Using Resistance Bands for Strength

author : acbadger
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Question

Last night I read a great article in the latest issue of Runners World about using resistance bands rather than weights for strength training. I am getting bored with weights and was thinking of switching over. Is anyone out there using the resistance bands? If so, what have your results been? Any guidance, thoughts, words of wisdom accepted. -Abbie

Answer

Great question, Abbie. Glad to hear that you are looking to change up your workout a bit. Most people think sticking with the same ol’ routine is the way to get more fit. It’s actually just the opposite. Muscles have memory. I’m sure you’ve seen the one person at the gym who comes in religiously EVERY day, does the EXACT same strength training workout EVERY day, jumps on the SAME treadmill EVERY day and puts the machine at a 5% grade at 4.2 mph for 35 minutes EVERY day! You’ve probably also started to notice that this person has had NO change in their body for a VERY long time. This is because their body has adapted to the workout, the muscles “remember” the workout, and the benefits from the workout are minimal. Obviously, doing this workout is better than doing nothing at all, but the benefits would be greater (and more noticeable) if they changed up their workout once and a while.

Now, to segue into your band question…resistance tubes are a GREAT strength training modality. I teach several classes in which I incorporate the tubes. You can do most of the same exercises with the resistance tubes that you can do with dumbbells and then some. You just have to remember a couple of different things about the tubes.

#1 The tubes snap back when pulled to full resistance, so you have to be very careful when returning the band back to starting position. It is easier to let momentum take over when utilizing the bands, as opposed to using and controlling muscle to restrain the bands. That being said, that is where the optimal work is being done…returning the band back to starting position. Yes, it is difficult to raise the band to your side, laterally, when doing a lateral shoulder raise, but, it’s bringing the tube back to starting position with a nice slow controlled movement that is the beneficial part of the lift.

#2 Foot placement on the band is important. If you are doing bilateral bicep curls (curling with both arms at the same time), it is easiest to lift the tube with one foot placed on the center of the tube. It’s more difficult to place both feet close together on the center of the tube, and the most difficult foot placement is both feet spread shoulder-width apart on the tube while performing the lift. This holds true for shoulder presses/raises, upright rows, etc.

#3 Band selection. Not all bands are created equal. Before you go and grab some random tube off of the rack, be sure to check the tube thickness. Thinner tubes are going to be easier to raise/lift and thicker tubes are more difficult and produce more resistance. Play with a couple of different thicknesses and get the feel for the exercises at the resistance that works for you. Remember the color of the tube you chose (different colors represent different levels of resistance). Keep in mind that different brands of tubes have different color codes that represent their resistance changes. So, if you are visiting another gym, don’t assume that because you use blue at your gym, that you’ll use blue at this gym.

#4 You may want to consult a Personal Trainer for different resistance tube exercises. There are a variety of exercises for both upper and lower body! Be sure to get an orientation of sorts before beginning. It’s just as easy to hurt yourself with a rubber tube as it is with a metal dumbbell. Remember, safety first!!

Enjoy your new workout Abbie! Please be sure to let us know how the variation is working out for you!!

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date: March 5, 2006

Author


acbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

Author

avataracbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

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