guest post—> maria p.

by Janetha on February 3, 2011

in moves

Hey guys! My name is Maria and I blog at Chasing the Now. I’m currently studying to become a personal trainer and live in Japan with my husband where I have no access to a gym.


Janetha graciously allowed me to take over her blog for a post while she’s sunning away in Mexico. I’ve been reading Meals and Moves for over a year now, so I feel honored to be posting today.

Winter is the time of year I start to feel lazy about working out. It’s cold. I definitely don’t want to go outside, let alone drive somewhere in a car that is cold, too. I’m usually bored with my workout DVDs by this time of year and just want to do something different. Sound familiar?

If you can look past my goofy faces, I’ll do my best to show you a workout that hits most of the major muscles in the body, and you can do at home with nothing more than a resistance band/tubing with handles. That’s right—no fancy equipment, no heavy dumbbells—just you and a resistance band.

First, let me show you the moves, then I’ll show you how to put them together for a full-body workout.


Works: shoulders

Lay the resistance tube on the floor and stand on it with your feet about should-width apart. You’re going to grab the handles (with your knuckles facing forward and your palms down) and stand straight up with your knees just slightly bent. Pull up on the handles until your upper arms are even with your shoulders. Slowly lower the handle back down.

*There shouldn’t be any slack in your tube when you begin this move.
*Keep your hands close to your body during the entire move.
*Don’t lock your elbows when you return the handles down.


Works: biceps

Your starting position will be similar to the upright rows, except grab the handle with your knuckles out and your palms facing up. Keeping your elbows pressed in toward your side, you’re going to curl the handles toward your shoulders, then slowly return them to the starting position.

*Keep your wrists straight as you lift up.
*Don’t move your upper arms forward as you lift—keep your elbows tucked to your side.


Works: Triceps

Lay your resistance tube on the floor and step on it so that 3/4 of the tube is to your left and 1/4 is to your right. With your right arm, pick up the right handle and bend forward so your back is about parallel with the ground. Press your right arm against your side and bend your elbow to 90 degrees. Raise the handle by straightening your arm (backwards) until it is parallel with the floor. Slowly return to starting position. Repeat on opposite side.

*Make sure there’s no slack at the start of the movement. If you have slack, move more of the tubing under your feet and to the left.
*Keep your upper arm locked into your side to target the triceps.
*Don’t round your back—it could lead to a lower back injury.


Works: butt and quads

Place your resistance tube on the floor and step on it with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pick up your handles with your palms facing forward. Stand up, but keep your toes turned slightly outward. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the ground and raise the handles to shoulder level. Without moving your arms, stand up against the resistance and then return to squatting position.

*Your knees should never extend over your toes.
*Keep your back slightly arched.
*Don’t lock your knees when you stand.


Works: back

We’re going to attach our resistance tube to either a door frame (they make special pieces for this) or a high hook. Make sure it’s securely fastened before beginning the move to prevent injury. You’re going to grab the handles with your palms down and knuckles forward. Walk far enough away from where you attached the band that you have no remaining slack. Keeping your back as straight and immobile as possible, pull down on the handles until they begin to approach your upper thigh. Return to starting position. You’ll be going from eye level to upper thigh with the movement.

*Try to keep your back straight. My posture isn’t great and it shows in the above photo.


Works: chest

Attach your resistance tube to a door handle or hook about chest height. Make sure to secure the handle well to prevent injury. Grasp the handles with your knuckles out and palms facing down. Walk forward with the resistance band until there is no slack left. With your legs in a slight lunge position (you don’t need to take the back leg down all the way), bring your arms up to shoulder-height and bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Press out with your arms until your handles touch then slowly return them to starting position.

*Do not lock your elbows at the end of this move.


Works: hamstrings

Attach your resistance band to a heavy object (I used a dresser) or the bottom of a door jamb. It should be about ankle-height. Fit your foot through the handle and lay with your body flat on the ground, your head facing away from the resistance band. Keep your quads pressed to the floor, but curl your lower leg up as far as you can without discomfort or pain. Slowly lower the leg back down. Repeat on opposite leg.

*There should be no slack in the tubing during the entire move.

Here’s how you can put these seven moves together to create a great at-home workout with only your band:

  1. upright row – 10-12 repetitions
  2. bicep curls – 10-12 repetitions
  3. tricep kickbacks – 10-12 repetitions/arm
  4. squats – 15-20 repetitions
  5. pull downs – 10-12 repetitions
  6. chest presses – 10-12 repetitions
  7. one-leg curl – 10-12 repetitions/leg
  8. jumping jacks – one minute

Perform two or three sets of each exercise for a full-body workout. If you have the time, add some abdominal work between sets (crunches, bicycles, scissors). You can do this routine a few times a week (just not on consecutive days) if you like it. If at any time the moves become too easy, you can add more repetitions, or buy a higher-resistance band to increase the difficulty.

Please remember to listen to your own body above all else. If something hurts or feels uncomfortable, stop doing it. We’re all made differently and not every exercise is good for every person. If you have any questions you can e-mail me at and I will do my best to help you.

I hope you enjoy these moves. Let me know if you try them!

P.S. Taking photos of yourself exercising is tough.


have you ever used resistance bands for exercise? do you like them?

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Kathie @ Frugal Fit and Fabulous February 3, 2011 at 7:15 am

resistance bands are awesome! you can take them anywhere because they are so small. No room for excuses not to workout! Great post!

maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

That is definitely the great thing about the bands. You can do almost any move you want with them and a little creativity.

Nicole C February 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

I sort of had to laugh (at myself) while reading this since the other day while I was pumping some iron..or band snapped and broke. I guess I don’t know my own strength. That or the fact that my mastiff tried to steal it out of my hands the other day, jerk.

Haha, but I do like them! Nice job on your photos!

purplebirdblog February 3, 2011 at 9:22 am

Those pictures totally rule!

maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Thanks! Glad you like them.

Rose February 3, 2011 at 11:29 am

This is awesome. I just passed on a link to this post to a friend who was thinking about getting a resistance band for working out. The pictures are totally awesome.

maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for passing the link along! :)

Momma B February 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

Thanks Maria for a perfect post! I took some bands and a jump rope on a vacation a couple of years back and you’re right on, you can get a great work out!

I’m glad you posted the photos, it really helps when I can “see” the exercise done!!


maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm

It helps me to see it, too. Sometimes I can’t understand how to do things just by reading instructions. Glad you liked the post. February 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Lots of things I’ve seen online speak very highly of adding bands and such. Have come close to buying some in the past. Then I ask if a barbell alone hasn’t made me strong, how why would adding bands to it be the magical solution?

maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm

One of the nice things about bands, besides the fact that they take up a lot less space in a home gym than a barbell, is the variety of moves you can accomplish with them, everything from legs to chest and arms. They can be a great tool for someone with no gym access and limited space.

Rachel February 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Those are great tips! I have some resistance bands, but I never thought to use them attached to furniture for a lower body workout. Thanks for a great post.

maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Yes! I’m sure you could find more information about this online, but the important thing is to make sure whatever you attach it to isn’t going to move when you do an exercise. If you want to do overhead exercises there’s a special attachment for resistance bands that you put over the door, then securely close the door to hold the band in place.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Great post, Maria! And thanks for all your sweet comments on my blog lately, wanted to tell you that too :)

I have resistance bands but dont use them. This may have inspired me to dust them off!

maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

You’re welcome Averie!

Sarah February 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm

i really like these tips. i love throwing together at-home workouts to get in a little burn on days that i don’t go to the gym. :) i really want to add resistance bands to my home-gym!

fittingbackin February 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I haven’t ever used them! I always see great workouts in fitness and shape with them, but I don’t own any and my gym doesn’t have any! I’m considering getting some though – great to have at home!

maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm

You can find them pretty cheap at most stores. I got mine from Wal-Mart after New Year’s for only around $5. They are Gold’s Gym brand and came with a smaller band I haven’t used yet.

Marie February 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I’ve thought about getting a band but haven’t yet. Thanks for the work out and the pics are AWESOME! ;)

Emilyeatsclean February 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Japan? Wow! No gym? Eeek!!! I really like using resistance bands, they really can change up a workout quickly and are great to pack on a trip!!

maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Yep, no gym. It was killer at first because I grew used to having a gym at my disposal during college. I’ve grown used to it, though, and it just forces you to step outside your comfort zone. :)

Karen February 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Love the resistance band moves…especially the one-leg curl. I don’t belong to a gym and love the idea of using the resistance bands for a hamstring exercise!! Can’t wait to try it out!!

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