Inspiring Life from the Core

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The TheraBand: The Perfect Prop for Traveling

written by Carol Crincoli, Pure Pilates Director

The days are longer, the weather is warmer and we are getting out and about more.  Vacations are being planned, long weekend getaways are on the calendar and that means time away from the fitness center, the Pilates studio and our home gyms.

Clients ask me, “What is the one prop you would pack if you were going away?” I immediately recommend a TheraBand. It’s versatile, it’s light and it doesn’t take up any room in your beach bag or suitcase.

Here are a few of our favorite Pilates exercises showcasing the TheraBand.

Seated Chest ExpansionThis is a perfect exercise to open your chest, fire up your back muscles and lengthen your spine.

  • Sit upright with straight legs and the band around your feet. 
  • Inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale as you gently pull out on the band and lift your spine.
  • Bend or soften your knees if your hamstrings are tight. This will help you sit up tall.
  • Variation: While holding the tension on the band, turn your head gently to the right and then the left. Return your focus to the center and release the tension.

Seated Back RowConnect to your core muscles while strengthening your back.

  • Sit upright with your knees bent and the band around your feet.
  • Round or hinge back until you feel your core muscles engage.
  • Inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale as you bend your elbows and pull your shoulder blades together.
  • This exercise can be performed in a tall seated position.
  • Variation: Alternate the row and as you pull with one arm, rotate your torso and look over your shoulder.

Single Leg CirclesOpen up your hips, stretch your hamstrings and make space in your lower back.

  • Lying on your back, place the band around one foot. 
  • Bend arms and place elbows on the floor to keep shoulders relaxed.
  • Stretch the opposite leg on the floor.
  • Gently pull on the band as you circle your leg down to the floor, then away from the body to return to the ceiling.
  • Repeat this direction for approx 5 reps and then reverse the direction.
  • Do your best to keep your opposite hip on the floor and avoid rocking.
  • If your supporting leg is tight, bend at the knee and place your foot on the floor.

Hip ExtensionPerforming this exercise in quadruped (on all 4’s) allows you to strengthen your Glutes while being supported by your core and arms.

  • Get onto your hands and knees, securely place the band around one foot and each end under both hands.
  • Stretch the band leg behind you and keep it straight as you lift and lower the leg.
  • Repeat on the other leg.
  • Variation: Add hip flexion by bending your knee into your chest, then pressing out and lifting toward the ceiling.

Leg Pull FrontThis plank/pushup variation is challenging without a band, but add it to uplevel your workout.

  • Wrap the band around your back and under your armpits.
  • Securely have the ends of each band in your hands as you get into a plank position.
  • Holding the plank, engage your core as you lift one foot off the floor.
  • As the foot is off the floor, point and flex the foot ON the floor.
  • Lower the foot then repeat on the other leg.
  • Variations: Keep both feet planted on the floor and add a pushup; Uplevel to a single leg push up; downlevel to pushups from a kneeling position.

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Katie is a passionate mover who was brought to Pilates through dance. After a professional dance career, Katie discovered her love of teaching-connecting the mind and body, and working with students of all ages and levels. Her appreciation and understanding of everyone’s ever changing body and needs only became greater as her own body went through pre and post natal stages, an experience which has helped Katie navigate problem solving, and bring a freshness to each session making them feel personal and specific to each body’s needs. Her sessions are full of flow and aim to challenge clients with a sense of comfort, and often a little humor, all of which she has brought to Pure Pilates since 2016. Katie thinks the gift of movement and self care is one of the best things one can do for overall wellness, and is thrilled to seek and fulfill milestones and goals with each of her clients. When she’s not at the studio, Katie is taking care of her three little humans- another job that also makes her smile, laugh, and challenges her on the daily.
Eighteen years ago I discovered my love for Pilates. After having my two children, I felt the need to move my body again. At the time I was living in North Carolina, and worked through many different exercise and training programs. I discovered Pilates, and instantly knew it was right for me. Forteen years later, and a move to New Jersey, I decided to share my love of Pilates with other people looking for some way to move their bodies. Pilates has also been a way for me to keep me strong and flexible to continue many activities. My family loves to be active, and I often find when we are all together (mostly vacations) our days consist of activity and movement such as hiking, kayaking, or skiing(more on this later). As I have gotten older I find it even more imperative now that I keep my body strong. Recently I was in a skiing accident that left me with many knee injuries and ultimately having to go into surgery. I found being able to do light Pilates a few weeks after surgery kept me sane and ultimately helped with recovery time. Pilates has not only helped me be able to keep up with my children, but has also provided me with a body that is able to function at peak performance. My approach to Pilates can be described in one, simple word: movement. Movement can help you, both physically and mentally. Movement, and Pilates, is ultimately about self care. Having a built in time to focus on your body and movement can help relieve yourself of feeling tired, anxious, and stressed. Movement awakens you. Even after one session you can leave feeling calmer and energized.
Enjoyment of life through movement is a vital part of Kathy’s philosophy. When not in the studio she leads an active lifestyle trail running, cycling, skiing and hiking. She also loves connecting with people while traveling with family and friends. One of her favorite cycling trips was riding along the coast of northern California. Learning new things and sharing knowledge is also important to Kathy. She has a passion for food, likes to cook for her family and experiment with new recipes. She is currently trying to achieve the perfect pizza. She is also an avid reader of historical fiction and biographies. Her latest endeavor is learning to play golf.
Carol M. Crincoli, owner Pure Pilates studio, has been in the fitness industry since 1990, with experience in corporate and commercial fitness, recreational programming and teaching as an adjunct professor. She began practicing Pilates in 2003 and received Pilates training through the PhysicalMind Institute in New York, NY. She holds certifications from the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a group exercise instructor, personal trainer and lifestyle and weight management consultant. She was also accepted into the IDEA-PFT Recognition System as an Elite Level Personal Fitness Trainer. She is the only trainer in the NY-metro area for Trent McEntire’s Arcus equipment. Carol graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music with a BFA in musical theater and a minor in dance. Opening Pure Pilates is the culmination of a lifetime dream, and her mission to "inspire life from the core" is a holistic approach to health and wellness—from exercise and nutrition, to stress management and self-care. Carol is also the inventor of 8th Avenue Rail, an organizing solution for Tower springs.