Most people assume the holidays are the most challenging time of year to stay on top of your fitness game. We disagree. Sure, it’s a time filled with yummy foods, festive parties, and family gatherings, but the holidays only last one or two weeks. Summer is another story. It’s the time of year when many of us, especially those with young children, have our routines disrupted for nearly three months. And while we look forward to fun in the sun, drinks by the pool, cookouts, ice cream, and family vacations, we don’t look forward to the disruption in our favorite Smart Barre and Pilates workout routines.
Don’t let a lack of structure give you the summertime blues. You can still stay in tip-top shape this summer even if you can’t get into the studio as much as you would like to on a regular basis. All you need is a set of resistance bands, and you can get a full-body workout anytime, anywhere—even on vacation.
Why We Love Them
If you’ve ever attended one of our barre classes, then you are familiar with the small, stretchy loops that we use to add resistance to our lower body moves. But what you may not know is that they are one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment out there. Often sold in packs with varying resistance levels, these inexpensive bands work your entire body, toning and strengthening from head to toe. And, because they are small, lightweight, and take up virtually no space, they are perfect for packing and can be used almost anywhere.
How to Use Them
When you sweat it out with us in barre, you typically use the bands to build and strengthen the glutes. Our instructor Colleen Hill swears by them for lifting and tightening your tushy.
“A small band at the right resistance can work your glutes just as well, if not better, than large gym equipment.”
One of her favorite moves involves placing a heavier resistance band around the upper legs, just above the knee, and performing a squat with alternating lateral leg lifts.
“Efficiency is my favorite word, and this move tones the gluteus medius while recruiting the gluteus maximus for the squat,” she explains.
Other effective booty-building band moves include:
- Banded Glute Bridge with Abduction
Place a heavy resistance band above your knees and lie flat on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Start by contracting your core and glutes, then push through your heels to raise your hips off the ground. Keeping the tension on the band, perform an abduction by pushing against the band and taking your knees wide. Return the knees to the center, lower the hips to the floor, and repeat. Perform 10-12 reps.
Using a medium to heavy resistance band above the knees, lie on your side with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your feet in line with your hips. Then, with your head on the floor or resting in your hand, lift the top knee off of the bottom knee with your toes glued together, opening and closing your legs like a clamshell. Perform 12-15 reps per side.
Beyond the Booty
In addition to booty blasting, bands can give your upper body and core some serious definition. Some of our favorite moves include:
- Tricep Extension
Loop the band around your palms and place your right hand, palm down, on your left shoulder. Bend the left arm to 90 degrees with your palm facing the floor. Straighten the left arm by pressing down on the band. Complete 10-12 reps before switching sides.
- Bicep Curl
Place the band above your right knee and kneel with your left knee on the floor and your right leg bent. Grab the band in your left hand and, keeping the elbow close, perform a bicep curl with the left arm. Complete 10-12 reps before switching sides.
- Lat Pull
Place the band on both wrists and raise your arms above your head. With your hands apart to keep tension on the band, bend your elbows and pull the band behind your head, engaging your lats. Perform 10-12 reps.
- Banded Bicycle Crunches
Place the band around the soles of your feet. Lean back approximately 45 degrees with your hands behind your head. Sit up and rotate your right shoulder to your left knee as the right leg straightens. Repeat on the other side. Complete ten reps on each side.
More Travel Tips
While bands are great for traveling, they are not the only way to stay in shape this summer. Here are a few additional tips for enjoying a trip without taking a vacation from your workout.
- Get Outside
There’s no better time than summer to take advantage of all nature offers. Consider your surroundings and make them work for you. Long walks on the beach, hiking in the mountains, or swimming in a lake are all excellent ways to get moving.
- Go Play
Kids shouldn’t be the only ones having fun. The whole family can get moving in plenty of ways that don’t feel like exercise. Take up pickleball, head to the golf course, play some tennis, go paddleboarding, dust off your rollerblades, or ride bikes. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your inner athlete!
- Plan Ahead
If hotel stays are part of the plan, choose properties with on-site fitness centers. If that’s not an option, google nearby studios and drop in for a class. The easier it is to work out, the more likely you are to do it.
- Download Your Favorite Smart Barre and Pilates Class
Did you know we have an on-demand library filled with more than 65 of your favorite Barre, Bounce, and yoga classes? It’s free with your All Barre Junkie membership, or it can be purchased individually for $35 monthly (click here). It’s a great way to get your Smart Barre and Pilates fix whenever and wherever you want.
If you have questions about how to stay on track while traveling this summer, reach out to one of our qualified Smart Barre and Pilates instructors for ideas. Each one has a unique strength and skill set, from sports to dance, personal training, and even nutrition certifications. Any one of them can give you suggestions based on your individual needs. And remember, the healthier you are going into summer, the easier it will be to stay motivated. Take advantage of our Six Weeks Til Summer Challenge happening now until June 18th, and set yourself up for summertime success.