OK, so you have been working out regularly-–on your own or with your trainer--for a few months now. You like the results you are feeling in your body and really do not want to let the upcoming out-of-town trip [or vacation for that matter] stop your progress. You have finally moved away from the stationary machines in the gym and begun to incorporate free weights into your routine. Your shoulders, arms, chest and even your legs are beginning to show the definition you have been seeking for so long.

It is simply impossible to carry those 15, 20 or 25 lb dumbbells in your carry-on luggage! Your partner said to forget even thinking about lugging the 5, 8, or 10lb weights as well. Dilemma?

Oh contraire! It will be very easy to take your Upper and Lower Body workouts on the road using the common tools hanging on the walls of every gym.

Resistance Bands To the Rescue!

No! They are not just for women! No! They are not just for older people! No! They are not just for rehabilitating an impinged shoulder. Resistance bands are available in a number of strengths; light (~5-12lbs), medium (~15-50lbs), heavy (~20-60lbs), and even extra-heavy (~25-80lbs) and will provide ample and sufficient challenge, resistance and tone to the body of everyone. The key is to know how to use the bands and which exercises are used for which body part. Once you are comfortable, you can perform exercises for a solo workout session or involve a partner while on the road using the tool.

For example, with a set of standard bands (2-3 feet in length) with handles, a circular or figure eight band, and a door-strap attachment, you can get an entire body workout in your hotel room, outside in the park, in the woods, on the beach boardwalk or anywhere you choose.

A few exercises that can be performed inside your hotel room with a standard resistance band (with handles and a door attachment) are:

- Upper Body (door-strap attachment secured at the Top of the door): Lat Pull Down, Chest Press, Pec Flye, Serratus Press Down, Tricep Press.
- Upper Body (Door attachment secured at the Bottom of the door): Tricep Kickbacks, Bicep Curls, Medial/Lateral Shoulder Raises, Rear Delt Raises

For an outdoor workout, the use of a longer band (approximate 4-5 feet in length) wrapped high around a pole or tree will provide the same resistance for any high-pulley exercises and similar to those listed above (where the door attachment is placed at the top of the door.)

A few exercises that can be performed with the circular or Figure-Eight Resistance band to work the lower body are:
- Lower Body (wrapped around your ankles): Standing Ham Curls, Lateral Lunges, Standing Ab/Adductor, Seated Leg Extensions.

If you are just beginning a program, integrating your upper and lower body in the work with the use of the standard band – and perhaps a partner – can make the work equally challenging, fun and certainly void of boredom.

For example, wrap two bands at the middle and each partner grasp hold of their respective handles. Resist the band (and each other) by performing a shoulder row while adding backward lunges to work the lower body.

Challenge Stablity

You can intensify any workout with the use of the band by challenging your stability while working an individual muscle. For example, a simple bicep curl is performed by standing on the middle of the band with both feet and curling the bicep with the use of both handles simultaneously. However, to add challenge and core stability training to that exercise, you may consider standing on the band with one foot, stabilizing your core abdominals (engaging them from within) bending the knee of the other foot and lifting it from the floor while performing the bicep curl. In so doing, you immediately recruit additional muscles (the abdominals, erectors and quads) to stabilize your body while you perform the exercise.


The possibilities are endless and only limited by your comfort and knowledge of the exercises available to you with the use of the bands. Resistance Bands are my “on the road” tool of choice; inexpensive, lightweight; a great challenge to the mind, muscle and your stability. Remember! Any workout regimen that calls for dumbbells can be replaced with resistance bands.

Author's Bio: 

Gina Jackson, MBA, CPT, holds Advanced PFT recognition as a member of the International Association of Fitness Professionals (IDEA); maintains affiliate membership in the National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) and is certified as a Power Pilates Teacher and a proud Business Member of the Pilates Method Alliance.

Gina made a conscious career and lifestyle change to fitness in 2000 and assists clients in lifestyle fitness training programs; she is the Fitness Consultant, creator and energy behind http://www.Prescription4Fitness.com which provides fitness resources, tips, articles and MP3 downloads to assist your fitness goals in becoming a reality.