Resistance bands are lightweight, affordable and easy to sling in your gym bag. Chances are high, you’ve come across the giant elastic bands used for strength training at least once during your gym session. But why should you incorporate them into your workout routine? What are the actual benefits?
What is resistance band training?
Resistance bands, as the name suggests, add resistance to your workout. They help activate and tone the muscles, building strength along the way. Like dumbbells, kettlebells, or other free weights, resistance bands offer a simple yet effective way to get an all-around strength workout at home.
Resistance bands are often proclaimed as the "simple" workout tool on the block of exercise equipment, but don’t be fooled--they are incredibly versatile. They can be added to an existing routine or introduced to a brand new type of workout, the choice is yours.
The good news is, no matter your physical health or fitness goal, the popular bands have benefits for everyone. In fact, a study by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science suggests regular resistance band training can improve balance, mobility, gait function and fall efficacy, having an overall positive impact on elderly people.
Resistance bands are adaptable for multiple fitness levels as they help strengthen isolated muscle groups, improve balance, and also offer therapeutic benefits. Given how lightweight and portable they are, you can easily complete a workout from home or your hotel room while traveling. Let’s be honest, what’s not to like?
Resistance band training uses
There are a lot of misconceptions around resistance bands. Some think they’re best used for stretching purposes only, others believe they’re a cop-out for weight training. These ideas couldn’t be further from the truth: resistance bands challenge our bodies in an entirely different way.
Looking at warm-up exercises for example, bands can do wonders by activating hips before a run or warming up shoulders before a lifting exercise. Firing up targeted muscle areas can build the foundation for a better, stronger and safer workout.
Resistance bands engage muscles through an entire workout. This means that you’re working against resistance through the entire range of an exercise. Resistance bands target your stabilising muscles and build core strength, all at the same time. Resistance bands train the body as a complete kinetic chain instead of individual segments. Because of this, most exercises require the engagement of your lower and upper body on every rep. The technical term for this is full muscle fiber recruitment.
Choosing your ideal resistance band
Fortunately resistance bands don’t have to break your bank. Depending on the use, you can easily find one for under $10. They come in all shapes, colours and sizes, usually based on their resistance level. There are different resistance bands for different kinds of exercises. With so many to choose from, you’ll find it hard to get bored of home workouts.
Therapy bands: Therapy bands are gentle on the body and often used for rehabilitation purposes.
Lit loop bands/mini bands: Are small bands best used to train and strengthen the lower body. This one is popular amongst people wanting to target their glutes and thighs, as it adds resistance while engaging the muscles.
Figure 8: A figure 8 band is shorter in length and features soft foam handles which provide an easier and more comfortable grip; it’s ideal for strength training, sports conditioning, and rehabilitation.
Tube bands/compact resistance bands: Compact resistance bands feature a tube of around 4 feet with two plastic handles on the end. They have the most varied use and can be used to train both the upper and lower body.
Curious how a resistance band workout might look? Check out one of our favorites below.
Benefits of resistance band training
As we’ve already mentioned, the benefits of resistance training are plentiful. As they can be implemented easily into an existing workout, you might not have to wait long to see results.
Listed here are just some of the many benefits of resistance band training:
Strength: Resistance band training increases muscle and bone strength, offering a full-body workout.
Flexibility: Resistance bands improve both your flexibility and your motor functions.
Form: Resistance bands promote better form, including better posture.
Portable and convenient: When, where and how - you’re in charge 100% of your workout.
Adaptable: Resistance bands can be used by everyone, regardless if you’re just getting into exercise or you’re an elite athlete.
Safe: Resistance bands provide a safe and effective workout. No surprise physical therapists often recommend them for rehabilitation purposes and as a useful tool for the elderly.
Variety: Resistance bands add variety to exercise routines. You won’t get bored of certain stretches and routines with resistance bands. Resistance bands can also be combined with other exercise equipment to add variety or switch up a workout.
Targeted: Resistance bands can wake up and engage tired muscles.
Affordable: You can pick up a decent set of resistance bands for under $10. Wave goodbye to expensive gym membership fees without compromising on the effectiveness and quality of your workout!
It’s easy to see why resistance band training has become popular. Whether as a warm-up exercise or full-body workout, resistance bands come in all shapes and sizes providing versatile benefits for everyone. Plus if you’re on the go and barely have time to spare for an entire session, resistance band training might just be the right workout for you!
However, the best thing about resistance band training is that you can get started today and work out at your earliest convenience. Make this hassle-free change today! With very few negative drawbacks to resistance band training and a whole host of positives, what are you waiting for?
If we can give you only one piece of fitness equipment on the way, let it be to try resistance bands!