Exercises You Can Do Almost Anywhere
There are a lot of misconceptions about
resistance band exercises. Many people wrongfully think that they are tools
used only by the elderly, the injured, or the out of shape. Yes, it is true
that they are often part of physical rehabilitation programs, but they are also
very popular among advanced athletes and body builders.
The great debate is whether or not
resistance bands will give you the same results as free weights or machines.
Well, that depends on who you ask. Some athletes and trainers say that they are
one of the best pieces of equipment ever invented and will help build muscles
or improve strength just as efficiently – or maybe even more effectively – than
other forms of resistance training.
However, there are those who believe that,
despite the many benefits, there are instances when resistance bands simply
cannot deliver the same results as good old-fashioned weight lifting
Resistance Bands and Strength Training
While you might not want to put your dumbbells and barbells away just yet, evidence does show that adding resistance bands to your strength training workouts can burn calories, improve speed and endurance, increase flexibility, and build muscle. In fact, many trainers suggest using both bands and free weights together to maximize benefits.
Often, your muscles cannot tell the difference between bands, free weights, or even using your own body mass. As long as there is enough resistance, your muscles will get a good workout. In fact, many trainers encourage the use of elastic bands, tubes, or loops because of the long list of benefits they offer.
A full-body workout. A lot of gym
equipment is designed to target only one muscle group. With resistance bands,
you can work out any muscle in your body simply by changing positions.
Affordability. Resistance bands are
inexpensive and can be purchased as a set or individually. Some even include an
instructional booklet or DVD.
Convenient. They are small, compact, and take up very little space. They can fit in your briefcase, your laptop case, or your suitcase. Since you can wrap them around almost any stable object or secure them in a door, they can be used anywhere, so you can get your workout in even when you are away from home.
Continuous tension. Gravity can actually lower the effectiveness of free weights because the tension is reduced at certain points. For example, when doing a bicep curl, you get more resistance during the upward lift, but gravity will make lowering the weight easier. With bands or tubes, the resistance is constant so your muscles will be working harder throughout the entire movement.
You can't use momentum to “cheat”. When using dumbbells, it is often easy to allow the “swing” to propel your lifts, making some moves easier.
Versatility. Resistance bands can be used alone or with other pieces of equipment such as dumbbells, stability balls, workout bench, or steps.
Safety. You can give your muscles an intense workout without fear of dropping a heavy weight. This is particularly helpful if you are working out alone or do not have a spotter.
Multiple muscle benefits. When using the bands, proper form requires that you engage supporting muscles for stability. So, even the muscles that you are not targeting will get a workout.
Variety. There are so many exercise you can do with one simple piece of equipment. And variety is the spice of life, right? At least it staves off boredom and keeps your workouts interesting.
Stand on the band with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the handles or grip the band with palms facing out.
To increase the tension wrap the band around your wrist or allow some tubing to gather between your feet, thus shortening the length of tube from your foot to hand.
Perform a traditional curl as if you were holding a dumbbell.
Wrap the band across your shoulders with the handles or the ends of the band in your hands.
Lay on the floor with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle beside your chest.
Place your palms over the elastic, making sure that there is no slack. Perform a traditional push-up.
Hold your arms straight out in front of you with palms facing the floor.
Pull your arms back until your hands are touching the front of your shoulders. If you don't have an anchor, you can also perform this exercise by extending your legs straight out in front of you and wrapping the band around your feet.
Resistance Band Exercises
The number of resistance band exercises are
limitless. With this small sampling, you will be able to add a few movements to
your workouts so you can begin seeing the benefits right away.
Resistance bands are low impact, so they will provide an intense workout without putting pressure on your joints. This is especially important if you are older, have previous injuries, or want to use extremely heavy weights that could strain your elbows, knees, or hips.
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum