By Staff Writer - October 17, 2022
Nathan Parker, PhD, MPH, put together a routine of six resistance training exercises targeting major muscle groups to help maintain strength and muscle mass during cancer treatment. These exercises can be done from the comfort of a patient’s home using a basic set of resistance tubes with handles and a door anchor strap, plus a chair for balance and support. Though resistance training with gradual progression is safe and beneficial for most, all patients should discuss exercise plans with their medical providers to ensure appropriate selection and supervision of exercises. Patients should seek professional guidance to identify alternatives for exercises that are challenging due to functional or mobility limitations.
For all exercises, start with light resistance and longer sets (10-15 repetitions) until you are comfortable with the exercise. Then progress to resistance levels that require medium to hard effort for sets of 8-12 repetitions. Gradually increase resistance as you become stronger and feel that sets with a given resistance level are getting easier. Aim for 2-3 sets of each exercise, 2-3 days per week.
Loop a resistance tube through the door anchor strap with the anchor slightly above shoulder level. Connect both ends of the tube to a single handle. Face away from the door with feet staggered, left foot in front. Start with the right arm, holding the resistance band in front of the right shoulder. Hold a chair with your left hand for stability if needed. Keeping your shoulders square and back steady, push forward slowly until the arm is fully extended. Then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for 8-12 repetitions. Change foot position and repeat with the opposite arm. Both arms is one set.
Squat or Chair Stand
Start seated, with your feet chair-width apart and the resistance tube anchored under both feet with a separate handle attached to each end. Position the tube behind the shoulders, with handles held still slightly in front of the shoulders. Starting with a slight forward lean, stand straight up, driving from the heels and keeping your back as straight as possible. Lower your body back to the starting position slowly and under control. Repeat for 8-12 repetitions.
Loop a resistance tube through the door anchor strap with the anchor at chest level. Connect both ends of the tube to a single handle. Face the door with feet staggered, left foot in front. Start with the right arm extended straight out in front. Hold a chair with your left hand for stability if needed. Keeping your shoulders square and back steady, pull backward until the handle reaches your body, and then slowly extend back to the starting position. Repeat for 8-12 repetitions. Change foot position and repeat with the opposite arm. Both arms is one set.
Resistance Tube Deadlift
Attach each end of a resistance tube to each end of a bar or two separate handles, and anchor the tube under both feet. With feet wide, bend slightly at the knees and hinge the hips backward, allowing the bar or handles to drop straight down until just below the knees. Keep the back flat in its neutral position the whole time, being especially careful to avoid rounding it outward. Drive your chest upward and your hips forward as the bar or handles approach the hips, standing fully upright. The bar should move in a straight vertical path for each repetition, and the arms remain straight. Repeat for 8-12 repetitions.
Stagger feet with the tube running under the front foot and with a handle attached to each end of the tube. Stand straight up. Keeping arms straight and out to the side, slowly lift the handles up to shoulder height. Slowly lower the arms back to sides. Repeat for 8-12 repetitions.
Loop a resistance tube through the door anchor strap with the anchor at abdomen level. Connect both ends of the tube to a single handle. Stand sideways so that shoulders are parallel to the path of the tube coming from the door anchor, and stand far enough from the door so that there is tension in the tube. Grasp the handle with both hands at your chest. Keeping your shoulders square and back steady, push the handle straight out slowly, pausing slightly when arms are fully extended. Keep your lower back and abdominal muscles tight to avoid rotating toward the door. Repeat for 8-12 repetitions. Change your stance and repeat facing the opposite direction. Both directions is one set.
This article originally appeared in Moffitt’s Momentum magazine.