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Don’t Underestimate This Mini Band Workout

This lower-body activation session is worth everyone’s time.

full length of young woman exercising in gym
Carina König / EyeEmGetty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic continues on, many of us are still working out from home. And if you’re looking for ways to build muscle to power your rides, you might think you need access weights—but that’s not the case. One effective tool that doesn’t take up a lot of space is mini bands.

Cyclists looking to build muscle might dismiss the idea of using mini bands in their fitness arsenal. But if you’re making that type of blanket judgment, you might wind up ignoring key areas that can help to make your workouts—and big, important movements like squats, which no one would dismiss—even stronger.

Trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S., knows that some people might hesitate to pick up a band—but she thinks that you should leave your preconceived notions at the door.

“In the gym, we trainers actually use [mini bands] for activation drills or ‘finishers’ because resistance bands do a good job at ... you guessed it, adding resistance!”

Mini Band
Perform Better

Especially when you’re working at home, you have to find novel ways to challenge your muscles. Without a ton of weight at your disposal, bands can help to switch things up—and provide a slightly different focus than you’re used to.

“Joints have neutralizing and stabilizing muscles—stabilizers provide stability, while neutralizers prevent unwanted motion,” Atkins says. “Resistance bands do a great job at hitting a lot of those stabilizing muscles, which is why I specifically train doing some of these exercises pre-sweat to prime the body for movement.”

You’ll need some bands for the series, of course. If you don’t have any, check out this set from Perform Better.

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Perform each exercise for 30 seconds:

  • Quadruped Kickback
  • Clamshell
  • Lying Abduction
  • Deep Squat

    Start by performing 2 to 4 rounds of the series before a workout as an activation drill, or at the end as a finisher.

    “If you are looking for a total burn, you could add a few reps of these postworkout to make sure those muscles are firing,” says Atkins.

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