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Place the band above your ankles. Stand with feet about hip width apart and have your hands on your hips or place gently against a wall for help balancing. Keep your legs mostly straight with a micro bend at the knee. Press one leg back and feel the tension in the band and the work in your glutes. (Image: Amanda Shapin)
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DC Refined x ShapinUp: At-home mini band workout

For at-home fitness folks short on space, there is one must-have piece of equipment to consider buying. It weighs less than a pound, takes up barely any space and will add intensity to your workout: the mini band!

Mini bands are a looped resistance band that's available in a variety of strength levels. When added to standard workout moves, mini bands will add tension, an extra challenge and can be used for a full body workout. If you have other equipment, like dumbbells or TRX straps, you can combine moves with the mini-band for an even more intense workout.

There are countless ways to incorporate mini-bands into your at-home (or at-the-gym) workouts and today we're sharing a workout routine built specifically with the mini-band in mind. Aside from needing very little space at home, this is an ideal travel workout. You can easily toss a mini band into your suitcase and grab it whenever you have a few minutes free in your hotel room.

How to do each move:

  • Squats: Place the band above your knees. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart, you want to feel tension in the band. Sit back into your squat as if you were sitting into a chair behind you. Keep the weight in your heels and gently press your knees out. Press your weight into the heels and squeeze your glutes to come back to standing.
  • Plank Walk: Place the band on your wrists. Start in a straight arm plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Walk your right hand out in front of you as far as you can go, then walk your left hand out to meet it. Walk your right hand back to the starting plank position and then the left hand to meet it. Aim to keep your hands shoulder width apart the entire time.
  • Lateral Squat Walk: Place the band above your knees with your feet close together. Take a large step to the right, feel the tension in the band and push against it, squat down, then step your left foot to meet the right and raise to standing position. Go 10 steps in one direction and then 10 steps back in the other direction.
  • Glute Kickbacks. Place the band above your ankles. Stand with feet about hip width apart and have your hands on your hips or place gently against a wall for help balancing. Keep your legs mostly straight with a micro bend at the knee. Press one leg back and feel the tension in the band and the work in your glutes. Do 10 reps on one side then 10 reps on the other.
  • Mid Back Pulls: Hold the band in both of your hands and bring your arms straight in front of your chest. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Keep the rest of your body still and laterally pull against the band, separating your hands as far apart as possible. Aim to have your arms long with a micro-bend at the elbows. Move slowly to return back to the starting position.
  • Hinge & Row: Step on the band with your right foot and hold the band in your right hand. Hinge at the waist with a micro-bend in your knees. This is your starting position. Pull the strap up with your arm in a narrow row position, keeping the elbow close to your body. Slowly release to the starting position.
  • Squat to Lateral Leg Lifts. Place the band slightly above your ankles. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Squat low, stand up and kick your right leg straight out to the side. Do 10 reps on one side then 10 reps on the other.
  • Banded Jumping Jacks: Place the band either above your knees or slightly above your ankles. Do jumping jacks as you normally would while pushing against the resistance of the mini band.

Two additional notes:

  • The equipment listed is a heavy band and a light band. You'll want to use the lighter band for upper body work (Plank Walk, Mid Back Pulls, Hinge & Row) and the heavy bands for the lower body focused moves. If you only have one band, work with what you've got!
  • When putting the bands on, avoid putting them directly on your joints. You never want the band to be on your knees, wrists or ankles, but instead slightly above as to not put extra tension on the joints.

Enjoy your mini-band workout! If you missed last month's workout, view it HERE or visit ShapinUp.com for more workout ideas.


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