In this post I will be discussing different resistance bands exercises and varying uses to add some variety to your workouts. Since researching and incorporating resistance bands into my exercise routine I have realized how many possibilities there are in this type workout. Resistance bands are great pieces of exercise equipment as there is not much-needed besides the bands for most exercises. This makes resistance bands an extremely cost effective form of exercise. Exercises that can be performed are varying based on the specific resistances of the bands.
Light bands are fantastic for warm up and joint strength exercises and can help you stretch very effectively. The mid range bands are really great for learning pull ups which are one of the most dreaded exercises for new people working out. Heavy bands are going to allow you to add a greater amount of resistance to larger muscle groups. Those heavy bands are most effective with compound exercises like dead lifts and squats. In addition, if you are a bigger person just getting into exercising, light bands are exceptional for initially training your muscles for other exercises and heavy bands are going to greatly help with pull ups. Now let’s get into some key points of why bands can be so useful.
Little to No Equipment
Resistance bands have varying weight resistances allowing you to have multiple sets of bands for different exercises. Some muscle groups can lift much more weight than others so having varying band resistances will allow you to better work more muscle groups with only one type of equipment. The only piece of equipment you may need is something to wrap the band around in order to do some leg exercises for example.
Portability is another reason to get bands over other equipment. You can have 5 to 10 bands and carry them in a backpack with your water bottle, workout clothes or other items and take them wherever you want. If you wanted to take them to the gym and include them in your free weight or machine workouts you can easily do that since they are so lightweight and small. When buying bands, they are conveniently color coordinated to show varying resistances at a glance, for example, the red bands having the least resistance and the blue having the greatest resistance (colors may vary by manufacturer).
Cost Effective Exercising
Cost can be an extremely important part of exercising for a number of reasons. If you can’t afford to do to a public gym, or you just do not want to workout in a public place then resistance bands can be your exercise saviors. There are a couple variations on exercise bands. Smaller bands are good for lower body exercises and larger bands are more for upper body exercises and both of them are fairly cheap ranging from $10 to $50 on average. I absolutely recommend even the cheaper bands for times when I can’t get to the gym and I get more than my moneys worth.
Resistance Bands VS Free weights
Resistance bands can be used in place of free weights and can give you a bit of a different workout. Many people think exercise bands are too easy but you can make band exercises harder by using 2 bands at the same time if you need more resistance for a typically heavy exercise. Resistance bands have a variable resistance meaning that the band gives more resistance the more you pull on them whereas you lift a free weight and it weighs the same the whole time giving you a constant resistance. Free weights give a vertical resistance as gravity pulls down on them where resistance bands can resist from a horizontal axis if you attach them to a fixed point allowing you to, for example, work your chest muscles from a standing position instead of laying on a bench horizontally.
This will also increase the muscles time under tension which is very important for muscle growth. With most exercises, as you get to the top of the motion, the weight is not very heavy and if you do a free weight bicep curl, you can hold the weight at the very top of the rep for quite some time compared to the middle of the rep. This is not the case with bands. As I mentioned a moment ago, bands increase resistance the farther they stretch which means you get the muscles time under tension is increased and you can build more muscle over time. I believe slow negatives are also very important for many exercises. This means slowly releasing each rep on the way down which increases your targeted muscles tension for a longer period.
Momentum reps are reps that you had to use momentum to initiate which usually means the weight is too heavy. So if you’re doing a bicep curl but have to swing your body to begin to lift the weight, you’re not getting the full muscle tension you would with a lighter weight. Bands can eliminate this entirely providing constant tension over time allowing you gain more muscle and push yourself farther than you thought resistance bands could. Resistance bands also work out smaller muscle groups which often support larger muscle groups allowing for better training on machines or free weights. So bands can also complement other workouts.
Band Exercise Examples
- Band pull apart – Work mid back muscles and shoulders
- Band pull through – Gluteus and lower back workout
- Standing band corkscrews- Obliques
- Band face pulls- Traps, rear deltoids
- Overhead band extensions- Triceps
- Band shoulder press- Shoulders
- Band push ups- Chest
- Band front squats- Gluteus and legs
- Band rows- Upper back
So with resistance bands exercises you can work out almost any muscle you usually workout with free weights or machines. You can buy different bands with varying resistance thresholds, this gives you a ton of exercise variety for only a single piece of workout gear which will save you money in the long run and are very easy to transport. Bands can also compliment other machine and free weight exercises by working out smaller muscle groups that don’t get as much time under tension. I’ve included a short list of resistance bands exercises above to show examples of the different muscles you can work out. Ultimately, whether you are just warming up and stretching, or pushing your muscles to the max with many reps, resistance bands are a great alternative workout. Now get out there and try something new!