The resistance band is a highly versatile piece of strength training equipment. Whether you want to build strength, develop endurance, or work out injuries, this lightweight portable equipment has endless uses and benefits. Are you familiar with the use of cable systems at the gym either for triceps, cable rows, pec flies, and pulldowns? You can do the same kinds of moves with resistance bands. In this article, we will guide you through the fundamentals, uses, and benefits of this lightweight equipment.
What are resistance bands?
Resistance bands are portable, lightweight compact rubber bands that are mainly used for strengthening and stretching your muscles. They are elastic rubber bands that are looped around gym equipment like rack, stand, or pole. Some training facilities have a dedicated anchored harness just for exercise tubing. Take a look around any fitness center or a gym you will definitely find a pile of resistance bands on a shelf somewhere. Surprisingly, a lot of people are not sure how to use them, so they often get overlooked.
The origin of the resistance bands dates from the early 1900s when they used to be manufactured from actual surgical tubing. Originally, they were intended for the purpose of muscle rehabilitation and used primarily for physical therapy. Exercise tubing came into the mainstream fitness market in the 1990s. They continue to rise in popularity due to their versatility, effectiveness, portability, and low cost.
Types of Resistance Bands
- Resistance Bands with Handles – Primarily these bands are designed for working out and developing muscular strength. Handles offer a sturdy grip that allows you to duplicate a wide variety of strength exercises traditionally done with dumbbells or cables.
- Therapy Flat Resistance Bands – Most of these “balloon” types of resistance bands are commonly found in physical therapy and sports rehab. They’re wide and flat, which makes them easier to wrap and tie. It can be also used for adding additional resistance to dumbbell or cable handles without the awkwardness of holding two handles in one hand.
- Loop Bands – Tubing in a closed loop form. Primarily used for the purpose of wrapping around your knees, wrists, or elbows. You can easily make an adjustable loop band simply by tying a flat band into a loop.
- Power Bands – Heavy duty resistance bands are useful for cross-training, body-weight assistance, and power lifting. These bands can also be used for stretching. Power bands add variable resistance to your weight training, and are very useful for pull-up assistance and sport-specific exercise.
Reasons to Use Resistance Bands for Working Out
Resistance band training style is different from other portable gym equipment (such as dumbbells, medicine balls, or kettlebells). Bands are inexpensive, light and easy to travel with, and extremely versatile. They also take up a lot less room in your home workout area!
1) Endless variation of planes of movement
Barbells and dumbbells work amazingly well for strength training, but resistance bands allow you to vary the position of your hands and arms. It gives you full liberty of training at any comfortable angle while engaging the right muscle groups.
2) Different Muscle Stimulus
A major difference between free-weights and resistance bands is the variable resistance that is applied when using exercise tubing. While using free weights, there are certain parts in which your muscles are not doing a lot of work because of levers and gravity, but that’s less the case with the resistance bands. Unlike lifting weights, resistance bands put the muscles under more and more tension the farther the band stretches. Your muscles receive greatest resistance at the peak of the contraction (at its end range of motion). So it changes what is called the strength curve of each exercise.
Dumbbells and barbells limit you to certain body positions because you have to work against gravity. Resistance bands allow you to perform workouts in many different planes.
For example, with tubing you can perform chest presses or chest flies while standing, rather than having to lie down on a bench or on the floor. Rotational movements can also be performed with much less hassle when using tubing and an anchor.
3) Rehabilitation and Stretching
Resistance bands are commonly used for rehabilitation purposes. If you have sustained injuries in the past or are working to heal from one, resistance bands will help in reaping incredible benefits on the road of recovery. And even if you have not undergone any such situation, making yourself aware and preparing beforehand so you won’t land in such a situation can be good.
These bands were primarily invented for medical purposes mainly for rehabilitation, which proves their effectiveness in such situations. These bands are highly adaptable & come in varied resistance levels, and can be also used for the purpose of stretching. You can use them pre- and post-workout for warming up and cooling down. Doing light stretching with resistance improves joint and muscle flexibility.
4) Full-body workout options
One of the main reasons why you should have resistance bands in your workout program is that it can deliver a full-body workout. A single resistance band is enough to work out pretty much every part of your body. There are many possible exercises that can be done by using these bands. You can also use more than one type of resistance band for spicing up your workouts and having a well-rounded strength training program.
5) Muscle Endurance
Resistance bands put the same challenge on your muscles that weight training does with optimized resistance. But it’s easy to use exercise tubing at a light resistance to work on muscular endurance – feel the burn! (That’s right, low resistance with high repetitions = endurance training.)
So whether you’re looking for the ultimate home exercise equipment, seeking ways to spice up your traditional weight lifting workouts, or need to gently work your way back after an injury, resistance tubing is a really good pick.
What Kinds Of Exercise Tubing To Buy
You can pick up a quality set of exercise tubing here:
Or get tubing with interchangeable handles:
And if you’d like a lesson or two to learn how to get the most out of your exercise program, contact Basics and Beyond’s top-rated personal trainers. We operated out of 5 locations around Nashville, or we can come to your home. We also do virtual appointments anywhere in the world!