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FITNESS | REVIEW

Bands take you from warmup to cool-down

January 16, 2006|Jeannine Stein

Strength training doesn't require a gym or even traditional weights. Elastic bands and tubing can tone and fortify muscles all over the body -- and can be used almost anywhere. In "The PowerBand Workout" book and DVD (Healthy Living Books, 2005), author Paul Frediani outlines a variety of exercises using the stretchy apparatus.

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-- Jeannine Stein

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The PowerBand Workout: Even people who've encountered elastic bands in workout classes may not be familiar with their range of exercises. This book begins with a full-body warm-up that includes arm punches and lunges, then focuses on individual parts such as arms, shoulders, back, chest, abs, legs, glutes and hamstrings. Frediani also lists flexibility exercises and suggested workout programs. Some exercises are done with a stability ball, such as the triceps seated extension, in which the band is anchored at the floor and the arms are bent at the elbow, then pressed overhead. Familiar exercises get an extra punch, such as an oblique crunch using a band anchored at the floor and pulled across the body. Photos and detailed descriptions accompany each exercise, along with helpful tips. The 30-minute DVD is a no-frills supplement that takes viewers through several exercises, and is helpful for understanding proper form and learning how to control the bands. Frediani, a senior trainer at Equinox in New York, developed some of the exercises while working with American surfers in the Dominican Republic, then adapted them for the public. He adds that band workouts can look deceptively easy, and advises starting with easy resistance (bands come in different intensities). "You can change the exercise by simply changing the angle or velocity or tempo," he adds. "You can do it slow and controlled, or faster for more athletic movement."

Price: $19.95, available at bookstores.

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