Resistance bands are becoming popular all over the world as a way to strength train effectively. They are colorful, fun, and offer variety compared to using hand weights (dumbbells) all the time.
Resistance bands are usually made of rubber. The rubber is manufactured in such a way as to have varying degrees of stretchiness. The more stretchy the rubber, the lighter the resistance. The firmer the bands, the higher the resistance, the more ‘load’ it carries. The bands come in a range of loads such as 2 to 4 pounds, 4 to 6 pounds and so on, in the same way that hand weights come in a range of weights. However, resistance bands have a number of advantages that weights do not.
You can use them in a range of ways, exercising your muscles from almost every angle. They also give a whole body workout, and do not just focus on one set of muscles. You can lift with the bands under one foot, or increase the resistance as you lift by using both feet, and spreading your feet further apart, for a customized workout.
You can also use more than one band at the same time to increase your loads. You can’t usually adjust hand weights in this way to suit your fitness level.
There are three main kinds of resistance bands:
3-Tube bands with handles
Therapy bands are thin, stretchable bands that come in rolls. Cut off your desired length of band for your workout. They are popular as part of physical therapy exercises. They come in a range of loads. However, they can tear easily, snap if you let go of them, and hurt your hands due to too much pressure on your joints.
Loop bands are like a giant rubber band. They also come in a range of loads and can work arms, legs and more. They offer a good workout, but not one as varied as tube bands.
Tube bands with handles allow you to attach one or more bands onto them to increase your loads as needed. You can also thread them through the loop of a door anchor to do the kinds of exercises that weights machines in the gym offer you, but in the comfort of your own home. You can exercise your arms, legs and shoulders in a range of ways, particularly your legs, which do not always get a great workout from hand held weights.
To help with your legs workouts, your set of bands will also usually come with a Velcro leg strap. Attach the handles to the hands to tone and trim calves and thighs.
Resistance bands offer serious strength training in one light weight piece of equipment you can take with you anywhere. If you are thinking of starting a strength training program or want to switch up your usual routine, add a few resistance band exercises and see what a difference it can make to your health and fitness.