In a world where heavy weight and strength seems to take president the usefulness of a good pair of resistance bands is often overlooked. They might not seem as cool as a big set of heavy dumbbells or a full multi gym but do not be fooled by their look as you can get a serious workout with resistance bands. For those of you who are still in doubt I guarantee you have not done a workout with these before! Not only can these give you a deep burn with the right regime but resistance bands are super lightweight and can pretty much be used anywhere! Most good sets of resistance bands will even come with a travel pouch so they can be easily transported. Resistance bands can be incorporated into your rehab, prehab, workouts, free weight workouts and explosive power training. They are an excellent tool and they are only limited by your imagination!
They practically weigh nothing and can be easily transported in a backpack. For those of you who want to train at home but either don’t have the room or don’t want to spend big money on exercise equipment like a weight bench or squat rack these are the perfect solution. With resistance bands you add so much variety to your training.
Benefits of resistance bands:
- Super lightweight
- Not much space needed
- Can do multiple body parts
- Low change of injury
- Can be used for warm up, workout or recovery
- Can be combined with free weights
- Plyometric training
- Good for stretching
With a good set of resistance bands you can hit almost any body part! Excercises like the shoulder press, bicep curl, tricep extension, squats and even deadlifts can be done with resistance bands. Try doing each exercise for 1 minute each and you will see just how difficult it can be and how much strain you can put on the muscle!
As well as being super light to carry around and very affordable when working out with resistance bands there is a lower change of you getting an injury. Working out with resistance bands is more about volume than pushing a heavy weight therefore there is less strain on the joints and more work focused on the muscle. Most good resistance bands will have ankle attachments, hand grips and even door attachments so you can really use your imagination to get the most out of these pieces of equipment. This is exactly what you need to keep your muscles activated. This is perfect for anyone from beginners to advanced athletes and they are also very useful for those coming back from injury.
Resistance bands can also be incorporated into your free weight training with exercises like banded squats, bench press or leg press. Using bands with your free weights means that you will get more resistance in the eccentric phase of the lift. This can help build explosive power into your lifts.
This goes without saying but resistance bands are low impact so they are great if you have existing injuries. We don’t think as resistance bands as an alternative to dumbbells or other free weights but more of a supplement. They are also perfect for a deload (off week) as you can keep the muscle active without putting too much pressure on them whilst they recover. This is known as active recovery.
Resistance bands can also be used to stretch your muscles. For example the hamstring stretch as seen in the picture below is a great way to loosen up those hammys and it is much more difficult than it looks!
What to look for when shopping for a set of resistance bands:
There are many different types of resistance bands available so let’s take a look at what we think are the main things to look for when shopping for a set. The size of resistance bands is one of the most important things to look for when shopping for a good pair. Most bands are colour coded by the tension they are. Usually the darker the colour the more tension is in the band (but not always so check this!).
A good set of resistance bands will have accessories with them like a door anchor or ankle wraps. These are important as it will allow you to do more exercises for example a hamstring curl using the door.