In training a large female population over the past 15 years, I have discovered that there are 10 resistance-band exercises that, when mastered, allow female fitness enthusiasts to progress to performing almost any advanced band exercise.
Below I provide you insight on these exercises and why these specific resistance-band exercises are extremely effective at helping females overcome common strength-training issues, address areas of frequent concern, and help eliminate common movement weaknesses.
1. Horizontal Chest Press
Many women cannot do a good-quality push-up. In most cases, this is due to a lack of abdominal stabilization strength vs. upper-body weakness. Performing an attached horizontal chest press will develop the same muscles used in a push-up while simultaneously challenging the abs to become a stronger core stabilizer.
2. Stationary Row
Women, like their male counterparts, dominate their daily activities using muscles located in the front of their body. As a result, this can lead to muscle imbalance and eventually a rounded shoulder posture. Routinely performing an attached standing stationary row will develop the posterior shoulder muscles that help counter the anterior shoulder muscles. Also, because this exercise is performed in a standing position, it activates the glutes to help simultaneously develop their stabilization strength while increasing posterior shoulder muscle recruitment. Having glutes and posterior shoulder muscles working together will eliminate any concern of a round shoulder posture occurring.
3. Overhead Shoulder Press
The most important muscles to develop cosmetically, along with the hip muscles, are shoulder muscles. Overhead shoulder presses develop the anterior, lateral, and posterior muscles of the shoulder. Also, because bands allow the movement to be easily modified, it is one of the safest ways to strength train overhead for females.
4. Band Pull-a-Parts
We need to make sure the back of those shoulders is equally strong so the front muscles don't dominate and give us that rounded shoulder appearance previously discussed. Plus, we need to keep the most commonly injured joint in the body safe. Pull-a-Parts, along with overhead shoulder presses, make sure the posterior aspects of the shoulder, and specifically the shoulder blade muscles, are being developed effectively.
5. Split Squat
Ladies should never forget how important the hip muscles are to maintaining their superhero status that is often placed on them by their family. Since most daily activities require single-leg support, split squats are the safest and most effective way to develop single-leg strength through the thighs and hips. It also will improve deceleration control needed for more advanced band exercises like running or lunging.
6. Reverse Lunge
How many times do you have to go up and down stairs during the day? Too many, I am sure, but that comes with the job of being superwomen. You don't want that important functional movement to be lost, so reverse lunges need to become a weekly strengthening exercise unless stairs and hills are no longer going to be part of your world. Reverse lunges, as compared to forward lunges, are safer and equally as effective at developing the lower-extremity muscles.
7. High Pulls or Upright Rows
Let's make sure we completely sculpt the shoulders by having you master the best total shoulder exercise there is next to overhead presses. High pulls are difficult to perform correctly, but when mastered, they allow the shoulders and shoulder blades to begin working together to build strong, well-defined shoulders you will enjoy seeing every day.
8 & 9. Attached Bicep Curls and Overhead Tricep Presses
Ladies, there is nothing wrong with great looking arms. The key to achieving this is making sure you train them aggressively. No big dumbbell or barbell resistance weight . . . just 30 to 45 seconds of continual exercise for three to four sets twice a week doing attached bicep curls and triceps overhead presses is all that is required.
10. 3-Way Pillar
Giving birth to children can be the end of abs for many women if this area is not trained correctly and often postpregnancy. Incorporating 3-way band pillars into a weekly workout two or three times per week will return abs to prechild state in no time.
Attention ladies, we need you strong because you are the foundation for most families. I know that is the case when it comes to our family. Strength training with bands is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, (no pun intended) but performed regularly, resistance bands definitely provide female fitness enthusiasts an effective and safe approach to developing total-body strength anywhere they wish to train.