How to choose a resistance band?
Resistance bands are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that you can buy for your workout kit. Resistance bands can be used at all stages of your workout; from strength training, yoga, Pilates or injury recovery. Resistance bands are most commonly used as part of a warm-up routine, this will prepare the body for harder exercise with the warmed up muscles.
There are many benefits to adding resistance bands as part of your workout routine:
- Easy to transport and inexpensive
- Helps with stretching before and after a workout
- They will help to increase muscle power overtime.
- Can help to progress a current exercise you are doing.
- Provide a nice way of adding lateral resistance when doing linear exercises such as working the glute med which is an important stabilising muscle.
Recent studies have shown that training with elastic resistance bands provides similar gains to that of strength training with conventional strength training devices, making resistance bands the perfect inexpensive addition to your workout kit.
Which resistance bands should I buy?
Light, Medium & Heavy resistance bands
Resistance bands come in various lengths and levels of resistance. Short bands will limit you to lower body workout’s only. Any exercises that can be done with short bands can be done with long resistance bands, you simply need to double them up. Longer bands will allow you to do more upper body training.
The colour of a resistance band dictates the level of resistance. The resistance you require will depend on your current strength, ability and exercise selection. There are three levels of resistance bands “weight”, light, medium and heavy.
A light resistance band will provide the least amount of resistance during workouts. If you have never used resistance bands before we recommended starting with the lightest bands. Even if you have experience in lifting traditional weights such as kettle bells or dumbbells, it is recommended to start with light bands as resistance bands will activate more muscles.
As you get stronger, heavier bands will allow you to push your training further. This follows the principle of adaptation, which is where your body adapts to training stimulus. To keep improving, additional stress will need to be placed on your muscles to force them to readapt.
Moving to medium and heavy resistance bands will force your muscles to readapt all without the need for expensive and heavy weights.
It is best to have a variety of resistance of bands in different sizes and weights in your workout kit as each muscle groups will require separate levels of resistance.
What if the heavy band gets too easy?
That’s the beauty of the resistance bands, you can combine multiple resistance bands at one time if the heavy band is not providing the resistance you need. Try adding the lightest resistance band you have to your heavy band to provide more resistance to your workout.
If moving from your medium band to the heavy band is too big of a leap, why not try adding the light band to your medium band. You can experiment with different weight bands to see what works for your workout.
How do you use a resistance band for a workout?
Now that you know what resistance band to use for your workout, knowing how to use it is the next step. Resistance bands can be used for upper body and lower body exercises. We have put together a list of our five favourite resistance bands exercise which you can easily follow at home.
Back Exercise – Banded Pull Apart
A banded pull apart is an exercise that is particularly good if you are sitting at a desk all day. This exercise will activate the muscles in your upper back and between the shoulder blades to help improve your posture and counteract rounded shoulders.
- Stand up tall with your feet hip distance apart and your shoulders relaxed.
- Hold your resistance band in both hands with your palms facing down.
- Raise your arms out straight, shoulder distance apart. Ensure that there is some tension in the band. This will be your starting position.
- Keeping a soft bend in your elbows, pull the band apart. Keep your palms facing down throughout the motion.
- Bring your arms as wide as possible, keeping your arms level with your shoulders at all times and focus on your back muscles.
- Return slowly to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 – 12 times for 3 sets.
- Be sure to not turn your palms or not to bend your arms.
Arms – Bicep Curls
Resistance bands can also be used for arm exercises and are the perfect substitute to using weights. Bicep curls will work the muscles of your upper arm and is a great exercise for seeing results in strength and definition in your arms.
- Place one side of the band lying flat on the floor, stand on the band with both feet. Take the opposite side of the band in your hands.
- Stand tall with your palms facing out and the back of your hands just in front of your thighs.
- Keep your shoulders down and relaxed, curl the palm of your hands up towards your shoulder blades.
- Keep your elbows as close to your body as possible.
- Lower your palms slowly towards your thighs.
- Repeat this 10 – 15 times for 2-5 sets.
Chest – Push-Ups
Push ups are very beneficial for building upper body strength, they will work your triceps, pectoral muscles and your shoulders. By engaging your core you can also strengthen your abdominal muscles.
Over time push-ups can get boring and too easy. Resistance bands are a great way to take your push up to the next level.
- Begin by placing the resistance band around your back while keeping the two side together.
- Grab one side of the band with your other hand.
- Both of your hands should now be facing out with the resistance band across your back.
- Get into your usual push up position – your palms under your shoulders, body in a straight line from head to toe. The band should be between your palms and the floor.
- Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, slowly lower yourself towards the floor.
- When your chest is just above the floor, push back up against the resistance of the band.
- Perform your push up’s as normal.
- Your reps should be lower to start when using a resistance band than doing it without a band. Once you have adapted to the new training stimulus that is provided by the bands you can increase your number of reps.
Glutes – Monster Walks
If you do a lot of lower body exercise or run a lot, glute activation is vital to ensure that you have proper form and technique.
Monster walks are one of the best exercises you can do to fire up your glute muscles.
- Start by placing the band around your legs, just above your knees. If you have a long band, loop the band around twice.
- Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart, start by bending your knees a small bit and maintain this knee bend throughout the exercise.
- Take a large step forward with one leg, keeping your chest and pelvis tucked in at all times.
- Bring your other leg up so that it is in line with the first leg you have stepped forward with, keeping your feet shoulder distance apart.
- Continue taking these large slow steps forward and backwards until you can feel your glute muscles activating.
- After 20 steps on each leg, take a break. Repeat the same actions but moving from side to side.
Core - Standing pallof press
The pallof press is an anti-rotation exercise that will work to help develop a stable core. This exercise will help also help with your exterior abs and obliques.
For this exercise you will need to secure your resistance band to something stable that is at shoulder height.
- Make sure your resistance band is secured to a stable surface that is shoulder height.
- Hold your resistance band in both hands.
- You will need to position yourself away from the surface you have secured the resistance band to.
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart, a slight bend in your knees with your feet pushing into the floor.
- Push the resistance band away from your chest, fully extending your arms. Hold the resistance band away from you for 2-3 seconds.
- Slowly bring your arms back to your chest.
- Repeat for 10-15 reps and 2-3 sets.
Be sure to check out our range of Fizfit resistance bands,