The SPIDERBANDS Experience
Spiderbands is a boutique fitness experience taking New York City by storm. Created by Franci Cohen, a certified trainer and nutritionist, each of the Spiderband programs combine the use of gravity and aerial techniques with bodyweight exercises to create a total-body cardio-resistance workout.
The Spiderbands system is unique, so to truly get a feel for the program, you need to visit a studio to try a class. Each workout incorporates the use of the Spiderbands overhead apparatus, then combines it with other modalities, such as rebounders, indoor cycles, or heavy bags.
If you’re having a hard time imagining what the Spiderband is like, think of it as an apparatus 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 plum line), much like a suspension trainer, but the bands 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.
Grab two exercise bands with handles.
Hook one end of each band securely through a high rigging point, such as a secure pull-up bar or ceiling hook, or ask a friend or partner to stand on a chair adjacent to your feet to hold one end of each band straight up so there’s tension on the bands.
Hook your feet up by sliding your right foot into the handle of one band and your left foot into the handle of another band.
Come into plank position on the floor.
Once you’ve established your plank, use your abs to jump your legs in 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.
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 exercise bands, enabling you to work deeper into your core muscles than you would while holding a regular plank.
Kneeling Spider Swim
Using two exercise bands with handles, hook one end of each band to a high rigging point.
Place one hand in each handle and kneel on your knees.
Shuffle forward so you’re situated approximately one to two feet in front of the plum line (rigging point).
Holding the Spiderbands, reach your arms out in front of you to straighten them. Your arms should be slightly below shoulder height.
Keeping your arms straight and resistance engaged, open your arms wide.
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. 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.
Perform three sets of 32 to 40 reps