The lighter evenings and warmer weather are no doubt encouraging thoughts of the summer ahead. Envisaging the sun, tanned skin and, of course, the beach body. However most of us strive for the beach body in a panic with just a few weeks to go until the big exposure. Instead, let’s change our approach this year! Get started with an easy-to-follow workout which you could do at home or even better, in the sunshine. I’ve put together a workout which simply requires a resistance band. The resistance bands are cheap to buy and come in different resistances so that you can choose a level that is right for you. Also fantastic about these bands is that simply by changing your foot position, you can turn an easy exercise into a challenging one. It’s a great piece of kit and by following my workout below, you can use it to get fit and get the beach body for this summer!
The exercises should be performed in the order listed below. Perform 3 sets of 20, 15 and 10 reps. Following each set take a two minute rest. For an added effect, during the rest time, why not spend one of the minutes in a plank position! You do want that beach body after all, don’t you?
Wrap the resistance band around a tree, bench or any non-moveable structure. Facing away from the structure, adopt a split stance foot position. The distance you choose from the stable structure will dictate the resistance to the movement – the further away you stand, the harder it is. Hold the handles at chest level with your wrists in line with the elbows. Push forwards in a controlled manner, extending at a width of one to one and a half shoulder-widths apart. Return to the start in a controlled fashion.
Set the resistance band up in the same way as for the chest press. This time, standing slightly further away, turn so you are facing the stable structure. Pull the band towards the navel, leading the movement with the elbows. The elbows remain out to the sides but should be close enough to rub to the sides as the movement progresses.
To maximise the effect of this exercise, I’d suggest a wide stance of approximately twice shoulder width apart. In the starting position, the trunk should be upright and the knees slightly bent. Perform the squat by bending at the knees and hips, ensuring that the back remains in a natural, neutral position. Squat down to a position where the thighs are roughly parallel to the ground ensuring that the movement goes no deeper. The knees should fall in line with the toes.
Lead the movement with the elbows, raising the resistance under control to just below the level of the chin, or to a height which feels comfortable and where minimal movement of the shoulder occurs. Keep the elbows pointing up so that the upper back is fully involved. Lower at a comfortable speed, avoiding any rounding of the back.
Widen your stance to one and a half times hip-width apart. A split stance may also be appropriate if this stance proves too tough. Narrow your grip to shoulder-width. Tilt the pelvis for a neutral lumbar spine, ensure that the knees are not fully locked out and keep the body upright. Fix the upper arms into the sides of the body. Curl the band up towards the chest. Avoid any excess wrist movement and keep the elbows ‘fixed’ as the pivot for the movement. Lower the resistance under control avoiding over extending your elbows.
Adopt the same stance as the biceps curls. Hold the handles next to the side of the thighs with the palms facing inwards. Raise the resistance away from the sides of the body under control, leading the movement with the knuckles. Keep the elbow joints slightly bent. The movement should extend up to shoulder-level rotating the wrists slightly inwardly at the top of the movement. Lower the resistance at a controlled speed.
Place your feet approximately one and half times hip-width apart. A split stance can also be used if preferred. Bend the knees slightly and maintain a neutral spine position. If the exercise is too tough, a seated position could also be taken. Take the resistance band directly upwards until the elbows are straightened, without locking them fully.
This can be performed by either sitting or standing. Feet should remain shoulder-width apart regardless of which position you choose. Hold the handle in the hand and raise it above the elbow, dropping the weight behind the head. Slowly extend the arm until the elbow is fully extended but not hyperextended. Return slowly back to the starting position. When the set is finished, swap hands and repeat on the other arm.