Thera-Bands are wide, durable sheets of elastic that are typically prescribed for rehab exercises or recommended as a means of providing resistance for strength training when traveling. Thera-Band resistance (or difficulty) varies according to color, with tan Thera-Bands offering the lightest resistance possible; gold Thera-Bands offer the most. Red and green Thera-Bands offer medium and heavy resistance, respectively, making them ideal for most upper and lower body exercises.
Grasp one end of the Thera-Band in each hand, letting the rest of the band dangle. Lower the band enough so that you can stand on the middle of this dangling loop with both feet. Use your legs to help you straighten up against resistance from the band. Hold your arms straight but not locked at your sides. Your palms should be facing either forward or in against your body.
Keep your elbows close against your side as you bend your elbows, bringing your hands as close toward your shoulders as possible without swinging your elbows forward, arching your back or rocking your torso back and forth. Your palms should stay oriented the same way throughout the exercise; if they were facing forward, keep them that way. If they were originally facing in against your body, they will stay oriented thumbs-up throughout the entire motion. Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position.
Grasp one end of the Thera-Band in each hand. Open a door, and drape the middle of the Thera-Band over the top of the door. Stand as close to the door as possible, facing its open edge, with both arms bent at about 90 degrees, elbows tucked tight against your body. Exhale as you straighten both arms against the Thera-Band’s resistance. Keep your elbows tucked tight against your body as you do this; try not to move them at all. Inhale as you slowly return your elbows to the starting position, controlling the movement against the Thera-Band’s resistance.
Tie both ends of the Thera-Bands together in a knot and shut this knot, positioned at or just above ankle height, on the other side of a door that opens toward you. The looped middle of the Thera-Band should still be on your side of the door. Position your left ankle inside the looped Thera-Band. Step away from the door until you feel tension in the Thera-Band. Place your hands against the door to help stabilize your torso as you bend your left knee, curling your heel up toward your buttock against the Thera-Band’s resistance. Try not to move your left knee forward or back–keep it still throughout the entire motion. Slowly lower your foot back to the starting position. Complete a full set on the left before repeating on the right side.
Seated Rows (Lats)
Pass the middle of the Thera-Band around something heavy and stable, at about the height of your belly button when you are seated on the floor. The leg of a bed or of a heavy table are ideal options. Lacking these choices, you can tie a knot in the middle of the Thera-Band and shut that knot in a door. However you choose to anchor the Thera-Band, make sure it is not fastened to something that might come loose or fall over on you. Grasp one end of the Thera-Band in either hand. Sit down on the floor, facing your anchor, and scoot backward until you feel resistance in the Thera-Band. Tighten your abs to keep your body straight and pull your shoulder blades back and down to open your chest and stabilize your shoulders. Bend both arms as you pull the ends of the band back at about waist level. Stop when your elbows are just past (behind) the plane of your body. Slowly extend your arms, making sure not to lean forward as you do so, then repeat.
About this Author
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics at the University of Alaska Anchorage and contributes regularly to various online publications. Print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.