We’re all in search of gaining that trim, summer body whilst maintaining our muscle definition. Sometimes this can be particularly inconvenient from home, having to clear out the back shed to fit in numerous pieces of bulky gym equipment. In addition, the time spent moving weights on and off a bar is enough to drain someone’s motivation completely. Well, thankfully all these worries can be put to bed with one simple product… a resistance band! Even if you are someone pretty pleased with your current gym setup, adding a few resistance bands to the house of gains will only further benefit you. Nowadays fitting in that extra workout is made every bit easier, all with the purchase of a resistance band set.
Performing common workout/gym exercises can be made easier or harder with the use of a resistance band. Bands can be used as added resistance to body weight or free weight exercises, coming in handy when weights aren’t available, or if you’ve simply become too strong for the weights you once struggled with. Normally, resistance bands are bought in a set of 3-6, with each band differing in resistance despite being the same length. The bands are made of rubber, with the thicker bands being tougher to stretch and therefore providing greater resistance. Often bands with less resistance are beneficial to use when exercises are being performed through a greater range of motion, requiring greater stretch of the band. Resistance bands can be used in conjunction with different gym equipment, or simply in isolation for exercises such as bicep curls or shoulder presses. Imagine you’ve just performed your final bench press set for a session, before feeling little to no fatigue, with no weight to add on to the bar. Now, a common reaction to this is then to increase repetitions of the exercise to generate a degree of fatigue. Now whilst this will have a positive impact on muscular endurance and slightly improve strength, the simple fix of a band will allow your bench press to target your muscular strength – without the need for increased repetitions. A much more cost-effective purchase of added weight compared to weight plates will in fact be resistance bands.
(Prosource Fit, 2017)
Despite commonly being used as their names states (resistance), resistance bands can work opposingly, rather decreasing the difficulty of an exercise. Take for example an individual with minimal experience who wants to get into performing chin-ups as an exercise. To begin with, an exercise such as this will be quite difficult due to the strength demanded. However, by adding a band to this exercise, an easier, more supported chin-up will be completed, whilst still recruiting the muscles and technique required for full body weight chin-ups. To do this, a band will simply be tied around the top of the bar, before having the individual place their feet into the loop at the bottom of the band. A high resistance (thicker) band will be best to use early on, before gradually decreasing in resistance with the eventual aim of being able to perform chin-ups without the need for band assistance. Another example of an exercise where band assistance may be used includes triceps dips off bars.
The benefits of using resistance bands go on and on. A key feature in training with resistance bands is highlighted in the quality of your exercises after using resistance bands. After periods of performing band exercises, technique will vastly improve due to the muscle being put under constant tension when being used. Another benefit in terms of your overall fitness will be through having to recruit stabilising muscles whilst performing movements. These are the muscles which assist the prime mover muscles in movements, however due to being put under constant tension by bands, these muscles will need to be worked in greater volumes, ultimately improving some of the muscles we never really think about when completing a workout. Furthermore, resistance bands are great tools to use before performing physical activity. Whether it’s a workout, a game of social league basketball or your game of football on a Saturday, these bands come in extra handy. Throw one or two of these in your backpack for gameday, giving you a resource to “switch on” muscles, ensuring they are fired up to switch into that competitive mode.
Above all, a major reason for buying resistance bands simply comes down to their convenience. Clearly, a resistance band set will be much more cost-effective when compared to a dumbbell, or a weight plate. Yet, with a resistance band you will essentially be able to perform identical movements to that of a free weight. Couple that with the fact that they are easily stored or transported. It can be as simple as looping a band around your bedroom door and performing bicep curls, or even throwing it into the suitcase before heading on your holiday. I’m not sure about you, but I haven’t seen many suitcases which will allow a bench press to be folded up and taken on holiday. And as mentioned earlier, if you haven’t got the facilities at home to setup your ideal dream, resistance bands will remove that worry for the time being.
And there we have it! It’s extremely clear that the benefits of resistance bands will allow you to maintain and transform your body, attaining your fitness goals. And the best thing… it can all be done with a few bands which will fit in your backpack.