How to use a resistance band to workout
Resistance bands (also known as mobility bands) may just about be the simplest and cheapest solution to create your complete home gym.
Physiotherapists have been using them for decades as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation or fitness program for clients due to their simplicity, low cost and versatility. One of the best things about a resistance band is that you can use it just about anywhere, to target just about anything.
To help you reach your health goals, you won’t need to rely on all the expensive weights or machines anymore! With just a few simple resistance band workouts you can exercise your whole body! Learn more: read out top reasons to workout!
What’s so great about resistance bands?
Variety of exercises
These oversized elastic bands come in many shapes, sizes, lengths and colours.
Such variety allows you to exercise any part of the body and target anything you like; be it strength, power, muscle activation or flexibility. The different colours represent different grades of resistance.
You would most commonly use Yellow (light), Red (moderate), Green (strong) or Blue (very strong). The tubular form of the elastic works great to tie a loop onto one end for grip, whilst the flatter band type is perfect for gripping onto feet for lower limb exercises.
Resistance bands are easy to use!
Resistance bands can be anchored onto many household items, such as tables and chairs, to create your own simple set up and replicate a cable pulley machine. You can then get creative to replicate your favourite gym exercises (such as upright rows, overhead press, lat pull down, squats and push ups) all by anchoring the band at different heights. Need another workout idea? Try skipping for fitness!
Resistance in a full range of motion
Unlike some free weight exercises, resistance bands exert a continuous tension on the muscle. This allows you to really focus on both the concentric (muscle shortening/lifting phase) and eccentric (muscle lengthening/lowering phase) of the movement.
In certain exercises whilst using free weights, the weight will travel across a different plane of gravity, effectively changing the force exerted onto the muscle (for example the standard bicep curl puts very little tension through the bicep muscle at the very top of the movement when lifting).
With resistance band exercises, the muscle is provided with a constant degree of tension, thereby increasing the amount of work the muscle needs to do, potentially granting even better results!
Be aware that the tension in the band does increase as the band lengthens so care needs to be taken not to overstrain at the band’s stretch limit.
How much does a resistance band cost?
Compared to the cost of gym equipment that can achieve similar results, resistance bands are cheap.
Even if you require a few different shapes or strengths for different goals, the total cost is still very affordable.
You can take your resistance band anywhere!
If you like the freedom of exercising anywhere, then resistance bands make for a perfect travelling companion.
Weighing next to nothing, these bands easily fit into the smallest of suitcases and are obviously significantly less bulky than weights. Physiotherapists use them in our rooms, in the gym, in the Pilates studio and we advocate their use in the park, on your balcony, in your kitchen and everywhere else.
Next time you travel away from home, take your resistance band with you and do your complete work out!
Further reading: How to find time to workout
Whether you’re rehabilitating an injury, travelling, tight for space or just want to add variety to your exercise routine, resistance bands are a perfect addition.
Be sure to check them regularly for signs of wear or tear, as you don’t want them to snap mid-use!
When used safely and correctly, any area can be effectively targeted with a resistance band workout, and your Motion Health physiotherapist can guide you in the best way to use them and set up a program that is tailored to your goals.