Resistance band training: What it is and if it’s right for you

We all know that weights are ideal tools to incorporate into your exercise routine, but have you thought about resistance bands? Resistance bands are lightweight, affordable, and don’t take up a lot of storage space. Whether you want to add these to your current workout program or view them as an alternative to weight lifting, resistance bands will work your body in a similar manner to weights but with a different type of tension. 

There are varying levels of strength in resistance bands. A higher resistance causes an increase in tension, reducing your ability to pull and stretch the bands. Because of this, resistance bands are extremely versatile tools. You can use them to build strength, rehabilitate an injury, or increase your range of mobility. 

Versatility

Resistance bands are among the most versatile exercise equipment pieces, and you’ll be able to use them for the following:

Physical therapy and rehabilitation

Resistance bands can be used to help rehabilitate parts of your body, especially in areas like the knees and shoulders. If you are working through a recovery, make sure you have some resistance bands to practice your therapy exercises on your own time.

Stretching

Improve your mobility and flexibility by incorporating resistance bands into your cool down and stretching sessions. Bands will help you reach parts of your body that you weren’t able to grab before!

Strength training

You don’t need weights to build strength. The tension from the resistance bands and the force you exert because of it will help you build muscle definition, especially if you are working with an increased resistance level.

Colorful tube resistance bands
zefirchik06/Shutterstock

Types of resistance bands 

Bands with handles

You’ll find tubed resistance bands with handles on either side; their resistance is shown via thickness. The thicker the tube, the higher the resistance! These bands are usually reserved for strength training (think bicep curls and tricep extensions), but you will also find them in rehabilitation centers.

Flat bands

Flat bands come in a variety of lengths, and you can cut them or tie them to best suit your needs. These bands can be used for strength training and are largely used for physical therapy. If your doctor gave you exercises to practice at home, these bands may be the right option for you. Plus, flat bands are a great low-impact exercise option for seniors.

Loop bands

Loop bands, otherwise known as booty bands, wrap around your thighs and calves to increase the intensity in your lower body workouts. You will definitely feel the burn in, you guessed it, your booty.

Couple squatting with resistance bands
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The benefits of resistance band training 

From versatility to their small size, resistance bands are great to have on hand at home or to take with you when you travel. Besides building strength and rehabilitating muscles, your body can also benefit in other ways. 

Less risk of injury

While resistance bands work your muscles in the same way as weights, there is less force and strain on your muscles during exercise, which prevents the likelihood of an injury occurring. Before a workout, opt to use a low-resistance band to help warm up and activate your muscles. 

Coordination

With resistance bands, you will have to learn how to stabilize your body and center your core as you push and pull against the tension. You’ll be able to target more muscle groups at one time as you use the bands. 

Proper form

In order to really feel everything working when using resistance bands, you are forced to have correct form while working out. This is especially great if you are a beginner and still learning how to properly perform exercises. If you are stretching post-workout, you can loop a band around your foot to assist a hamstring stretch rather than straining and arching your back by grabbing for a foot with your hand.

Rainbow colored loop resistance bands
Natalia Plekhanova/Shutterstock

How to use them

You’ll be able to easily incorporate bands into most of your exercises and routines. While you want the bands to give you a challenge, you also do not want to overexert yourself and cause pain. Make sure you start off with bands that have lower resistance and work your way up if you see that you are able to. If you use bands with a higher resistance, you will be able to focus on building strength. When using a lower resistance, opt to do more reps to strengthen your endurance.

There are an incredible amount of ways to use resistance bands, so you can only benefit from having them in your home! Whether you are creating your own personal home gym, need to focus on joint mobility, or just need some motivation to get moving, resistance bands will get the job done.

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