You’ve seen them before. Those brightly colored stretchy bands known simply as resistance bands. They’re at the gym, on TV, and you might even have a set or two laying in a corner of your house somewhere. I know they might not look like much, but resistance bands offer a pretty wide range of workout benefits.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that they come in a rainbow of colors. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to resistance bands, or if you’ve been using them for years, they can always be used in almost any workout.
The different colors signify different resistance levels, and it’s always a good idea to keep a variety on hand. While you might think having a band with the highest level of resistance doesn’t make sense, dump that thought. Maybe that band is a little tough to use right now, but after a while, you’ll work up to being able to use it on a regular basis.
Muscles make up around 35% to 40% of your body, and some of your muscles are stronger than others. This is where the varied resistance levels come into play. When you have more bands to choose from, it’ll be much easier to work all of your muscles, weak or strong.
Many people tend to favor weight machines when they want a great workout. While these machines have their obvious advantages, they also sometimes have disadvantages as well. Perhaps the biggest is that they’re not mobile.
I like to think of resistance bands as adjustable (and portable) weight machines. Choosing your ideal weight is as simple as choosing the correctly colored band, and after that, the options for customization are nearly endless. You can modify nearly any exercise to make it easier or more challenging. The workout really becomes yours to own.
Bicep curls can be made tougher by simply using a band with a higher resistance. Using a wider stance as you stand on the bands can also add to it. One of the best benefits of using resistance bands in your workout is the ability to move in any direction, which helps work numerous muscles. When you get creative, you’ll strengthen and stretch a number of muscles, where as a weight machine may be a bit more limiting.
If you’ve ever had a sports-related injury or have gone through physical therapy for any reason, chances are good that you used some sort of resistance band.
When dealing with an injury, the muscles of that injured body part are isolated and not used. The goal of your recovery (and physical therapy) is to start working those isolated muscles again.
Using resistance bands offers a much safer and gradual return to exercise than any other method. Even if you’re not working those muscles, but are focusing on others with the use of a band, you’re increasing blood flow throughout your body, which supports a faster recovery.
A Cost-Effective Way to Exercise
Gym memberships can be pretty expensive sometimes, and if you’re looking for a more cost-effective way to get a good workout, you can find it in resistance bands.
Depending on where you shop, you can find individual resistance bands for under ten dollars. There are also kits that contain a few different bands with varied resistance levels, as well as a DVD workout. While being at a gym every day may make you feel better (as in, less guilty about the extra bacon you had for breakfast), it’s definitely still possible to get a great workout at home.
That’s the beauty of resistance bands. They offer a comprehensive, full-body workout, and you have the ability to really challenge yourself. Whether you choose to only work a certain group of muscles or go full-out, your muscles will quickly adapt to the movements you do often.
How have you been using resistance bands in your workout routines? Share your stories by leaving a comment below.