Since gyms are closed due to the pandemic, fitness lovers are trying to find the best possible solution to keep their body in shape as if they are still training at the gym. But how can we weight train when we do not have the equipment to help or support us?
Resistance training and bands have become the front runner when it comes to finding a solution.
What is resistance training?
The answer is in the name. Resistance training is training against your body weight with the help of numerous different bands to help achieve your goal. Whether you have just started with training, an expert in weight training and lifting or recovering due to an injury and want to take things slow, you can use resistance bands to help you.
But what exactly are resistance bands? They are meant to help with strengthening and stretching your muscles for training, improving athletics performance or for any physical therapy.
Different types of resistance bands
-Bands with handles
These tube bands are mainly used for working out and to help build muscles for strength and size. The handles are there to help provide a grip to allow a variety of exercises, exactly how you would train in the gym with weight machines or using free weights. You get different lengths and handles to help accommodate the type of exercise you want to achieve.
-Flat therapy resistance bands
These bands are commonly available at a physical therapist or sports therapists office or practice. These types of bands are wide and flat, making it easy to wrap them around your hand to help adjust the length if needed and you can also cut them smaller or tie them together to help with stretches and so forth. These bands are used for Pilates to help with added resistance and can also be used for strength training.
Very similar to the therapy bands, but these bands are smaller and in a closed-loop. These bands are used when wanting to help to strengthen the legs and buttocks region. These bands are available in most sports shops and physical therapy offices and practices.
-Leg and arm tube resistance bands
It’s a closed-off loop tube band that comes in numerous varieties. An example is leg bands with ankle cuffs and also a figure-eight shape band with handles for the upper body. These bands are made primarily for muscle-specific exercises.
-Power and mobility bands
Known as heavy-duty bands, these bands are more popular amongst cross-training athletes and powerlifting athletes. They are used for stretching and to help correct mobility issues, also to add variable resistance to weight training and to help with pull-up assistance.
Benefits of resistance bands
1. They are not that expensive
The main benefit of resistance bands is that they will not put pressure on you financially. Resistance bands are mostly affordable and buying bulk will not cost you thousands of Rands. Popular or international brands will ask for a hefty price for their products but there are numerous products available that are affordable for your price range.
2. They are portable.
Planning on going away when leisure travel opens but still want to keep fit and healthy while away? Well good news for you, resistance bands are easy to take with you to keep up with your fitness routine without skipping a beat. You can just fold them, put them in a zip-lock bag and there you go.
If you are tired of working out in your home, go to the nearby park and get a change of scenery and take your bands with you. Since resistance bands are very effective to help you get in shape, being portable makes them an even bigger win-win.
3. Easy and adaptable
The main benefit of resistance bands is how adaptable they are. Most bands come in different levels and strengths, just how weights and dumbbells have different levels of weights. What’s great about this is, it means that resistance bands are not only for beginners to use, it can be used by any trainee at any level.
4. Stretching and rehabilitation
Resistance bands were commonly used by physical therapists for rehabilitation exercises. The bands were first made in a medical setting for rehabilitation, which proves, even more, it is effective. Bands can be used before or after a workout session, using them to help stretch those muscles that are stiff after a workout. And the best part? You don’t need to do any type of special stretches. It also helps increase your range of motion which can only be beneficial to you and your health.
5. Easy to learn and easy to use
Even if you are a beginner, resistance bands are easy to learn and pick up what to do in a matter of minutes. The reason why it is easy to learn is that in some cases you are replacing weight objects by just adding the bands to do resistance weight training. So, where you would normally use a weight machine to do a certain exercise and don’t have access to one, you simply switch it up by just using a resistance band.
The most common uses for resistance bands are exercises like squats, lunges, glute bridges, lateral leg raises, squat thrusters, and many more.
6. Full body workout
The main benefit of using resistance bands is the fact that you can use them for a full-body workout. You are not leaving any areas unnoticed when working out. Even if you have one resistance band, you can reach every muscle in your body. And if you don’t know where to start, there are many videos available online for your convenience to help you get started with using resistance bands as part of your workout routine.
Progression is an important part of the exercise, especially if you want to achieve your overall fitness goals.
Resistance bands come in a variety of levels, making them crucial in the part of the progression. If they were all on the same level it will be useless to use them as a progression tool to increase your strength levels. To ensure results you need to keep beating your personal best, so to ensure this you need to level up your resistance bands to achieve these goals.
The best part of resistance bands, they can assist you in your workouts, for example, when you want to master pull up exercises this is where the resistance bands come in. You tie them to the overhead bar and use the band as a substitute step to help you achieve to do a perfect pull-up. The resistance when pushing down helps make the stride going up more smoothly and safe for your muscles.
8. Muscle Toning and Endurance
Some may think that resistance bands do not have the same effect in results when doing weight lifting or any weight exercises, when in fact they can give you the same results. You won’t be toned and bulked on bodybuilder level, but you still can get lean when using resistance bands. The secret to getting results is using equipment to help exercise your muscles and to tire them out just as you would do with using weights and dumbbells.
If you have exercised with resistance bands and saw results in your muscle toning and building, you are more than welcome to swop the bands for weights or continue using the bands to ensure a positive outcome.
If you already have a healthy muscle tone, resistance bands can help to maintain those muscle mass especially now since gyms are not permitted to open.
Where endurance comes into play is when you’re an athlete or any other type of endurance athlete. Since resistance bands are low-impact, they are a great option to improve endurance if your main focus is to ultimately eliminate weights from your workout routine. The benefit of resistance bands is that they can provide more exercise varieties. Meaning you can reduce the risk of injury when you increase your reps at a faster pace.
The big question remains, but do resistance bands actually work? If the benefits of resistance bands weren’t convincing enough for you, the best possible solution will be to try them out yourself. Resistance bands aren’t an overnight cure to help you bulk up or to lose weight. Like any other form of exercise to lose weight, you have to make sure that you maintain a healthy lifestyle, meaning, eating right and working out at least 3-4 times a week.
Don’t let Lockdown make you lose that passion for fitness or let you come with millions of excuses when there are so many other ways to help maintain your fitness levels. When purchasing resistance bands and don’t know where to start, log on to Youtube and you will find hundreds of videos ready for you to start your journey to a healthy and active lifestyle.
Source: Origym: Benefits of Resistance Bands & What they do