Think you need a pile of weights to get in shape? Snap out of it and grab an exercise band instead. This portable piece of equipment may be even more effective than a set of dumbbells, because it improves strength and balance. Plus, “you work in a full range of motion, so it targets muscles that you can miss with weights,” says Lawson Harris, creator of this routine and owner of the Lab, a fitness studio in Brooklyn. Try these moves three times a week.
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Move 1: Lunge With Biceps Curl
(A) Place the center of the band under the instep of your left foot and position your right foot about two feet behind you. (B) With an underhand grip on the band’s handles, perform a biceps curl while bending your knees to lower into a lunge position. Complete 20 repetitions. Switch legs and repeat.
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Move 2: Hug-the-World Plié
(A) Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes out. Wrap the band around your back at bra level. Extend arms to sides, slightly curved, while holding the band just shy of the handles. (B) Bring fingertips together and bend knees until thighs are parallel to the floor. Open arms while returning to start. Repeat 20 times.
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Move 3: Squat With Overhead Press
(A) Stand in the middle of the band with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Hold handles at shoulder height, with palms facing away from you and elbows bent. (B) Squat deeply while pressing your arms directly over your head. Keep your weight on your heels and resist the band as you return to standing position. Repeat 20 times.
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Move 4: Crunch With Lat Pull-Down
Loop the band around a stable object, like a doorknob. (A) Lie on your back, gripping the band’s handles with arms extended. Raise your legs and bend your knees so your shins are parallel to the floor. (B) Crunch your upper body forward while drawing your arms toward your knees. Roll back to starting position. Repeat 20 times.
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Move 5: Side Lunge With Side Raise
Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, one end of the band under left foot. Grip other handle with left hand. (A) Step into a lunge with right foot; sweep left hand down toward right foot. (B) Push off with right foot to return to standing; raise right leg as you perform a lateral raise with left arm. Repeat 20 times; switch sides.
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Move 6: Monkey
(A) Stand on the center of the band with your feet parallel and wider than shoulder-width apart, knees soft, and handles in hands. (B) Bend your torso to the right while drawing your left elbow upward. Alternate sides briskly. Repeat 20 times. (And no cheating: Two sides equal one repetition!)