Having strong arms is so much more than a pass to show off in sleeveless tops. It’s the key to being able to hold your own. “Every action you do in daily life has resistance, whether it’s an ounce (like when you’re mailing a letter) or 100 pounds (like when you’re hoisting a heavy suitcase),” says Rui Li, NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of CakeFit
, a personal training service in New York City. “What’s more, our muscles respond to load-bearing. If we only move our arms through the air, we’re not really training for any realistic environments that we’ll be in.”
But that doesn’t mean all good strength workouts require weights. While certainly effective, they are difficult to tote around (by definition, they're heavy!) — and often unrealistic to stash in your 300-square-foot studio. Enter resistance bands. These rubber tubes
outfitted with handles provide a portable, lightweight, and inexpensive way to strengthen and tone the upper body. “Plus, the tension doesn’t actually let up with bands,” Li says. “They create the opportunity to focus on control as you perform each rep.” This slowed-down action means all sorts of muscles, including ones in your core, get a workout.
The three moves of Li’s 30-day challenge use bands to target the upper body from all angles, providing a well-rounded routine for the shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps. Follow the calendar on the next slide, and post-workout, refuel and rebuild your muscles with protein-packed Muscle Milk
. Let’s do this.
Photographed by Filippo Del Vita; Styled by Jessica dos Remedios; Hair by Naomi Endo; Makeup by Claudia Lake; Nails by Tatyana Molot/ABTP; Set Design by Tim Ferro ; Modeled by Hope Watson at Wilhelmina Models