Whether you’re a seasoned fitness pro or just starting out on your quest for better health, you may have seen a resistance band or two around the gym and be wondering what it is. Sort of like a giant rubber band, this simple yet ingenious workout tool is becoming more and more popular because of its many benefits. Both versatile and effective, resistance band training is more than just the latest fitness trend, these babies are definitely here to stay. Here’s a brief guide to how a resistance band works, how to use it, and what makes these simple exercises so smart.
When it comes to traditional toning, muscle building, and strength training exercises, the benefits come from lifting an actual free weight into the air with your hands or through the use of a machine. With resistance band training, on the other hand, the degree of elasticity the band or tubing has as you stretch it provides the same muscle workout as weights. So why incorporate resistance band training into your workout instead of just weights? Because resistance band training has several great benefits that free weights and machines can’t offer.
In addition to the fact that resistance band training is great for toning, building strength, and as a cardiovascular workout, there’s also the fact that they are extremely practical little exercise tools. You can use resistance bands to work virtually every muscle in your body, and your movement is not limited by the track of a machine. Additionally, adding variety to your exercise regime prevents your body from becoming too accustomed to it, which stunts progress. Not only are resistance bands easy to use at home, they’re so lightweight and portable that they can be brought with you wherever you go, making it possible to turn your office, hotel room, practically anywhere with a little space into a very effective gym. And, of course, there’s the little matter of cost. You can pick up a resistance band for between $10.00 and $15.00 that will work as many muscles as any expensive, fancy machine, if not more.
Now that you know what resistance band training is, you may be interested in learning a few exercises to try for yourself. To tone arms, try adding a resistance band to your traditional pushups. Start in the pushup position but with knees on the floor. Wrap the resistance band around your back and tuck each end under each of your hands, which should be spaced about five inches apart. Lower your body to the floor, then push up against the band and hold it for a few seconds. Lower your body again and repeat.
To tone abs, wrap the resistance band around a sturdy, stationary pole. Lie down, facing away from the post and far enough away so that there’s some resistance in the band. Then take each end of the band in your hand and do your sit-ups or crunches as you normally would.
To tone legs, stand on the center of the band with legs shoulder-width apart and, squatting, take each end in each hand. Keeping hands at shoulders, stand up and then lower yourself back down into a squatting position. To work calves, stand on band with feet together rather than apart. Take each end of band in each hand and place your hands at your shoulders. Stand on tiptoe.