Slideshow: Total-Body Circuit
By Rachel Crocker, Fitness Model; Photography Paul Buceta; Model Karen Lisa Borders
1. The Big Band Theory
You’ve heard the hubbub about bands before – they offer portability, a more functional range of motion than free weights, and resistance both in the eccentric and concentric portions of a movement – but maybe you’ve yet to put them into play. Here’s your chance: this seven-move workout combines band, dumbbell and body-weight exercises to create a yawn-free routine you can do in your home.
Note: If you don’t have dumbbells, moves like squats and step-ups can be done without. Also, take 30 to 45 seconds of rest in between sets to allow for adequate recovery.
What to do: 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps (per leg)
Set Up: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand facing a staircase.
Action: Place one foot on the second step [A] and press through your heel to raise yourself up, allowing your opposite foot to trail behind you [B]. Return to the start and repeat. When all your reps are done on one side, switch to the other.
3. One-arm band row
What to do: 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps (per arm)
Set Up: Anchor a resistance band a few feet off the floor, and sit facing it on a stability ball or chair. Hold one end in your right hand and extend your arm in front of you.
Action: Bend your arm to row the handle towards you, ensuring that your elbow does not flare out as you move. Pause for one count, then slowly extend your arm to return to the start. Continue until your set is through, then repeat on your left side.
4. Stability-ball incline push-up
Set Up: Place your hands on a stability ball and extend your legs behind you, supporting your body on your toes and extended arms.
Action: Bend your arms to slowly lower your chest towards the ball. Keep your core engaged and focus on keeping your hips lifted. Press through your palms to extend your arms and return to the start.
Note: Do this move against a sturdy chair or couch if you have having trouble stabilizing your body.
What to do: 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Set Up: Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
Action: Bend your legs and stick your tailbone behind you to lower into a squat. (Remember to keep your chest lifted!) Stop when your thighs are about parallel to the ground, then press through your heels to stand.
6. Band hamstring curl
What to do: 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps
Set Up: Tie the ends of a band together around a sturdy object one or two feet off the ground – make sure it’s secure! (A looped band without handles would work well in this instance.) Lie face down in front of it and loop the middle of the band around your ankles, as shown.
Action: Flex your knees to bring your heels closer to your glutes. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.
7. Chair dip
What to do: 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Set Up: Sit on a sturdy chair or couch, with your legs extended in front of you and heels touching the ground. Place your hands on either side of your hips and extend your arms to lift your butt above and in front of the seat.
Action: Maintain a vertical torso as you bend your arms to lower your glutes towards the floor. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor, then extend your arms to return to the start.
Note: Can’t make it to at least 10 reps? Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground.
8. Straight-arm band curl
What to do: 2 to 3 sets of 12 reps
Set Up: Wrap a resistance band around a sturdy object at head height. Face the anchor point and hold one handle in each hand with an underhand grip, with your arms extended parallel to the ground.
Action: Focus on keeping your upper arms still as you bend your elbows, drawing the handles towards your shoulders. Curl as far as you can, pause for one moment to squeeze your biceps, then slowly return to the start.