Resistance bands also known as power bands are excellent for building strength and muscle and can be used for full body workouts targeting every part of the body. They are also great to use to stretch and warm up before exercise or to rehab an injury.
They come in different types such as the flat looped resistance bands or the tube style resistance bands with handles. They are easily portable and you can therefore take your gym and workout with you anywhere. One of the real benefits of resistance bands is that the resistance they provide during a workout progressively increases as the band expands during each exercise and you reach peak.
Here is a guide as to why you should consider using resistance bands and how to get the most from your resistance bands.
WHY USE RESISTANCE BANDS?
Free weights and resistance bands are both very beneficial for building strength and muscle. The main difference between the two is that with free weights such as dumbbells they will feel heaviest at the very beginning of the exercise and lightest at the peak. For example think about when you do a bicep curl with a dumbbell how it is tough getting the exercise started however when you reach the peak it gets easier. However with resistance bands the resistance progressively increases as the band expands during each exercise and you reach peak. This is referred to as linear variable resistance the further the band is stretched the more resistance you get and therefore the harder it is. This is why with free weights it is possible to use momentum to cheat the exercise a bit however this cannot be done with resistance bands.
It’s all about freedom, resistance bands are so portable that they give you freedom to train anywhere, you can effectively have a whole dumbbell rack in your gym bag. Gyms are great places to train however it is also nice to mix up your training routine by getting outside and training in the fresh air either on your balcony, in your back garden or on the beach. Resistance bands are also extremely good value you don’t need any expensive equipment like a barbell or bench to have a great and intense workout.
HOW TO USE A RESISTANCE BAND?
Using your own body weight as an anchor you can use resistance bands to simulate any free weights exercise so you work out every muscle in your body. There are a number of different ways to increase the resistance from the resistance bands you can either widen your stance on the band, grab further down the band or simply combine bands together.
For example you can use resistance bands for the following key exercises:
Chest - Resistance push ups with the resistance band placed under your hands and then looped behind your back.
Back - Single arm rows with the resistance band
Full Body/Core - Deadlifts by standing on a heavy band and then coming up in a straight line holding the band in each hand, the wider the stance the bigger the resistance.
Legs - Squats by standing on the resistance band and holding the band in each hand behind your back at shoulder height like you would a barbell.
Arms - Single or double biceps curls and tricep kick-backs for your triceps.
Shoulders - Lateral raises or Frontal raises
Abs - Seated in and outs with the resistance band anchored and looped around the top your feet
Remember not to focus too much on how heavy or light the bands you are using are instead listen to your body and mix it up as you go working as hard as you can and training yourself to failure.