Heading to a summer vacation destination? No need to interrupt your offseason conditioning program while away. Just pack perhaps the handiest exercise equipment—light, moderately heavy, and heavy-tension resistance bands or cables.
Order the inexpensive, convenient and portable cables online or purchase them at sporting goods or fitness equipment stores before booking your trip. Dozens of exercises can be performed with the versatile cables indoors at home, in a hotel room, gym or outdoors at a park or playground.
Build upper- and lower-body strength and size, core strength, and improve endurance and balance for your sport with the following full-body indoor or outdoor resistance band exercises this summer and year-round.
- One light- (40-50% RM) cable, a moderately-heavy-resistance (60-70% RM) cable, and a heavy-tension (70-80% RM) cable
- Water bottle
- Timer (optional)
- Indoor or outdoor sturdy and immovable object (e.g. bedpost, stair railing, pole, park bench, or playground bar)
- Perform workouts on non-consecutive days for adequate recovery.
- Hydrate before, during and after workouts.
- Do an upper- and lower-body dynamic warm-up (e.g., Arm Circles/Lunges).
- Finish with upper- and lower-body cool-down static stretches for enhancing flexibility and range of motion.
- Sets/Reps: 2×15-20 (light-tension cable exercises); 2×8-12 (moderately-heavy cable exercises); 2×3-6 (heavy cable exercises). For some timed exercise sets, do as many reps in 90 seconds using the light or moderately heavy cables.
- Rest: 15-30 seconds between lighter- rep sets; 30-60 seconds between heavier-rep sets; 60 seconds between each exercise.
- Make sure the cables are securely and safely intertwined around the stable immovable object.
- Vary the sequence of exercises each workout.
Sample Indoor or Outdoor Cable Exercises (Choose Five Each Workout)
- Seated Heavy Cable Rows. Intertwine the heavy band to the stable indoor or outdoor object. Sit on the ground with your knees slightly bent facing the object. Using an underhand grip, slowly pull the handles toward your waist and squeeze your shoulder blades together for 10 seconds. Take four seconds to return to start and aim for 6 reps.
- Moderately Heavy Cable Overhead Squats and Presses. Assume an athletic stance with your feet on the cable. Holding the handles with an overhand shoulder-level grip, slowly lower into a Squat position, pause one second and rise, and press the handles overhead. Pause and slowly return to start position and repeat. Perform 12 reps.
- Light Cable Interval Sprints. With the cable securely fastened, grasp the handles at chest level with a neutral grip while facing away from the anchor point. Lean slightly forward, extend the cable and drive your legs as fast as possible toward your waist for 15 seconds; decelerate for 15 seconds; accelerate for 15 seconds; then decelerate for 15 seconds. Rest and repeat.
- Moderately Heavy Cable Forward Lunges and Press-Outs. With the cables secured to a post or railing, hold the handles with an overhand grip close to your chest and facing away from the anchor point. Walk out a few steps to feel the tension in the cable. Simultaneously lunge forward with your right leg while explosively pressing the handles out for 8-12 reps. Rest and do 8-12 left leg Forward Lunges/Press-Outs. Rest and repeat another set with each leg. Another effective upper- and lower-body size-building combination that also enhances upper- and lower-body explosive power.
- Heavy Cable Core-Strengthening Exercise. With the cable securely attached, assume an athletic stance sideways away from a playground bar or indoor post or railing while holding the cable handles with a chest-level neutral grip. Press the handles away from your chest and try holding for 90 seconds while resisting the cable from bringing you toward the post or bar. Without rest, switch to the other side and repeat. Rest and perform another set from each side. Simultaneously feel the tension in your oblique, chest, shoulder and arm muscles for enhancing upper body and core strength.
- Light Cable Overhead Chops. With the cable attached to an overhead bar (and facing away from the bar), pull the handles downward while bending your knees across your body toward the ankle. Pause one second and slowly return to start position. Attempt 20 reps, rest, and go for 20 reps pulling downward toward the opposite ankle. An excellent upper- and lower-body and core-strengthening and endurance building movement.
- Moderately Heavy Cable Single-Leg Squats and Pulldowns. Facing a bar with the cable secured overhead, hold the handles with an underhand grip and your left foot airborne. Simultaneously pull the handles toward your chest while doing a Single-Leg Squat. Pause one second and return to start. Attempt 12 reps, rest and aim for 12 Single-Leg Squats/Pulldowns with the right foot airborne. Promotes balance, core stability, and upper- and lower-body size.
- Light Cable Side Lunges and Twists. Intertwine the cable to a post or pole set at chest level. Hold the handles with a neutral grip and facing the post/pole sideways. Lunge laterally right while simultaneously rotating with the handles. Return to start position and continue Side Lunges/Twists for 90 seconds. Rest and repeat laterally lunging left. Another ideal lower body/core strengthening and endurance-building combo exercise.
- Heavy Cable Bent-Over Rows and Reverse Lunges. Attach the cable to the bottom of a post, pole or tree trunk. Assume an athletic stance with an overhand grip on the handles facing the immovable object a few feet away. Pull toward your waist and squeeze your shoulder blades together while simultaneously lunging backward with your right leg. Slowly return to beginning position—attempting six reps. Without rest, try six Rows/Reverse Lunges with your left leg.
- Light Cable Single-Leg Squats and Overhead Presses. With both feet on the cable, hold the handles with a shoulder-level overhand grip. Lift the right foot off the ground and squat with the left leg while pressing the handles overhead aiming for 20 reps. Rest, hydrate, and repeat with the left foot airborne.