By Janet Lee
Updated: August 26, 2011

Everyone's trying to save money, and resistance bands are an easy way to firm up without breaking the bank. The unique thing about bands is that the tension increases as you stretch them, so the exercise gets harder as you move through the range of motion, challenging your muscles in a different way than weights do. That helps you get stronger faster. Plus, they're light, so you can tuck one in your bag when you travel. Add these moves to your routine and you'll look like a million-for only a few bucks!

Why resistance bands work

These moves work all your major muscles. Upper body: The pectoralis major and deltoids move your arms forward and to the sides, while your biceps and triceps bend and straighten the elbows. The latissimus dorsi draws your arms back and down, and the abdominals flex your spine and rotate your torso. Lower body: The glutes extend your legs and help rotate them outward; your quadriceps and hamstrings extend and flex (bend)your knees.

PRIMARY MUSCLES TARGETED BY RESISTANCE BANDS

1. pectoralis major and deltoids

2. biceps and triceps

3. latissimus dorsi

4. abdominals

5. glutes

6. quadriceps and hamstrings

Resistance Band Workout

You'll need a resistance band and a bench. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes, then do 1 set of each move without resting; take a 1-minute break and repeat the circuit once or twice.

Go to the Resistance Band Workout

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