You don’t have to belong to a fancy, expensive gym to get a full gym-style strength and cardiovascular workout.
Do this routine at home or take it with you when you travel — all you need is a jump rope and a set of resistance bands.
Do 8 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, and add a set when 15 gets easy. Once you add these exercises to the previous ones, you’ll have a workout that tones every part of your body.
When you buy resistance bands, get a pack that has several lengths and thicknesses. You can find a good set for less than $20 at most sporting goods stores.
1. Arm Curl
Stand on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grasp one end of the band in each hand, your arms at your sides, palms facing forward.
Lift your forearms, bending at the elbow and keeping your upper arms straight against your body. Your arms should form the shape of an L.
2. Resistance Rowing
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, your knees very slightly bent. Loop the resistance band around your feet.
Keeping your back straight, pull both handles of the bands back to your sides, as if you were rowing a boat. Your palms should be facing downward. Keep your back relaxed. Hold for a count of three, then straighten your arms and return to the starting position.
3. Chest Press
Sit down and place the resistance band around your back and under your armpits. Hold one end in each hand.
Keeping your upper arms parallel to the floor and your hands about shoulder-width apart, extend the arms out in front of the body, hold for a count of three (Second photo). Then ease your arms back toward your body.
4. Band Squat
Hold the end of a resistance band in each hand and stand on top of the center of the band, with feet hip-width apart. Bring your hands together in front of your chest so that your elbows point down and the bands wrap over your upper arms. Be sure to stand tall.
Ease your body down as if sitting on a chair. Lower yourself as far as you can without leaning your upper body more than a few inches forward. Be sure not to move past the point at which your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your head up throughout the motion. Slowly return to the starting position.
5. Triceps Extension
Hold both ends of resistance band with your left hand and the doubled-up middle of the band with your right hand, feet hip-width apart. Place your left hand over the front of your right shoulder. Bend your right elbow so that your right hand is by your hip, palm facing inward. Make sure the band isn’t too loose; if it is, grab the band higher up.
With your elbow stationary, straighten your right arm out behind you so that the band gets tighter as you go. Don’t allow your elbow to lock. Hold for a moment. Slowly return to starting position. Switch sides, and alternate arms.
6. Calf Press
Hold one end of the resistance band in each hand and sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Wrap the band around the top of your right foot. Bend your right knee slightly and lift it in the air. Sit up straight. Bend your left knee for comfort if needed.
Point your toe forward as you pull back on the band. Hold this position a moment, while maintaining your pull on the band, straighten your foot and then pull your toes back to your body. Repeat until your set is complete, then switch feet.
7. Shoulder Press
Stand on one end of the band and hold the handle at the other end in your left hand. Your right hand should be resting gently on your hip.
Keeping your back straight, slowly press your left arm above your head, as if you were volunteering to answer a question. Hold for a moment, then slowly lower your arm to the starting position. Repeat until the set is complete, then switch to your right arm.
8. Jump Rope
Jumping rope is a fabulous way to burn calories fast. It’s also a great alternative to walking in bad weather. Make sure to wear a good pair of exercise shoes and jump on a surface with a little “give,” like a wooden floor or an exercise mat. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
When buying a jump rope: Make sure the rope is long enough, but not too long. Stand on the center of the rope. The handles should reach to your armpits. For most adults, a jump rope 9 to 10 feet long is adequate.