As more people start their health and fitness journeys by working out at home or in gyms, it has become more important to find ideas that enhance the exercise experience and keep monotony at bay.
If you have had enough of the same old cardio and weight training that you have been doing forever and are completely fed up with it, you might be interested in incorporating a new form of exercise into your routine.
If this strikes a chord with you, you have come to the right place!
You will find that the addition of resistance bands to any workout session will add an extra layer that will help you see quicker results and feel the burn described by many fitness trainers. Resistance bands make your muscles work harder and help in training them.
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This article aims to guide you through all the pertinent information you need to know about the innovative exercise trend sweeping through fitness circles, the resistance band.
WHAT ARE RESISTANCE BANDS?
Resistance bands are basically made from some stretchy strips of any elastic material that can be tubular or flat in shape.
Resistance bands were initially designed to help in the mobility rehabilitation of patients recovering from injuries after accidents. These rehabilitation bands were historically made from surgical tubing.
While primitive versions of these bands have been around since the 1990s, they only gained popularity as exercise equipment in the last decade.
Think of them as a larger, tougher, office rubber band. Their main use is to complement resistance training that involves heavyweights.
These bands make your body work harder by increasing the external resistance force. Thus when your body tries to move, it must provide the opposing force using your own body weight.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RESISTANCE BANDS?
There are many different types of resistance bands available, each focusing on a different part of the body and posing a different level of difficulty.
Resistance bands are available in many different tension and resistance levels which can be selected according to your fitness needs.
The bands are usually colour coded, with darker colors representing higher resistance and vice versa. To choose the right band for your workout, you must first learn what each type is best used.
- Flat bands: They are the most popular types. They are inexpensive and look like typical flat rubber bands with no handles or grips. They are the smallest of the different resistance bands and are mostly used for rehabilitation and stretching.
- Pull up bands: Pull up bands are commonly used in most gyms and by fitness trainers. They are the most popular type of band used for fitness purposes. Their advantage over flat bands is that they are thicker. It makes them better at building muscle and capable of pulling off a larger number of different moves, adding more resistance. They are extremely versatile in their use as they can be used to assist pull ups, and adding resistance to pull ups.
- Resistance tubes: Resistance tubes look a little different than other bands. They look like the original surgical tube models, having a hard, tubular exterior. They have handles that allow them to be anchored, making it easier to use them.
- Figure 8 band: The figure 8 band is named after its shape, which, you guessed, resembles figure 8. It is convenient to use without any extra equipment.
- Lateral resistance band: The main difference between a lateral resistance band and other types, like a pull up or flat band, is that lateral resistance bands have straps and cuffs that can be fit on your ankles, allowing you to work out the lower body.
They can also be anchored to other objects.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING RESISTANCE BANDS?
You can complete many of the exercises that are done using free weights with resistance bands. Other benefits of Resistance bands are that they are:
They are cheap to buy, so affordable for everyone.
Since they are small and lightweight, they can be easily transported in your handbag.
One band can facilitate any number of exercises and target multiple muscle groups.
GREAT FOR REHABILITATION
True to the reason for their invention, they are an essential tool in regaining movement in body parts recovering from injury.
GREAT FOR STRETCHING
An excellent tool to facilitate the stretching process before and after your workouts and exercises.
Resistance band exercises are easily learned, and there are plenty of resources available online to help you learn.
GIVE A FULL-BODY WORKOUT
Resistance band exercises can benefit the whole body.
ALLOW FOR PROGRESSION
Since the bands are available in different tensile strengths, they allow for progression. You can always trade up with increased fitness.
Resistance bands are an excellent tool to help tone, define and sculpt muscles.
Using resistance bands slowly builds up your endurance and increases stamina.
As resistance band workouts are low impact, they are good and easy on your joints.
DO RESISTANCE BAND EXERCISES ACTUALLY WORK?
While resistance bands look simple and unassuming, not at all as intimidating as heavy dumbbells, mothballs, barbells, tires, or kettlebells, they do work as long as you use them according to what your end objectives are. They work very well for
- Strength training
- Building endurance
- Gaining muscle mass
- Improving muscle tone
- Losing weight
As long as you adapt your exercises and usage to fit your requirements and end goals, resistance bands are extremely versatile and can be used for all these aims and more.
Even though resistance bands are an amazing resource to have and use, you should not use them to entirely replace free weight lifting, gym machines, and cardio exercises completely.
It would be best if you used resistance bands, free weights, and machines in combination in order to get the most out of your workout.
Ideally, you should use a combination of resistance band exercises and couple them with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or high-intensity cardio routines to get the best results.
This winning combination, along with a properly balanced diet, will allow you to reap all the benefits resistance bands have to offer.