Strengthen Your Body with Resistance Training Bands
Author: Shannon Boyce
The world as we know it has changed. At least for the foreseeable future. All around the globe, gyms are either shut down or operations are limited. This has created a serious shift in the way we collectively workout. The norm is no longer group dynamics and fitness memberships. Instead, the focus is on solo activities and at home exercises. Are you struggling with this change? You are not alone. It doesn’t matter if you were a regular at your local fitness center or you always meant to sign up for a membership – but never quite got around to it. This is the perfect time to establish an exercise routine of your very own. Improve your overall health, boost your mood, and feel more confident by incorporating resistance training bands into your next sweat session. Keep reading to find out how to get started.
What are Resistance Bands and Why are they Effective?
Strength training often includes bodyweight exercises, weighted machines, and hand weights. It doesn’t end there, though! Resistance bands can also be added to the mix. These stretchy bands have the ability to work a variety of muscle groups and increase the intensity of your workout. While the colour and shape of the bands can vary, they typically have a rubbery texture. They may be flat circular bands or have a tube-like shape with handles on each end. It all depends on the style you want and how you have chosen to add resistance bands to your workout.
Resistance bands have a long history, with their origins dating back to the early 1900s. It was in the 1990s that they came back into popularity (thanks to resistance band workouts from fitness gurus like Richard Simmons and releases from the Jane Fonda collection). These days, they continue to be a part of everyday workouts. Not only are these bands portable and accessible but there are some serious benefits associated with resistance training bands as well. The band itself creates resistance, which exerts additional force on the muscles. As a result, muscle strength is increased. Other benefits associated are: improved flexibility, reduced risk of injury, and added mobility. They can also be used for rehabilitation after an injury.
Choosing the Right Style and Level of Resistance
There is no denying that there are many physical benefits tied to resistance training bands. However, there are many other positive attributes to consider as well. For instance, these bands tend to be affordable, easy to find, and simple to store. With a lot of gyms closed at the moment…the demand for expensive and bulky gym equipment is on the rise. Don’t have the space? On a limited budget? Not to worry. These bands are a wonderful alternative as they are both compact and effective. There is no need to set up a full-blown gym in your house. Just make sure you choose the right style and resistance level for your needs.
Several types of resistance training bands are available. Some of the more common ones include: loop bands (durable elastic style bands that are super small and easy to store or take on-the-go), tube bands (longer pieces of stretchy tubing with handles), and pull up bands (used to strengthen and condition the muscles required to perform a pull up unassisted). What you choose will depend largely on your fitness goals. Loop bands are easily the most universal while tube bands can give you a little more variety. Whichever resistance band you choose to add to your home…aim to have several different resistance levels. Often, loop bands will be sold in packs that include light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy resistance. This is essential. Having a decent selection allows you to increase the difficulty level and continue to challenge yourself.
Simple Exercise Moves to Strengthen Your Body
Ready to get started? To put those resistance training bands to good use? There are countless exercises to try. A few examples include:
- Side Step Squats: One simple way to put your loop bands to good use is with side step squats or even lunges. Wrap the band around your upper thighs, step to the side, squat, step to the side, squat, and repeat. The resistance band will benefit your form and make the move slightly more challenging.
- Alternating Leg Lifts: Another exercise is the classic leg lift. Make it more difficult by adding a medium or heavy loop resistance band to the thighs. Then lay down on your side and lift the upper leg. Do as many repetitions as you can and then flip over to work the other leg. The band will force you to really focus on those leg muscles.
- Bicep Curls: If you opted for one of the tube bands, place your feet in the center of the band to restrict mobility and use the handles to pull the resistance band upward. This will create tension and mimic performing bicep curls with traditional free weights. Have a loop instead of a tube band? Hold the band straight across (around your midsection) and pull one side up at a time. This will engage your bicep and allow you to perform that curl.
- Back Rows: Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Wrap the tube band around your shoes once (or twice for added resistance) and sit up straight. Grab the handles and pull them towards you until your elbows are slightly behind you. Squeeze your back at the end of that pull motion, release, and repeat.
Resistance training bands may be exactly what you need to bring the gym to the safety of your home. Add them to your next workout and get ready to see results!
Author bio: Shannon Boyce is a freelance writer and editor. She has written for more than 30 online publications with pieces covering a wide range of topics, including beauty and lifestyle.