Pilates Spotlight: Mini Band

| Fitness

It might be small, but it’s powerful. The mini band can be used to enhance exercises for several muscle groups, like the glutes, adductors, chest, shoulders, even the core. They’re relatively inexpensive, like a rubber SPRI mini band for $5.

(Photo: Mini Band Photo Courtesy AliExpress )

Hover leg tap/lift: Get into your hover by resting on your elbows and forearms. The elbows should be directly underneath the shoulders. You can fold your hands together or place them palms-down like the Sphinx. Round the shoulderblades apart and pull the belly button up and in. The band should be around your legs, just above the ankles. Feet are hip-width apart to begin. Take one foot out about two inches and tap it on the floor. Return it to the starting point, then switch to the other foot.

You can lift one leg up and pulse it up and down or out to the side for a big glute burner. The entire time you’re focusing on your legs, your abs will be burning like crazy just trying to support and stabilize. 

Glute bridge: Lying on your back, bend your knees until your heels are a hand’s distance away from your butt. the band should be around your legs above the knees. Keeping a scoop in your lower belly, peel the hips and back up off the floor. You can pulse outward against the band, or keep a constant resistance against the band as you move up and down. The band will help you maintain good form while requiring consistent activation of the glutes.

Lateral lunge: Stand tall with the feet hip-width apart and the band around the legs above the ankles. Keep one foot planted with toes slightly turned out as the other foot steps out the side in a lunge. Bend down into the lunge as much as you can before standing up and returning the foot. You can do a lunge-tap-lunge pattern or switch legs each time.

>> See more: Side Lunge with Lateral Lift

Clam shells: Lying on your side with your knees bent and the band around your legs at mid-thigh, lift the top knee while the feet stay together. Click here for step-by-step instructions for this move.

clam shell

Fire hydrant: On all fours, wrap the band around the legs above the knees. Lift one leg off the ground, keeping it bent. Raise it as high as you can, preferably until the knee is at hip height, and release. Click here for the basic movement.

Pushup: Wrap the band around the arms above the wrist and get into your pushup position. The resistance will recruit the deltoids and pecs to stabilize. You can also wrap the band around your torso and arms above the elbow to ensure your tricep push ups are performed correctly.