What We Tried: Empower Total Body Toning System
Where: In the comfort of my own apartment!
Where Else Is It Available: Empower sells a variety of fitness products and provides a number of workout videos and guides on their website, EmpowerFitness.com. It's also available at Modell's Sporting Goods, Big 5 Sporting Goods and online at Amazon.com
What We Did: Inside this box is one long resistance tube, a shorter tube with ankle cuffs and an attachment for door anchoring. The idea is to use the band in place of weights and perform a series of strengthening exercises. Included is a handy poster with a 10-step circuit that includes lunges, triceps kickbacks, glute kickbacks, bicep curls and core twists.
For How Long: Your workout will depend on how many reps you feel up to. I managed about two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise in about 40 minutes.
How'd It Feel: Tough! I'll take it as a compliment to the Healthy Living staff, but Empower sent us the "intermediate/advanced" system, which proclaims in an unimposing purple on the box that it provides up to 25 pounds of resistance... There were certain moves in the circuit, like the front shoulder raise and the lunge, where I just could not get that band to budge. I tried when possible to change the positioning of my body to give me some more slack in the band but ended up switching to some light hand weights when the band felt too tough.
My over-estimated strength aside, I felt like I worked all the major muscles in a short period of time. And in the time I saved without having to go back and forth to the gym, I was able to pack my lunch! Efficiency, for the win!
What Fitness Level Is Required: Beginners and savvy strength trainers alike can benefit from some at-home resistance training. In most cases, depending on where you position your body, you can adjust the resistance of the band to something manageable. And newbies may feel more comfortable using a method like this than using free weights or machines at a gym.
What It Helps With: Building strength and sculpting muscle.
What's It Cost: $19.99
Would We Try It Again: I don't think I'll perform Empower's specific workout again, but I'll definitely add a few of the moves to my regular strength routine. Plus, I can see myself traveling with it -- it's a weight room to go!
For more bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere, check out this slideshow from Shape.com:
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