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How To Use Stretch Tubing for Strength Training — an article on the Smart Living Network
September 9, 2010 at 8:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

How To Use Stretch Tubing for Strength Training

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Building up strength in the body is all about presenting your muscles with enough resistance to promote growth and restructure. Each time a muscle is faced with a situation that requires resistance, it is forced to adapt and rebuild itself. For people who cannot afford a weight set or gym membership, an alternative is stretch tubing, which uses your body's own natural weight as the resistance needed for effective strength training. Besides being affordable, tubing also works well for people that travel or do not have time to visit a health facility on a regular basis.

Basic Exercises

When developing strength, it is best to stay with basic exercises that have been the reliable foundation of exercising for decades. Tubing has the ability to change its form to accompany each exercise. Here are the most popular movements in resistance training, along with how you can perform them using stretch tubing:

Squats

Stand on top of the tubing and make sure it is centered underneath you. Pull each handle up to your shoulders and slowly bend down to your knees. Return to the upright position and repeat. It is important to keep your back straight during squats. They will work your leg muscles as well as your lower back.

Seated Rows

While sitting on the floor, anchor the tube around something that is low to the ground; a good example of an anchor is a bed post. Pull the handles back towards you, allowing enough room to feel the stretch when your arms are fully extended. Your knees should be bent slightly, and the tube pulled until your shoulders move closer together. Sit up straight and be careful to avoid slouching. The seated rows are an excellent back exercise that will cause the much sought after V-shape in your latissimus dorsi.

Bench Presses

Anchor the tubing and hold the handles close to your chest, facing in the opposite direction of the anchor. There should be very little slack in the tubing as you push your arms all the way out and then return them to the starting position. Bench presses build up the chest muscles and the overall pectoral region.

Military Presses

As with the squats, stand on the centered tubing, and bring your hands to your shoulders with your palms facing upwards. Press the tube straight up until your arms are fully stretched, and then slowly ease them back down. This movement is essential for shoulder development, including the front, side, and rear deltoid, and the trapezius muscles.

Bicep Curls

Impressively defined biceps can be the initial motivation behind a workout program, and the key to bigger arms is to maintain a slow range of motion throughout the exercise. Position yourself so that you are standing on one end of the stretch tubing and holding the handle with that hand. Find the place to stand by testing to make sure that you can feel slight tension when your arms are extended. Keep your wrists straight and bring your arm up slowly as you grasp the handle, moving only your elbow. Feel the bicep contract before returning the handle back down, and picture how the muscle is working the entire time. Switch to the other arm and repeat.

Triceps Extensions

The triceps, located on the underside of the arm, are a main ingredient for the mass and definition of your arms. Stand on the tubing and bring one of the handles up to your head with your elbows positioned close to your ear. Extend the handle upwards and return it back down again. If it is easier, use your other hand to hold your elbow in place as you complete the exercise. Then, switch arms and repeat the movement.

General Guidelines

Beginners are encouraged to do one set of 12-15 repetitions for each exercise, and work their way up to include more sets as they become more comfortable. No more than three sets per muscle group are recommended for advanced lifters. Allow your body at least 48 hours in between workouts to rest. When you are using the stretch tubing for standing exercises, your feet should be shoulder-width apart. You must have control of every part of each exercise, so perform them in a deliberate manner. Correct breathing is essential to any workout by exhaling as you exert strength, and inhaling as you release the weight. It is not recommended to use tubing on concrete as carpeting, grass, or wood flooring will protect it against tearing. Inspect the tube regularly and check for any damages, leaks, or worn spots, and replace it as needed. In all of the exercises described above, the stretch tubing should be fully secured when anchored to ensure a safe, productive workout.

Sources: http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.aspx?itemid=237

http://resistancetube.net/exercises/

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