5 Best Mini Band Warm-Up Exercises
On first glance, most people might look at mini bands and either have no idea how or why they should be used, or dismiss them as not being useful in their fitness endeavors. We hope that after reading this post, you don't fall into either category.
The truth is, mini bands are a powerful and versatile piece of equipment which can enhance the results of cardiovascular, interval-based or resistance-based training programs. This is because of their ability to enhance the functional strength and stability of numerous muscle groups all over your body, thus making your workouts even more effective.
If we've piqued your interest, then we urge you to read on as we explore the benefits of using mini bands and outline several of our favorite warm-up exercises in which you can use them.
Benefits Of Mini Bands
Mini bands are used to create an additional level of tension or resistance in your warm-up exercises, which activates your muscles and makes you even more prepared to start using those muscles in your subsequent workout.
In other words, you’re slightly increasing the difficulty of your warm-up exercises through the use of mini bands, which will apply a level of strength training to your warm-up, because of the added resistance.
In addition to the above, here are three of the main reasons we recommend that any of our Gloveworx contenders consider using mini bands:
- They can be used by anyone – mini bands provide an element of strength training to your key muscle groups (which we’ll explore a bit later in this post) without putting a lot of stress on said muscles. Thus, they’re a fantastic tool for people of all ages and fitness levels.
- They can be used anywhere – As mini bands are so small and lightweight, they’re extremely portable. That means you can not only use them at home, but also toss them in your gym bag when you attend a Gloveworx training session, or even take them on the road when you travel. If you’re someone who has a long commute or travels a lot for work, we recommend bringing mini bands along with you whenever possible, because they can do wonders for loosening your hips and lower back.
- They’re inexpensive – Even though mini bands are made from a variety of materials that allow them to be strong and durable enough for athletes of all types, they’re still a very cost-effective piece of equipment. Individual or sets of mini bands cost anywhere from just over $10 to no more than $30, on average.
How Mini Bands Can Make You A Better Boxer
We’d be remiss to not mention how mini bands can make you a better boxer. The truth is, in addition to increasing the efficacy of your warm-up exercises, using mini bands as a tool in your cross-training regimen can yield very tangible improvements.
Using resistance bands as part of a weight lifting regimen can improve your overall muscle performance. Taking that one step further, using resistance bands as part of multiple-joint exercises measurably increases the output of several exercises involving the shoulders, upper back and arms.
Anyone who’s boxed before knows how important muscle development is for boxers, especially since they’re all activated when you’re punching.
Best Mini Band Warm-Up Exercises
If you decide you’re ready to purchase a mini band (or a set of them), the neat thing is that many vendors include various videos or dedicated links containing exercises you can perform with mini bands, and instructions on how to perform them.
Below, Gloveworx Coach Marquise Liverpool showcases the five best mini band warm-up exercises for you to try during your next training session.
Ankle Jumping Jacks
As the name implies, ankle jumping jacks mimic much of the same movement(s) with jumping jacks but provide greater activation of your inner and outer thighs thanks to the mini band. Here’s how to perform them:
- Place your mini bands around your ankles.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart.
- Slightly bend your knees.
- Start hopping up and down, moving your feet together and out again, the same way you would when performing jumping jacks.
- Instead of performing the arm motions associated with jumping jacks, keep your hands up by your face, in the standard boxing defensive stance.
- Start by doing 20 reps of these, with one repetition constituting your feet moving outward and then back together.
- Gradually work your way up to doing this for one minute straight.
Plank Jacks challenge your shoulders, core muscles and glute muscles. Adding resistance bands to this exercise further engages your lower core and glutes.
- Place your mini band around your ankles.
- Assume a push-up or plank position.
- Start bringing your feet together and outward, the same way you would when performing jumping jacks; your body should “hop” slightly to perform this motion.
- Start by doing ten reps of these, with one repetition constituting your feet moving outward and then back together, and work your way up to doing 25 reps.
- Maintain proper form, engaging the core and keeping a level back.
This is an exercise that stretches out everything from your glutes to your hamstrings to your inner thighs-- when you add a resistance band to regular standing kickbacks, you can strengthen all those important muscles.
- Place your mini band around your ankles.
- Stand with your feet only a couple of inches apart. They should be close together, but not touching.
- In that stance, shift your weight over to one foot.
- Take your non-weight-bearing leg and slowly swing it back behind your body without bending your knee or leaning your torso forward
- With this exercise, you only want to swing your foot back far enough so that it only raises a few inches off the ground. You don't want your thigh being anywhere near parallel with the ground.
- Perform ten reps with your first leg, then bring your feet back together, shift your weight onto your other leg, and perform the exercise again.
The squat is one of the most fundamental exercises there is, and performing the exercise with a resistance band only adds to the lower body-strengthening benefits.
- Place the resistance band across your thighs, a few inches above your knees or about halfway up your thigh.
- Start to lower your body as if you're sitting in an invisible chair, with your body weight resting primarily on your heels.
- While doing so, make sure you focus on keeping your torso upright, and perpendicular to the ground; make sure you do not lean your torso forward.
- Lower your body until your thighs are completely parallel to the ground, or until your glutes are in line with your knees.
- Push your body back upward, until you're back in your starting position; that's one squat.
- Start by performing ten squats, and work your way up until you can do a set of 25.
While this exercise might feel a bit silly, especially to anyone who’s owned a male dog, it’s a great exercise for fully activating the glute and inner thigh muscles, and those effects are compounded when using mini bands.
- Place the resistance band just above your knees, so that the bottom of the resistance band is barely grazing the top of your knees.
- Start on the ground in the "all fours" or crawl position, with your hands and your knees on the ground.
- Keeping your hips still, lift one knee and thigh 90 degrees out to the side.
- Return your thigh to your starting "crawl" position. That's one repetition.
- Perform ten repetitions with each leg, and work your way up to 25 repetitions.
There’s No Reason To Resist Using Mini Bands
As we've discussed, the beauty of mini bands is that they can be worked into your existing fitness routine, as opposed to having to learn and devote time to them in addition to what you're doing. Many of the exercises we've listed above are ones that we already perform during Gloveworx training sessions.
Feel free to ask any of our coaches how you can incorporate using resistance bands in any session you attend or between visits to the Gloveworx studio.
Visit Coach Marquise on Instagram to keep up to date on the latest happenings at Gloveworx: