As you can see, resistance bands have all sorts of uses. And there are numerous benefits to including resistance band work in your training:
When you think about resistance band training, the actual style of exercise is completely different than if you were using something like a dumbbell. Instead of simply lifting a weight, your muscles are under constant tension. This means the actual quality of each rep is significantly improved. And with your muscles working harder, you’ve got better contraction which is the key to getting stronger.
Additionally, it’s always good to find new ways to work out and provide your body with alternative stimuli to help it grow and adapt.
Sometimes lifting heavy in the rack is a more preferred method of training compared to working with dumbbells, simply because you have a guaranteed level of form and consistency.
The more ‘free’ you get with your weights, the more effort you need to put in to controlling your movements to make sure you’re doing them right.
However, although they’re more difficult, doing more free-weight work is essentially going to help you get stronger. And it will also help you improve your functional fitness levels as well.
It really is about practice.
Using resistance bands can feel a little shaky at first and getting the feel for them simply takes time and regular use. Also, making sure you control both the tension and the release takes a good amount of concentration. You have to make sure you are maintaining the tension on the band – rather than letting them snap back into place.
We mentioned above how resistance bands can feel a little unsteady to use. This just means you need to work doubly hard to maintain your form.
But by doing this, you’re targeting your stabilising muscles and building core strength, all at the same time.
Try doing some overhead tricep extensions using a resistance band, and you’ll realise just how much you activate your core while doing them.
There is a lot more movement involved when using resistance bands compared to more traditional style exercises. However, this is great for working your joints and allowing for more natural movements that you do in everyday life.
Machines can be good for beginners as they teach you the general movements you need to be doing in order to target specific muscle groups.
However, they can be restrictive and can force you to move quite unnaturally – depending on your body type – which means you’re not getting the most out of your workouts.
Being able to work the full muscle from extension to contraction will give you the best the results – and that’s what you get with resistance bands.
Having a set of resistance bands can really help if you can’t get to the gym, or if you want to train at home without taking up loads of space. You can also take your own set to the gym really easily. Just chuck them into your gym bag and you’re all set.
Equally, if you travel around a lot and you want to make sure you get a workout in, you can just take them with you and use them wherever. You can even take them on holiday with you so there’s no excuse not to keep your strength up while you’re away.
Compound exercises are when you use several muscles at the same time. They make for a really efficient workout as well as use more energy and improve your coordination.
Resistance band exercises are naturally more geared towards compound movements, so you can use them to get a full body workout.
Straight bars are great for lifting heavy. However, if you have any shoulder or wrist issues, they can sometimes aggravate your injuries. When using resistance bands, you can control the angle you train at. This means you can avoid training in uncomfortable positions while still targeting the right muscle groups.
And even if you’re not injured, it’s always worthwhile varying your training as much as possible to help avoid straining your joints.
How many times have you used momentum to squeeze out the last few reps while doing a particular exercise? This is much harder to do when using resistance bands. Having to maintain tension on the bands throughout the workout means each rep needs to be high quality and your muscles need to be working hard the whole way – rather than just at the end of the rep.
Ultimately however, this is going to help you progress and develop. So, they are a really fantastic training tool for anyone looking to build all over body strength.
Because you have so much control over how you are using the band – from set up, to positioning, angle and movement – you need to be really focused on the feel of each exercise so you can tell what you’re working.
And once you know you’re working the right muscles, you can focus on squeezing them right until the very end to make sure you’re getting a full contraction.
Employing resistance bands in the right way can really help you improve the quality of your workouts. And they’re really convenient too.
Building this sort of strength is great for helping you reach your goals but also stay fit and healthy in later life too.