6 Resistance Band Exercises That Will Make You Stronger with Men's Health

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6 Resistance Band Exercises That Will Make You Stronger with Men's Health

Feel the burn—without the back pain

BY  EMILY ABBATE

Rafe Masters

Rafe Masters

There are few things less sexy than having back problems (something I know all too well). You feel old. You feel out of commission. You feel totally and utterly hopeless. But what if we were to tell you that there’s a way to alleviate some of that pain and perhaps, beat it? And even better — it’ll cost you next to nothing?

Meet your new BFF: the resistance band. The snap-resistant rubber band will cost you less than $10 on Amazon, is super portable, and can help you strengthen your back by working the supporting, surrounding muscle groups like the glutes, hips, and core.

“Resistance bands are a simple tool I give to a lot of my clients with back issues,” says Dan Giordano, DPT, CSCS, and cofounder of Bespoke Treatmentsin New York City. “Use it the right way, and you can activate your glutes and abductor muscles, which will help stabilize your pelvis and take unwanted pressure off your lower back.”

Ready to get to work? Here, Giordano shares six resistance band exercises you can do if you struggle from lower back pain.

Rafe Masters 

Rafe Masters 

HIP RAISE

Do it: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place a resistance band around your thighs, holding tension on it throughout the movement. This is your starting position. Brace your core as if you’re about to be punched in the gut and squeeze your glutes tightly. Then raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Lower your body back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps.

Trainer notes: “Keeping your heels on the ground instead of your whole foot will help activate the posterior chain, alleviate any extra anterior pressure, assure you’re pushing through the heels to rise,” says Giordano. “Also, make sure not to hyperextend at the top of the movement. When you overextend you lock your facet joints causing pressure on the spine.”

Rafe Masters

Rafe Masters

HYDRANTS

Do it: Begin on all fours, hips stacked over knees, shoulders stacked over wrists, with a resistance band around your thighs. Place your left hand on your right forearm, to ensure you won’t lean too much into your left side once you get going. This is your starting position. Keeping a 90-degree bend in the right leg, raise your knee up and out to the right (as shown). Once you feel tension, lower the leg back to start. That’s one rep. Do 8 reps; repeat on opposite side.

Trainer notes: “Lift that leg just until you feel the glute activate, and not more,” suggests Giordano. “If you go up too high, you’ll experience too much pressure on the back.”

Rafe Masters

Rafe Masters

SINGLE LEG LIFT

Do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place a resistance band around your ankles. Place your arms out to your sides at a 45-degree angle from your body. This is your starting position. Raise your right leg in the air, driving the knee toward the chest. Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 8 reps; repeat on opposite side.

Trainer notes: “Keep your feet flat and lift from the core not from the hip flexors,” suggests Giordano.

Rafe Masters

Rafe Masters

RESISTANCE BAND SQUAT

Do it: Grab a resistance band and loop it around your calf muscles. Hold your hands clasped out in front of you or by your sides. This is your starting position. Push your hips back and lower your body into a squat, and push back up. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps.

Trainer notes: “Keep a slight external rotation on your feet to take pressure off knees and lower back,” suggests Giordano. “While you’re doing the squat, press through your heels, pushing the butt back. If you’re doing it right, you should be able to wiggle your toes.”

Rafe Masters 

Rafe Masters 

BANDED BACKWARD/SIDE STEP

Banded Backward Step

Do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a slight squat, with a band around your ankles. Hold your hands clasped out in front of you or by your sides. This is your starting position. Step out about six inches to the right, placing the whole foot on the ground. Return back to start. That’s one rep. Do 8 reps; repeat on opposite side.

Trainer notes: “Stand firm and do not move the stable leg,” suggests Giordano.

Banded Side Step

Do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a slight squat, with a band around your ankles. Hold your hands clasped out in front of you or by your sides. This is your starting position. Step backward with your right foot about six inches, placing the whole foot on the ground. Return back to start. That’s one rep. Do 8 reps; repeat on opposite side.

Trainer notes: “Brace through the core and keep it stable throughout the movement so your hips don’t drop,” suggests Giordano.

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7 Ab Strengthening Moves You Can Perform With Back Pain

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7 Ab Strengthening Moves You Can Perform With Back Pain

Rafe Masters 

Rafe Masters 

In the summertime, six-pack abs are just as desirable as a cold six-pack of brews. But if you’re one of the 80 to 90 percent of Americans affected by back pain at some point in their life, crushing ab workouts is much more difficult than crushing Bud Heavies. Still, strengthening your core is absolutely critical, not just for day-to-day tasks and overall body stability, but also to help treat your annoying back pain.

“A strong core is critical in alleviating back issues,” says Dan Giordano, DPT, CSCS, and cofounder of Bespoke Treatments in New York City. “And while working out your abs may not feel stellar, there are exercises you can do to shape up without the wince.”

Here, Giordano shares seven ab exercises you can do if you struggle from lower back pain. The best part? When done together (do two sets of the below moves, resting 30 seconds between each), you’re tackling your entire core from the transverse abdominis to accessory muscles. (For more ways to carve your core, check out our new Anarchy Abs workout.)

Rafe Masters 

Rafe Masters 

MOUNTAIN CLIMBER

Do it: Assume a pushup position with your arms completely straight. Brace your core as if you are about to be punched in the gut. Without changing your lower-back posture, lift your right foot off the floor and raise your knee to your chest. Touch the floor with your right toes. Then simultaneously jump your right foot back to the starting position while bringing your left knee to your chest this time. Alternate back and forth. Continue for 30 seconds.

Trainer notes: “You want to keep your hands slightly rotated [out or away from your body] to take the pressure out of the shoulder joints,” says Giordano.

Rafe Masters

Rafe Masters

PUSH-DOWN

Do it: Lie on floor with feet in air, hips and knees bent 90 degrees, pressing lower back down. Press your palms and knees together; hold, maintaining resistance, for 30 seconds.

Trainer notes: “Do NOT hold your breath!” cautions Giordano. “Make sure to breathe easy, and brace through your core. When you feel like your back is starting to rise up, it’s time to stop the movement.”

Rafe Masters

Rafe Masters

SINGLE-ARM PUSH-DOWN

Do it: Lie on floor with feet in air, hips and knees bent 90 degrees, pressing lower back down. Press your palms and knees together; hold, maintaining resistance, for 30 seconds. Extend one leg until heel hovers one inch above floor. Alternate back and forth. Continue for 30 seconds.

Trainer notes: “If you feel your pelvis shift as you’re pressing your legs forward and down, you’ve gone too far,” cautions Giordano. “If it feels off, make this easier to execute by not lowering your legs as far toward the ground.”

 

Rafe Masters

Rafe Masters

ROLL DOWN

Do it: Sit on the floor in the top of a sit-up position, knees bent and feet planted. Slowly roll down and back toward the floor. When you feel the tension in your core activate, return slowly to start. Do 12 reps.

Trainer notes: “Make sure you’re not lowering down too far; if you go too far, your feet will likely rise,” says Giordano.

Rafe Masters

Rafe Masters

FOREARM SIDE PLANK

Do it: Lie on your right side with your knees straight. Prop your body up on your elbow and forearm. Raise your left hand until it’s perpendicular with your torso. Your body should form a T. Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully as if you were about to be punched in the gut. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Breathe deeply, hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

Trainer notes: “If you have back pain, the typical stacked-feet side plank will likely be rough,” says Giordano. “Instead, alleviate pressure by widening your base of support and staggering the feet at the base of your plank.”

Rafe Masters

Rafe Masters

MODIFIED CRUNCHES

Do it: Lie faceup on the floor with your legs above you, slight bend int he knees. Place your hands lightly behind your head. Pressing your lower back to the ground and bracing your core, raise your head and shoulders, then crunch your rib cage toward your pelvis. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position. Do 12 reps.

Trainer tip: “With back pain, your hamstrings may be tight,” says Giordano. “A slight bend in your raised legs totally fine so you’re not straining to perform the movement.”(Your hamstrings can be critical to dealing with back pain. Click here to find out more.)

Rafe Masters 

Rafe Masters 

ROTATION-FREE BICYCLE CRUNCHES

Do it: Lie faceup with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees so that your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders off the floor and hold them there. Pull your right knee in as you crunch straight up. Simultaneously straight your left leg. Alternate back and forth. Continue for 30 seconds.

Trainer tip: “You’re aiming for full extension of the leg, but it can be a bit much,” says Giordano. “If your back starts to hurt, you can raise your extended leg higher which will alleviate pressure from the spine.”

 

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Tips for anterior hip tightness:

As we know, prolonged sitting has many effects on the body, and so many people spend so many hours sitting! One common complaint is tightness and lack of mobility in the hips. When the body is positioned with the hips and knees at 90 degrees, the muscles in the front of the hip shorten and the posterior hip muscles (glutes) lengthen and become inefficient. There are a few simple exercises that can be done addressing both issues.

Follow Below for more info! 

  •  Foam rolling and mobility work has become a popular component of fitness for many people, and with good reason. When muscles are shortened or afflicted with trigger points (what many people call “knots”), they cannot be used efficiently. Foam rolling the front of the hip can help address the shortening of the hip flexor muscles that occurs with hours of sitting. It’s important to target the correct area: if you aim the foam roller just below the bony prominence at the anterior hip, you’ll begin to work into two of the hip flexor muscles, the TFL and the rectus femoris. Imagine where the front pocket of your jeans would be. Start there, and when you feel a tender spot, try to breath and sink into it for a few moments.

 

  • Lengthening the front of the hip to counteract the sitting position is also helpful. Finding a low lunge position with one foot forward and the other knee on the floor, step the front foot out so the knee is stacked over the ankle. Gently lean your hips forward, and try to tuck the tailbone towards the front heel. A stretch sensation in the front of the back leg will be felt, and can be increased by bringing the chest upright and pulling the lower abdomen in. Hold for about 5 breaths on each leg.

 

  • Finally, it is important to engage and activate the body in a way that balances the sitting position. When sitting for a long period of time, the glute muscles get “turned off” and stop doing their job of extending and pushing the hip forward in everyday activities like walking, running and stair-climbing. A simple bridging exercise is a great way to wake up and strengthen the glutes and hamstrings, while at the same time maintaining length in the anterior hip. Begin by laying on your back with knees bent, then tuck your tailbone and lift the hips only as high as you can maintaining tailbone tucked. Slowly lower to starting position by rolling through the spine. Repeat for 2 sets of 15.

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The Various Manual Therapies offered at Bespoke Treatments

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The Various Manual Therapies offered at Bespoke Treatments

Most physical therapists use a variety of manual therapies depending on the goal of treatment, patient pain level and their day-to-day presentation. Manual therapy can include any interventions the therapist performs on the patient while the patient is passive. Below you can learn a little about different manual therapy approaches used by therapists at Bespoke Treatments.

Article by Doctor of Physical Therapy Emily Lesinksi 

Cupping

This technique is applied to increase soft tissue mobility by using suction. Cups are applied to the skin and negative pressure is generated inside the cup, thereby lifting the tissues. While it has been a widely-used practice in eastern medicine for centuries, recent studies have shown that cupping causes vasodilation, drawing freshly oxygenated blood to the area, and tissue separation, increasing the ability of skin, fascia and muscle to slide and glide more easily. It is particularly effective in areas of chronic myofascial adhesion. Depending on the extent of the tissue dysfunction, cupping does cause a characteristic circular red mark where local vasculature is affected.

Photos by Rafe Masters 

Photos by Rafe Masters 

Graston

Graston technique is a instrument assisted form of mobilization or IASTM which is performed at Bespoke Treatments in order to improve soft tissue extensibility, increase blood flow/circulation, mobility and range of motion. "Graston Technique enables clinicians to effectively address scar tissue, fascial restrictions and range of motion through comprehensive training, resulting in improved patient outcomes." 

Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM)

Often thought of as “massage,” this technique involves the therapist using hands-on approaches to manipulate the soft tissues (muscle, fascia, other connective tissues). This may be skin-to-skin, and the therapist may or may not use an emollient on the skin to reduce friction. Therapists may be trained in different specific applications such as myofascial release, trigger point release, rolfing, petrissage or others and often use more than one in a session. STM is meant to increase tissue mobility by mechanical forces generated by the therapist.

Joint Mobilization

Joint mobilization is the movement of joint surfaces relative to each other via hands-on techniques. The patient remains passive while the therapist applies pressure to the joint, or a point just adjacent to it, with the intention of increasing extensibility of the ligaments, joint capsule, and other connective tissues that support the joint. This intervention is applied to areas of the body presenting with limited range of motion where the culprit may not be only muscle tension. When this technique is applied with a high-velocity thrusting motion it is called a “joint manipulation,” what chiropractors call an “adjustment”.

"All manual techniques are effective for modulating pain and temporarily increasing tissue extensibility, mobility, and range of motion. When paired with therapeutic exercise, postural training, gait training and selected other approaches, it is an integral part of a treatment plan." 

 

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Rove as your Work-Out Accessory

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Rove as your Work-Out Accessory

Any of the following basic workout movements can be intensified by using your roller to recruit more acting muscle groups in the body for stability, endurance and core strength. These "roller hacks" allow you to program a full body work out, turn up the intensity and roll with it. 

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Beyond the Practice: Emily Lesinski

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Beyond the Practice: Emily Lesinski

Here at Bespoke Treatments we understand the importance of community, but also understand that we can not effectively take part unless we value community from a smaller perspective, the individuals who make Bespoke the practice that it is. As part of, Beyond the Practice, we are excited to highlight the strengths and differences that each of our therapists and team members possess, and how they add value, and shape the culture here at Bespoke Treatments. We will continue to give you a better understanding of what drives our therapist's to deliver such exceptional service, how they participate within their own micro communities, and why they love everything that they do; helping you achieve your goals

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Swerve Madness Recovery Workshop with Dan Giordano

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Swerve Madness Recovery Workshop with Dan Giordano

Every March, Swerve Fitness hosts their annual Swerve Madness competition. Participants pick a partner and ride it out for a month long community challenge. Multiple categories mean more ways to score additional swerve points and rewards! If you're attending most days this month,  with a particular goal in mind, you'll need a particular method of recovery! 

Dan Giordano of Bespoke Treatments was invited to deliver and lead a discussion on recovery at Swerve's 46th street location to help kick off the month long competition. Dan touched on topics regarding the right way to fuel pre and post work out, proper stretching, recovery accessories such as the foam roller, and the importance of getting a good night's rest. 

Dan Giordano of Bespoke Treatments 

Dan Giordano of Bespoke Treatments 

Participants attending the discussion were avid Swerve spinners, with questions concerning how and when to foam roll, the technology behind compression, and what a rest day should look like. When exercising as much as the Swerve Madness sign-ups are, it's crucial to give your body what it needs. 

Dan explained that knots and adhesions in muscle and fascia tissue can be addressed effectively through the use of a foam roller with peaks and ridges, shown here at Rove Goods. This is an important element of any pre or post workout accessory, as they increase blood flow and circulation in the muscle assisting in a much faster recovery.

Eric Posner, Katie Sullivan, and Dan Giordano 

Eric Posner, Katie Sullivan, and Dan Giordano 

Dan's delivery was invaluable to any athlete, and we wish all of the participants of this month's Swerve madness all the luck as they battle it out to for all the packages and perks! 

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Bespoke Treatments X Nike NYC

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Bespoke Treatments X Nike NYC

Cultivating relationships within a community who values connection is what drives us here at Bespoke Treatments. To work in tandem with a company, like Nike, that facilities these community connections through run clubs, activities, and events is a partnership we're inspired by.  

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Jenna Langhans, Community Spotlight

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Jenna Langhans, Community Spotlight

Help celebrate those around us whom we feel inspired by. #StrongerTogether 

Jenna Langhans of BFX is a premier example of what it means to a positive community role model, and here at Bespoke Treatments we could not be prouder to see such growth in both an individual and physical capacity. 

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TRX Squat holds and Hip/Ankle Mobility.

TRX Squat holds and Hip/Ankle Mobility

Do you have trouble sitting into a squat and tend to force our knees forward to get our hips backward? That can be indicative of several things (which can be a story for another time) but is usually a result of our body not being comfortable in that range of motion. If you can lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest but can’t sit into a deep squat, your brain is essentially holding you back from getting into that position. Why? It could be one of several things: Your body doesn’t feel stable or comfortable due to lack of strength, or you are lacking the ability to get low because of lack of range of motion in your knees or ankles.

To develop being comfortable ‘in the hole’ and encourage hip, knee, and ankle mobility, we can use the TRX to help assist us in descending into the bottom of the squat. Use the handles here to keep your chest up and avoid arching or rounding out your lower back as you sit down into your heels.

 

Get comfortable here, and be okay with shifting your weight back and forth through through both hips, knees and ankles - Take a look at some of our other videos that help with hip stability in order to help reinforce this new range of motion, like the hip banded walks, or the banded bridges.

If you have a prior history of injuries at the hips, knees, ankle, or spine, be careful with this movement as this might aggravate some pain. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions!

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Pistol Squat.

Pistol Squats are an important single leg movement that requires core and hip stability in order to keep the trunk upright through the movement. Since our movement depends primarily on our ability to support ourselves on one leg and we don’t hop around like kangaroos, this can help to improve our movement in walking and running sports. 
You can start seated from a bench or chair (make sure it won’t go anywhere!) and put your hands out in front of you with your elbows straight. Bend at your waist and reach forward with your hands a little bit, and push through your heel and your butt at the same time to help yourself stand up. 


To return to the starting position, bend at the hips (keep your core engaged!) and reach back for the bench/chair with your butt and keep the arms out in front of you. Avoid letting your knee drop inwards towards the other knee! If sitting down proves difficult, you can always work on just standing up from the seated position. 

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