How To Do a Studio-Style SPIDERBANDS Workout with Resistance Bands

SPIDERBANDS workouts encompass a group of boutique fitness classes that have made their way into studios around New York City. The specialized routines were created by Franci Cohen, a certified trainer and nutritionist, with each workout combining gravity, aerial techniques, and bodyweight exercises for a unique, total-body challenge. Each workout incorporates the use of the SPIDERBANDS overhead apparatus, combining it with other fitness equipment, such as rebounders, indoor cycles, or heavy boxing bags.

If you're having a hard time imagining what the SPIDERBAND is like, think of it as a tool that combines the benefits of suspension training and resistance bands. In other words, it's a tool that's hung from a ceiling rigging point (the plumb line), much like a suspension trainer, but the hanging SPIDERBANDS themselves offer stretch resistance, much like resistance bands (only stronger).

Each SPIDERBAND can be used individually or as a pair. Students can use the handles to perform push-pull exercises, such as push-ups or modified bodyweight rows, or they can hook their feet in the handles to perform plank-style moves. There's also a special bar that can be hooked between the handles, enabling users to perform barre exercises and other movements.

While it's almost impossible to experience a true SPIDERBAND workout at home, there are ways to mimic the experience using exercise bands and a partner or a high rigging point. Cohen designed the following four exercises for you to try at home, and I put together corresponding images to demonstrate the moves. While I did perform these exercises at a gym, using a pull-up bar as a rigging point, you can do the same thing at home with the help of a friend or a strong ceiling hook or bar.


Floating Planks

Floating Planks
Laura Williams
  1. Grab two resistance bands with handles.
  2. Hook one end of each band securely through a high rigging point, such as a secure pull-up bar or ceiling hook. If you don't have either of these, ask a friend or partner to stand on a chair behind your feet to hold one end of each band straight up so there's tension on the bands.
  3. Slide your right foot into the handle of one band and your left foot into the handle of another band.
  4. Enter a plank position on the floor, with your palms positioned under your shoulders, and your body forming a straight line from heels to head.
  5. Once you've established your plank, use your abs to jump your legs into the air. The resistance of the bands will assist you in leveraging your body weight and keeping it suspended for a moment or two, in order to deeply activate your core. Land softly again in plank position.
  6. Perform three sets of 15 to 20 reps, with a 20- to 30-second rest on your knees between sets.

While this version isn't exactly the same as using a true SPIDERBANDS apparatus, you'll still enjoy some levitation with the help of the resistance bands, enabling you to work deeper into your core muscles than you would while holding a regular plank.


Kneeling Spider Swim

Kneeling Spider Swims
Laura Williams
  1. Using two exercise bands with handles, hook one end of each band to a high rigging point.
  2. Place one hand on each handle and kneel on your knees.
  3. Shuffle forward so you're situated approximately one to two feet in front of the plumb line (rigging point).
  4. Holding the Spiderbands, reach your arms out in front of you to straighten them. Your arms should be slightly below shoulder height.
  5. Keeping your arms straight and resistance engaged, open your arms wide. 
  6. In a controlled fashion, slowly pull both elbows out to the side and back, so that you squeeze your shoulder blades toward the center of your spine before pressing your arms straight back in front of your chest again. You're basically mimicking a swimmer's breaststroke with the added resistance of the bands, and the core engagement required to perform the move with the proper speed and control.
  7. Perform three sets of 32 to 40 reps

Spider Lunge N' Lift

Spider Lunge and Lift
Laura Williams
  1. Hook two exercise bands to a secure ceiling rigging point or high bar.
  2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding one handle in each hand.
  3. Lunge your right leg straight back as far as you can, tipping forward from your hips as you do so your chest touches the top of your left thigh.
  4. At the same time, reach your right hand and spiderband down to touch the floor.
  5. Jump up, bringing your right leg back up to starting position.
  6. Repeat on the left leg and arm.
  7. Perform two or three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions on each leg.

Note: The jump is important! Make sure you're hopping back to the starting position.


Twisted Spinal Extensions

Twisted Spinal Extensions
Laura Williams
  1. Hook two exercise bands to a secure ceiling rigging point or high bar.
  2. Sit about one foot behind your plumb line (rigging point), and hold one handle in each hand.
  3. Lean back, extending your spine until you feel your abdominals engage.
  4. Rotate your torso to one side, then the other, pulling your arms (and SPIDERBANDS) in and behind you so that your elbows touch the floor one at a time in a rhythmic fashion as you twist side-to-side.
  5. Perform two to three sets of 30 total twists, touching each elbow to the ground 15 times per set.
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