In Home Muscle Building Workout with Bands and Straps
In Home Muscle Building: Fast Mass With Bands and Straps!
Tired of doing the same three or four exercises for your in-home workouts? As effective as body weight exercises can be, you’ll eventually reach a point where you need a different stimulus to grow. Push-ups, pull-ups, and air squats are great, but they’re not the end-all, be-all of low-budget muscle-building!
Fortunately, just a little bit of cash can get you a few tools that will make your workouts far more productive. A pair of straps – such as TRX straps – and a few resistance bands of varying strengths will enable more variations that you’ll know what to do with. Here are some of the most effective muscle building movements you can perform with bands and straps…
Pull-ups may be the best overall upper body strength builder, but you’ll never fully develop your back without some hard, heavy rowing. Rows work your lats, traps, and rear delts in ways that pull-ups just can’t, and the guys with the best-developed backs depend on them for continual gains.
To get rowing, hook your straps to a pull-up bar or other high, sturdy structure. Grab the ends, and find a foot placement that puts you at about a 45-degree angle to the floor when your arms are completely extended. Keeping your palms facing the floor, pull the straps hard into your sternum, keeping a “proud,” chest-out posture throughout the movement. You should really feel your shoulder blades pinching together at the top!
Challenge Move: Different Angles
These rows will feel tough at first – especially if you’re keeping perfect form – but you’ll soon reach a point where you need more resistance. Since you don’t have extra weights to work with, make the exercise tougher by using more severe angles. Move your starting position closer and closer to the floor, and keep progressing until you’re all the way horizontal! Also, try pulling towards your upper chest or neck instead of your sternum. This will make the leverages of the movement worse, forcing your lats and traps to work even harder.
Take push-ups to a whole new level by using hanging straps as your “handles.” They’ll wobble around like crazy, forcing your pecs and shoulders to work that much harder to stabilize your body. Even if you can bang out regular push-ups all day, a few reps will humble you when you first try this exercise!
As with the rows, you should first try a starting position where your body is at roughly a 45-degree angle to the floor. As you get stronger, keep moving the straps closer to the floor, so that you get closer and closer to the traditional pull-up position.
Once you’re able to do 15-20 reps in a completely horizontal position, make the move even harder by elevating your feet onto chairs. This will essentially mimic the incline bench press position, allowing you to build up your upper chest and front delts even more. To add resistance, you can also wrap a resistance band around your back!
Challenge Move: Dips
Don’t try this one unless you’re totally confident in your straps’ support structure! Once you’ve mastered the push-ups from all angles, set the straps high enough to perform dips. If you thought the strap push-ups were unstable at first, just wait ’til you feel this move! Even if you’re relatively light and good at regular dips, you’ll find these to be a serious challenge.
Air squats will always burn when you do enough reps, but they get easy pretty quick. And, as tough as the one-legged squat is, it’s not really practical for adding resistance and making long-term progress on your leg development. At some point, you’ll need add some real resistance to your squats! This is where bands come in handy.
There are plenty of ways to add resistance with bands, so you’ll want to find the one that’s the most comfortable and consistent for you. Most people opt to keep them in place under their feet and hold onto the ends with their hands, but that does require you to stabilize the “load” with your arms. Not a bad thing necessarily, but your biceps might give out before your legs.
To keep the resistance more stable and consistent, hold the end loops of the bands up by your shoulders, similar to the position at the top of a clean. Your shoulders and arms will still have to do a bit of work to keep things steady, but you’ll be more or less “locked” into place. With the band secure, you can give your legs a tough-as-nails workout!
Challenge Move: Extra Tension
Hopefully you’ve got some high-tension bands – your legs are going to make progress pretty rapidly with this movement! You don’t have to swap out equipment every time one band gets too easy, though. You can get a lot of extra resistance out of the same band by varying the amounts you keep between your feet. To make the move easier, give yourself lots of slack to hold onto. To make it harder, just shorten the lengths that run from under your feet to your hands.
Again, we’ve covered a squat, a press, and a pull – the three most critical movement patterns for mass! Still, you’ll want to play around with your straps and bands to find all sorts of other useful exercises. Do curls and extensions with the straps at different angles; perform upright rows with a band under your feet; and even do standing crunches with a band looped around a pull-up bar. With a little creativity, the options are endless!