9 Benefits of Resistance Bands
There is no doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has increased the popularity of resistance bands around the world over the past 6 months.
People of all ages, of all fitness levels, all of a sudden began looking for ways to offset the loss of physical activities and resistance bands provided some well-known benefits that almost anyone would welcome.
While there are certainly more than these nine benefits to resistance band use, we just wanted to put a short list together for those who still might be considering adding these to their fitness regiment.
Just remember, bands almost certainly have a place in your workout even after life returns to "normal". So…
Just What are Resistance Bands
Well, without getting too complicated, there are actually different types of resistance bands that can be used for fitness training.
The most common (and, in our opinion, the best for most) are the flat ones. These are also known as strength bands or exercise bands.
Depending on the brand, you might also find different band widths. The thicker the width of the band, the more resistance or tension, it will provide.
Resistance bands can typically be found in ranges, either in numbers, such as 1-6, or weight, such as 10-50 pounds.
While band length will be the same, the lower level or resistance bands will be easier to stretch, thus provide less tension.
These lower resistance bands are especially useful for exercises with greater ranges of motion.
As you move up in levels or resistance, the bands will become much harder to stretch.
Resistance bands are made from rubber and can be used to wrap or knot around stationary equipment in order to perform a wide variety of exercises.
Obviously, the choice of exercises and level or resistance of the band used will be a very individual thing and does, in fact, require a little trial and error in the beginning.
In other words, experiment…but do so cautiously and with the understanding that proper use of bands will lead to very controlled, smooth motions.
Now, let’s check out some of the benefits of resistance bands...
Resistance Bands are Easy on the Joints
There is little question that over time, resistance training does add some wear and tear to the joints. Unfortunately, it does kind of go with the territory to some extent.
Obviously, proper training following proper warmups and followed by proper stretching will do much to alleviate these aches and pains, but at some level, as we age, it is bound to come.
Enter benefit #1 on our list…resistance bands are easier on the joints!
The constant, controlled, and smooth tension that bands provide not only encourages and engages more muscle activity during an exercise but also creates much less wear and tear on the joints than free-weights and even some machines.
Even better, over time, this type of constant, even tension will strengthen joints as opposed to tear them down.
For lifelong trainers, this single benefit might be enough of a reason to add them to the program.
Resistance Bands Increase Strength Evenly
Free weights and machines, no matter how well designed, no matter what the exercise, have points, throughout the range of motion, where resistance will fluctuate.
In other words, the resistance will be lighter during some periods of the movement and heavier through others.
Resistance bands eliminate this fluctuation in tension, increasing strength evenly so muscles become not only stronger but more pliable and likely less injury-prone as well.
Resistance Bands Builds Muscle
Let’s not be fooled by the look of resistance bands. And let’s certainly not compare their effectiveness based on a silly comparison of bars loaded with big weight plates.
In short, the body has no clue what the tool being used to provide resistance is. Therefore, the proper selection of resistance when using bands can, and will, absolutely lead to muscle.
Remember, the resistance used in training is a “means to an end”. Nothing more.
If the tool you choose provides adequate tension through the range of motion needed, the body, and the muscles, will respond.
Resistance Bands are Convenient
During these crazy times, “normal” isn’t an option for most, so gyms and regular fitness training has been difficult to achieve.
During more normal times, so many of us lack the time we think we need to “get fit” since getting to the gym needs to be fit into the daily schedule.
But, with resistance bands, all excuses are all bu eliminated.
They can be used anywhere. Nothing else, no other equipment, is needed in order to get a good workout in. You don’t need to get dressed to workout. You don’t need to drive to the gym. You aren’t going to be waiting for others to finish on machines. The convenience benefits are very obvious, no?
Resistance Bands are Versatile
To be very honest, we really aren’t sure there is another piece of fitness equipment that brings more versatility with it.
You can literally work every body part, do almost every exercise, in some variation, and do so with limited space needed. glutes, quads, hamstrings, chest, back, arms, and abs, all with a good set of bands…right in front of your TV if need be.
Resistance Bands Allow You to Work Your Weaknesses
One of the real beauties of incorporating resistance bands into your training is the opportunity they provide anyone to work on weaknesses, either in bodypart or within individual exercises themselves.
Since bands provide that continuous range of motion that we have already discussed, one could determine that they have “sticking points” or moments within a range of motion on an exercise where their strength is limited, and use the bands to focus on that specific point within an exercise.
Say for example, during a bicep curl, you are weakest at the bottom, or start, of the movement. Using bands as auxiliary work on this movement will allow you to focus on that bottom portion of the exercise without the loss of tension as you move through it. Overtime this pays huge dividends on such weaknesses.
Resistance Bands are Great for all Fitness Levels
One of the beauties of bands? They are as beneficial to the beginner as they are to the fitness pro.
Since bands typically come in sets, ranging in tension, almost anyone can either begin…or ramp up their fitness training with these bad boys.
With resistance bands, individuals can truly create the training specific to their abilities and goals.
Resistance Bands Increase Flexibility
As we noted above, resistance bands have a positive effect on joints. But this is not the end of this good news.
Resistance bands, especially lighter levels of tension, are a great way to help you improve your flexibility and joint mobility.
Stretch work is essential to overall health and well-being, especially as we age so anything that can help us improve this type of exercise or recovery, should be very much appreciated.
Bands, when used properly, will do wonders to improve flexibility, and therefore, in our opinion, make them a key tool for those over the age of 40.
Get your band stretch on now!
Resistance Bands Aid Recovery
If you have ever had physical therapy of any sort, you are already aware of the role bands play in almost every rehab. This is with good reason as bands have more than proven themselves essential for aiding recovery, especially when it comes to working on areas like the hips, elbows, shoulders, and knees.
One of the main reasons? The ability to work within limited ranges of motion, while maintaining the tension necessary to begin recovering strength and range of motion, post-injury, surgery, or workout.
Another reason? That same convenience we discussed above. The fact that an individual who is recovering from any sort of injury, large or small, can get their band-work in, at a moment's notice, just about anywhere they are.
Bands can certainly help overcome many of the nagging joint and soft tissue injuries so many of us incur.
How to Incorporate Resistance Bands Into Your Workouts
To be perfectly honest, there are hundreds of ways one could begin to incorporate resistance bands into their fitness training.
How and when an individual chooses to use bands will be based on a number of variables, including, current fitness level, goals, strengths and weaknesses, target body parts, and more.
With that said, we tend to think that most people will benefit from using bands as “added” or “finishing” work at the end of workouts or a specific body part training, as a means to truly overload and lengthening or stretching the muscles without place additional wear and tear on the joint.
A few lighter, more controlled, and slow sets to finish off whatever area has just been worked or needs a little extra attention. This is a great way to add bands for almost every fitness enthusiast.
Until next time…stay happy, healthy, safe, and productive!
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Now, onward! You only have one life to live, one body to live it in...so take care of it. Progress, not perfection. Good, better, best with your food intake, and some form of "movement" daily. Get your nutritional foundation from food, supplement where necessary, and drink plenty of water.
And, don’t forget, always consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise regiment.
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