Resistance bands, also called resistance tubing, are an exercise accessory made of rubber. Common exercises can be maximized with resistance bands, as the bands increase the load requirement put on your muscles. Because of their versatility, exercise bands are an appropriate exercise tool for people of all fitness levels. Talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, particularly if you have an existing health condition or injury.
The thicker your resistance band is, the more resistance it will provide. Lighter colors are generally for lighter resistance levels, and as the thickness increases, the colors of tubing get darker. You should use a resistance band that you’re able to stretch, but that is still challenging for you. When stretching your band is no longer demanding, you should advance to the next level of thickness. The varying muscles in your body have different levels of strength, so buy a variety of bands so you’ll be prepared for different exercises. Resistance bands with padded handles are usually more comfortable than non-padded, interchangeable ones.
UsageResistance bands are used to gain strength, flexibility and balance. Depending on the exercise, the band can either be fastened to an object such as a door knob, or you can use the band while holding onto the handles. Muscle strengthening exercises such as hamstring curls, bicep curls, squats and reverse crunches are enhanced when a resistance band is incorporated because of the force you exert when attempting to pull the band. You should perform eight to 12 reps of each exercise and two to three sets of each rep.
BenefitsResistance bands are inexpensive, lightweight and easy to pack into luggage or a gym bag. You can use them with most calisthenic-type exercises, and their versatility will help you concentrate on your targeted muscle groups. For example, if your goal is to strengthen your hamstrings, use your resistance band around both ankles and perform single leg butt kicks while holding on to a secure surface. The resistance from the band will increase the work done by your hamstrings.
If a resistance band is joined together at the ends to make one continuous band, the bond where it is joined can be faulty and break, leading to injury while exercising. Choose a band that is a continuous piece of rubber. When performing an exercise that requires the band to be attached to an object, be sure it is fastened securely to avoid slippage. If the rubber on your resistance band shows sign of wear, aging or weather damage, replace it with a new one. If you experience sudden or sever pain while working out with resistance bands, seek medical help immediately.
Source : Susan Presley has been a health care journalist since 2006. Her articles have been published by "Current Health" and the "American Journal of Nursing." With a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Truman State University, she is pursuing a Master of Divinity at Louisville Seminary in Kentucky.