Resistance bands allow you to work out on the go. They are elastic bands that are used to mimic exercises that are typically done with machines or free weights. They are an inexpensive way to ensure you get the workouts you need when you do not have access to a gym near you or simply do not have the time to go.
Also known as therapy bands, loop bands, and mini bands, resistance bands are easy to transport, and they can be stuffed into any small bag. They don’t weigh much, so you won’t even remember you have them in your bag.
Some of the benefits that come with resistance band training include:
- Improves balance and stability: Working out with resistance bands requires you to activate your stabilizer muscles to stay balanced and keep proper form. That means even exercises that only target one muscle group still give you a full-body workout since your core and lower back are engaged as you perform reps.
- Improves mobility: Working out with resistance bands goes beyond building muscles; it also helps to improve mobility and flexibility in your joints. This, in turn, allows you to get more out of your workouts since your range of motion is increased.
- Low impact workout: Resistance bands are also known as therapy bands, and that is because they are also used for rehabilitating damaged muscles and joints. Resistance bands allow you to perform low-impact strength training, minimizing the risk of injury and providing a safe way to exercise weakened or damaged joints and muscles.
- More variety: Working out with resistance bands allows you to put new spins on conventional workouts. One of the biggest reasons why people stop working out is due to getting bored with their workouts. Resistance bands give you more options when it comes to experimenting with exercises to make them more exciting and challenging.
Types of resistance bands
The first step towards working out with resistance bands is figuring out which type works best for you. Here are the main type of resistance bands you get to choose from:
- Sheet bands: These are thin sheets of latex that are primarily used for rehabilitating muscles, warming up for workouts, or stretching out your muscle groups. Sheet bands are a great option if you’re currently rehabilitating an injury or you’re just getting started with resistance bands.
- Loop bands: Loop bands are circular resistant bands that look like giant rubber bands. They are available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Large loop bands are excellent for lower body and upper body exercises that target compound muscle groups.
- Mini bands: These are a lot like loop bands, but they are a lot smaller. They are a great way to increase the intensity of bodyweight exercises for the lower body. For example, they can be used to make bodyweight squats feel like you are pushing serious weights.
- Tube bands: These are dense rubber tubes that come with handles at each end. Tube bands are the most popular type of resistance bands, and they are great for performing upper body exercises like shoulder presses and bicep curls. Tube bands are a must if you are serious about making resistance bands a significant part of your workout routine.
Getting a complete workout with resistance bands
Figuring out where to start with resistance bands can be challenging when you’re new to these types of workouts. This article will go over some simple exercises you can perform that will target all your muscle groups. Aim for 15 reps and 3 sets for each exercise, and rest for a minute between sets.
1) Push up
Resistance bands are a great way to make traditional push-ups more challenging. Push-ups are one of the most complete upper body workouts that target most of the muscles there. The exercise goes like this:
- Start in a traditional push-up position with your arms shoulder-width apart and your feet together. You should be able to draw a straight line through your head to your feet when you’re correctly positioned.
- Now, wrap the tubing across your shoulders and secure the handles under your hands. Make sure the band is evenly spread across your shoulders.
- Slowly lower yourself to the ground, bending your elbows to make a 90-degree angle. Push back up to the starting position, keeping a slight bend in your elbows at the top.
2) Reverse lunge
Here is a simple way to exercise all of the muscles in your legs. It should give you a good burn when done correctly. It looks something like this:
- Start standing upright with your feet about hip-width apart. While placing your right foot on the midpoint of the band, hold the handles at shoulder height. Your elbows should be slightly bent in this position.
- Now, take a backward step with your left foot, almost touching the floor with your knee. Your torso should be leaning forward a bit, and most of your weight should be on your right leg.
- Return your left leg to its starting position while keeping your weight on your right leg. The handles of the tube band should be at shoulder height the entire time. Repeat 15 times and switch legs to complete a set.
3) Bent over rows
This exercise targets your core, shoulder blades, and back muscles. Here’s what it looks like:
- Start with your feet on the exercise band, with your feet a little more than hip-width apart. Bend at your waist and knees the same way you would when performing barbell curls. While keeping your back flat, criss-cross the handles of the band so it forms an ‘X’.
- Bring both handles up to your armpits while your elbows remain pointing behind. Squeeze your back muscles and shoulder blades at the top of the exercise to get the most out of each rep.
- Now, return the handles to the starting position while maintaining proper posture and keeping your core engaged. Repeat 15 times to complete a set.
Explore resistance training
The exercises listed above are only a tiny sample of the countless exercises that can be done with resistance bands. Feel free to stop by one of our introductory HIIT classes to learn more ways to work out with resistance bands.
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