fitness · traveling

Fitness bands and Arthur Less

Did you buy resistance bands during the pandemic? I did.

I’m not using them much at home any more, except for physio. Mostly I’m happily back at the gym. But I do travel with them.

When I pack them in my suitcase, I’m always reminded of Arthur Less, the protagonist of the novel Less by Andrew Sean Greer. It’s one of my fave books in recent years, the story of a gay writer turning 50 who travels around the world after a break up. BTW: The audiobook is also very good.

Here’s the relevant bit from the book:

“Less has, for years, travelled with a set of rubber bands that he thinks of as his portable gym—multicolored, with a set of interchangeable handles. He always imagines, when he coils them into his luggage, how toned and fit he will be when he returns. The ambitious routine begins in earnest the first night of any journey, with dozens of special techniques recommended in the manual (which he lost long ago in Los Angeles, but remembers in part); they involve wrapping the bands around the legs of beds, columns, and rafters, and performing what the manual called “lumberjacks,” “trophies,” and “action heroes.” He ends his workout lacquered in sweat, feeling that he has beat back another day from time’s assault. The second night, he advises himself to let his muscles repair. The third, he begins the routine with half a heart as the thin walls of the room tremble with a neighbor’s television. Less promises himself a better workout in a day or two. In return for this promise: a doll-house whiskey from the room’s doll-house bar. And then the bands are forgotten, abandoned on the side table: a slain dragon.”

Are you wondering what to do with your resistance bands?

This looks like a pretty good list that focusses on glutes: 13 Resistance Bands Moves for Workouts You Can Do Anywhere.

And here’s a list of resistance band moves for arms and abs.

What your favourite resistance band workout? Pls share it in the comments for those of us travelling with resistance bands in our suitcases.

Red yellow green and blue round plastic toy
fitness · gadgets · injury

Pretty in Peach: Gendered Workouts and the Way the World Is

In my house the pandemic began with a flurry of online shopping to create a home gym. Or rather, to round out our existing supplies.

We have a TRX and yoga mats, bikes and a trainer for Zwift, and even resistance bands with handles and a lone kettle bell. We’ve hung our punching bag. I’m feeling pretty lucky.

My son also bought a giant tire for flipping, and some sandbags and water jugs for lifting.

The most recent fitness tool we acquired are peach bands. They’re resistance band loops and they come attached to whole marketing campaign that’s got my feminist attention.

The Bands
Peach Bands

They’re marketed as booty bands. Peach is both the colour of some of the bands and the desired booty shape that’s the aim of the workout. There’s lots of peach booty imagery out there and discussion of “peachy glutes.” Google it! Or not. Your choice.

See 5 Booty Band Moves (Other Than Squats) That’ll Give You A Peachy Butt.

The bands are incredibly useful for me because my mobility warm up is one I do with bands. My knee physio exercises use the bands too. And now I have some strength training that uses bands.

What’s interesting (and not surprising really) is that the knee physio exercises and the “develop a peachy booty” exercises are the same. See How glute strength supports your knees  and Strengthen Glute Medius to Avoid Common Knee Pain.

So my knee pre-hab workout is also some Instagram fitness model’s booty beautiful workout.

See 6 Resistance Band Exercises to Relieve Knee Pain.

As a feminist I always have mixed emotions about workouts aimed at making some body part beautiful. What’s in the mix? Well, a healthy dose of “you do you” and “go girl” along with some sadness that the great feel good of moving your body and sports performance is reduced to mere means to aesthetic bodily improvement. Also, I fret that it won’t work anyway and then you’ll hate yourself and stop exercising losing out on all the good that movement brings.

Still, still, these exercises do help knees. And more women than men have knee issues. We tend to move in a quad dominant way and have issues activating glutes and hamstrings. These bands certainly help activate those muscles. So if younger women are motivated by booty-beautiful and end up with fewer knee injuries as a result, then why worry about the motivation?

Also, they are really nice bands with (for me) the right range of resistance. And they come in a handy (peach coloured) carrying pouch. The marketing campaign has a lot of empowerment messaging. See the pie chart above.