Resistance bands are made of strong, thin rubber and have handles attached at both ends. They come in a variety of levels depending on a user’s fitness capability. It’s easy to stay in shape with these bands because they are so versatile. If you’re making a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, give resistance bands a try!

First, they are extremely cost-effective and can be purchased using a Kaiku card for as little as $15. Extensive kits may include DVDs with exercise routines for around $40.

The bands work for beginners and experts alike, coming in light, medium, and heavy resistance options. Loosening or tightening the slack can further adjust the intensity level. Advanced users can take on multiple bands at once to increase the challenge.

Resistance bands can be incorporated into familiar strength training moves. Users don’t necessarily have to worry about learning a whole new routine. For example, someone familiar with bicep curls can easily replace weights with resistance bands. Resistance bands can also be used for a comprehensive body workout that challenges virtually every major muscle group.

Because the bands take up a minimal amount of space, users can easily workout at home, even if they don’t have a ton of room. Frequent travelers can pack resistance bands in a suitcase or carry-on bag to workout on the go.

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While lifting heavy weights without a partner is not recommended, resistance bands are safe for solo use at any time. The combination of simplicity, power, and affordability make these bands a tool every workout enthusiastic should have.

Here are some popular resistance band exercises:

Front Squat: Stand on the tube in squat position with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Hold a handle in each hand and bring the top of the band over each shoulder. Sit straight down as you would for a squat with chest up and abs firm, pressing knees over toes. Rise back to the starting position and repeat.
Bent Over Row: Stand over the center of the band with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly at the knees and bend forward at the waist, keeping your hips back. Grasp each handle with your hands facing the outside of your knees. With bent elbows, pull the band toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Repeat.
Lateral Raise: This move works out the shoulders and is very simple. Stand with feet positioned over the center of the band, shoulder-width apart. Hold on to each handle with arms down at your side and palms facing inward. Raise your arms straight out to the side to shoulder-level. Lower and repeat.