They're lightweight, cost less than 20 dollars, and you can get a complete workout with just one piece of equipment. What are they? Elastic bands. And “Today” fitness expert Kathy Kaehler has some hints for an upper and lower body workout. Check out the tips she offers on “Today”:
Elastic bands are easy to use, inexpensive and they’re great to use at home or on the road. Bands can be purchased at most chain stores and sporting goods stores for less than $20 in a variety of styles. They're lightweight so they're great for travel, and you can get a total body workout without the use of any other equipment. They also create good resistance up and down, and it's easy to go from one exercise to another when you’re using bands.
These exercises are for the upper and lower body and they’re simple and easy to remember. For more exercises using bands, you can also check out band classes at your health club.
The first two exercises are done standing, and are for the arms.
Lateral raises: Standing and holding band handles, step on the band and raise arms to your sides. Then bicep curls are done in the same position.
Next is the one arm row: Standing with one knee on a chair and stepping on the band with your other foot, pull one arm up in a rowing move, then switch sides. This is for the lats -- the part of the back under the arms.
Then, seated, put the band around your ankles and with your legs lifted off the floor, push your thighs to the outside. This is for the abductor muscles -- the outside of the thighs.
Standing behind the chair and holding onto the back of the chair for balance, you can do leg curls. The band is under one foot and around the other ankle. Curl your leg up and down by bending the knee -- for your hamstrings (back of the thighs).
The seated row: Sitting on the floor with the band around both arches of the feet and holding other ends with your hands, pull back with the bands. This is for the back of the trapezoids, the rhomboids and the rear deltoids -- same as a rowing machine.
The last exercise is an outer thigh leg lift. Lying on your side with the band around your ankle, lift your leg against the band.
You can do each of these 6-8 times or 8-10 times, depending on the difficulty of the exercise. Just do as many as you can until you feel it. Try doing the entire routine about three times a week.
Kathy Kaehler is the fitness consultant for "Today." Please remember that these are only recommendations for getting in shape. Always see a medical doctor for a complete physical before partaking in any type of physical fitness program. For more information you can also visit Kathy's Web site at: