, belly facing up. Wrap your resistance band around both legs and shimmy it up so it’s sitting right above your kneecaps. From there, bend your knees and engage your glutes – pressing your hips upward toward the ceiling. As you exhale, press your thighs outward to create resistance with the band. Finish the movement by returning back to the starting position.
2 | Double Knee Bend & Stretch for Abs
To begin, lie on your back with the resistance band still resting right above your knees. Lift your legs into the air, keeping them bent. Bring your hands behind your head with your elbows open wide. Exhale to curl your chest up and stretch your legs out diagonally. From here, open your legs slightly – pressing into the sides of the band with your outer thighs. Finish it off by returning to center, bending your knees, and lower your head back down to the mat.
3 | Sidelying Straight Leg Lifts
Keeping your resistance band in the same spot, lie down on the right side of your body with your right arm extended beneath your ear for support. Straighten your legs and gently lift the top leg till you reach hip height. From there, pulse your leg up and down an inch to activate the band’s resistance.
Ready to dive into full-length Pilates classes for all levels?
With a myriad of options available, my easy-to-follow, yet powerful, exercise videos include workouts you can do anytime, at home, with no equipment, as well as classes using small Pilates props to amp up the challenge.