Depending on your fitness goals, the best resistance band workouts include different amounts of strength, cardio, and endurance exercises. If your goal is muscle building, you’ll use more resistance and perform fewer reps of each exercise. If your goal is weight loss, you’ll do just the opposite. If you want to improve muscular endurance, your workout will fall somewhere in the middle. Understanding how to use resistance bands for different workouts will help you create the body you want.
If your goal is weight loss, use resistance bands to raise your heart rate and burn calories. You’ll need to find a resistance level for each exercise that won’t fatigue you after just a few minutes, since your goal will be to keep exercising at a high intensity for 30 minutes or longer. Finding the right resistance level and switching exercises every minute or so will help you prevent fatigue. Alternate exercises between your upper and lower body to prevent muscular fatigue that might cause you to have to stop and take frequent breaks.
To improve your ability to use your muscles for the duration of points, plays, and games, use resistance bands to create endurance workouts. Start with 50 percent of the resistance you move to perform the exercise and do 10 to 12 repetitions of the exercise. Take a 30-second break to recover, then move to a new exercise. Keep your circuit going, moving from exercise to exercise for at least 10 minutes. Take a break of several minutes, then start another round of exercises.
To add more calorie burning to an endurance workout, reduce your resistance a bit and work at a higher intensity for 90 seconds each exercise. To add more muscle building to this type of workout, increase the tension on the bands and perform your reps slower, using more muscular effort.
To build maximum muscle with resistance bands, calculate the maximum tension you can use to perform each one. Wrap the bands tight, until you can only do one rep of an exercise before having to stop for a short break. Once you know your max for each exercise, create a 3X5 or 5X5 workout. Perform five repetitions of each exercise, and perform three or five sets of one exercise with a one-minute break after each set. Take a longer break after you have completed all of your sets, then move on to a new exercise. You can use less than your max to perform muscle-building exercises if you perform more reps each set.
To get the maximum muscle-building benefit from your workouts, perform exercises slowly to use the maximum muscular effort. Don’t use momentum or gravity to return your arms and legs to their starting position. For example, when you do a biceps curls, don’t let the bands pull your arms back down. Raise your arms slowly, hold your muscles against the bands without moving for two seconds, then slowly lower your arms, resisting the bands.
You can use many of the same exercises to create cardio, endurance and bodybuilding routines. Good choices for resistance bands include biceps curls, triceps extensions and kickbacks, rows, squats, lunges, deadlifts, thigh and hip adduction and abduction, heel raises, flyes, and chest presses.
A good workout for both cardio stamina and muscular endurance is the circuit-training workout. With circuit training, you move from exercise to exercise in quick succession. You can create a circuit using one exercise, or perform several exercises to create the circuit.
With a one-exercise circuit routine, you might perform curls, take a short break, then perform squats, take a short break, then perform flyes, and so on. To create multi-exercise circuits, you can perform curls for 30 seconds, immediately begin squats, move to flyes, and finish with deadlift. After performing 30 seconds of each exercise at a high intensity with no break in between each, take a 30-second break before starting a new circuit.
No matter what type of resistance band workout you do, follow the same pattern. Start with several minutes of exercises without the bands to raise your heart rate and stretch your muscles. Jog in place, do jumping jacks, add butt kicks, raise your knees to your chest, and swing your arms. Don’t start a workout at your resting heart rate or with cold muscles.
After your workout, take a few minutes to lower your heart rate and let excess lactic acid and blood leave your muscles. Finish with a good stretch to improve your flexibility and help reduce the muscle stiffness and soreness you feel after workouts.