The equipment used for physical therapy does not need to be abandoned once you’ve completed your rehabilitation. It’s time to take these versatile pieces of equipment out of the closet and see that they can do so much more – particularly if you are short on storage space or traveling.
The often-used colorful stretchy flat band or round tube can be used for a full-body routine.
It may take some time to master. The resistance is not the same throughout the move: It becomes more challenging the further it is stretched (think giant rubber band). But you can lessen or increase the load by simply changing where you position your hands along the band or tube.
Beware that if the band slips from its anchor point, it may snap back at you (remember the giant rubber band).
Just remember to start slowly, get used to your band and regularly check it for gouges and tears.
Welcome to a whole new world of fitness training.
Wrap the tube around your back and bring the ends forward, under your arms and armpits. Grasp tube close to the armpits, adjust your grip to increase or decrease tension. Press hands forward and slightly together with palms facing down and arms parallel to the ground until your arms are straight but not locked. Return hands to the start making sure to keep elbows up and away from your sides.
Grip the tube with hands about 12 inches apart. Extend arms forward and up so they are straight and hands are slightly above forehead height. Pull the tube apart and down toward the top of your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Release and return to the starting position. Keep your shoulders down and core engaged so you don’t lean backward. A closer grip increases your resistance.
Drag the tube to your right, stepping on it with your right foot, (create more resistance by stepping further from the end). Reach across with your left hand to grab the end of the tube starting at the right hip. Raise your arm up and away, like you are drawing a sword, until your hand is above shoulder height and the tube has created a diagonal line across your torso. If your arm starts to bend, lessen the tension. Repeat on the other side.
Stand on your tube with feet evenly spaced and a lot of slack between your feet. For more resistance and to prevent the tube from slipping out from under your feet, criss-cross the tubes to make an “X” in front of you. Take a large step to the right with your right foot, then step with your left, but never let your feet come all the way together. Keep your knees soft and chest upright. If you have the space try taking 4 steps to the right, then 4 to the left. Repeat 3 times.
Start standing on the tube with your feet shoulder width apart. Grasp the tube below the handles or 5 inches from the ends. You should hold the tube tight enough that there is tension. Send your hips back behind you as you lower your body. Squeeze your glutes and keep your shoulders down as you stand up. For an extra challenge, go slowly and hold the lower position.
Anchor your tube around a sturdy point at waist height. With feet shoulder width apart, lower hips to a semi-squat position. Step far enough back from the tube anchor that with arms starting straight in front of you, there is still tension in the tube. Row elbows back, keeping them close to your body and squeeze your shoulder blades toward your spine. Keep your core engaged and remain in the semi-squat position throughout. Return arms to straight and repeat.
Start holding your tube with your hands about 12 inches apart, elbows bent and the tube directly in front of your forehead. This should resemble a goal post. Keep your upper arms in the same position, then extend your arms out to the sides to create a “T.” Return to starting position and repeat. Avoid leaning back or dropping your hands below shoulder height.
Kimberly Z. Miller, director of Health and Wellness and Healthy Living for the Eugene Family YMCA, is a 16-year veteran of fitness programming with an expertise in personal training and group exercise.