About Exercise Bands

This page is all about Exercise Bands.  You will learn about what type of resistance they provide, how to set them up, and can try out a beginner , intermediate, or advanced workout, depending on your level of fitness.  Exercise bands are an excellent training tool weather you are at the gym, in your living room or backyard or in a hotel room. They can provide as much benefit in strength gains as those achieved on expensive and cumbersome weight training equipment. Exercise bands are inexpensive and easy to transport and have many uses and benefits, no matter what your goals are. They are also great for a beginner, yet can still provide a really effective tough workout for even a seasoned fitness buff or competitive athlete.

Bands come in different colors corresponding to different difficultly levels. The thicker the band, the more resistance it will provide.  Exercise Bands can wear out and care most be taken to inspect bands regularly and avoid objects that can cause damage or increased wear.  I recommend getting at least two different resistances of Exercise Bands.  Start with an Easy/moderate or moderate/heavy depending on your fitness level.  I also recommend getting ones that have a protective sheath on them that keeps the bands from wearing out as fast and prevents them from snapping back at you if they happen to wear out and break during use. There are links to these in the recommended products section.

Exercise bands provide elastic resistance during movements.  Elastic Resistance is a unique element to training with exercise bands. As elastic stretches, resistance increases.  This is different than traditional weight training or the other modes of body-weight training, which relay on gravity. It can be a great way to spice up a fitness routine and throw something new at your muscles.

Adjusting the Level of Difficultly 

To increase, or decrease the difficulty level exercises using exercise bands, apply the following:

  • Change the thickness of the band
  • Increase distance from the anchor
  • Increase speed of the movement
  • Add complexity to the movement(i.e. do a chest press at the same time as a lunge or squat)
  • Decrease the stability(perform on single leg or unstable surface)
  • Decrease the rest time between sets

Many exercises can be performed with just a single exercise band. This makes is a very inexpensive and user friendly entry point for a beginner exerciser.  It also makes it easy to keep up with a workout routine while traveling, or even in an office.  you can strengthen specific muscles, train specific movement patterns, or be do flexibility and balance exercises. The band can also doulble as a stretch band.

Exercise bands are not limited to a single plane of motion.  Whole body, and sport specific movements such as throwing, lifting, rotational movements, running can be replicated using elastic resistance. Varying the movements, number of repetitions, pace of exercise and level of resistance, a strength program using bands can be tailored for weight loss, toning, strengthening, or sport specific training.  For example, using a higher resistance with fewer repetitions is more effective for increasing muscle size and strength, and using lower resistance with a higher number of reps or movements the involve multiple muscle groups or more effective for fat burning and increases muscular endurance.  Although not essential, accessories and attachments for the bands or tubing can increase the number of possible exercises even further.

Form

It is important to maintain good overall body posture during the movements when using exercise bands. Even during isolation exercises, maintaining good posture of the lower back and hips will ensure a stable base and allow the correct muscles to perform the work. The exercises in the standing position will involve the core stabilizers and help improve balance.

Maintain a solid athletic position with shoulders back, core slightly contracted, knees soft (not locked) and wrist in neutral position.  Keeping an athletic posture promotes overall body stability, posture and improves activation of the core.  Use a resistance that allows completion of the target repetitions without excessive fatigue or breakdown in form.

Anchoring Solutions for Exercise Bands

It is strongly advisable to set up your workout spaces with the door closing toward you. This gives a much stronger support for your equipment. You also won’t have to worry about the open not being shut all the way and opening up while you have your weight on the suspension trainer.

  1. Choose a suitable door with enough space for your workout. You will need a good 8-10 feet of clear in front the door.
  2. Place the hard square on the backside of the door mid-way along the top edge, with the nylon strap feeding through the crack to the side facing you (image 2.3). Close the door.
  3. Attach the suspension trainer to the nylon loop. Tug on it once or twice to make sure it’s secure before beginning your workout!

 

Just like with a suspension trainer, outdoor venues offer a variety of options for band attachment. Trees, fences, poles, beams, and playground equipment can provide good anchoring points for your equipment.  I find a standard carabiner that can be found at home depot, or REI(rock climber gear section) is very convenient for band attachments. You can also use a pole or rail as a midpoint anchor for a band, or wrap it around and thread it throw itself as well. Check out the videos in the band workout pages to see how I anchored the band for different movements.  Keep in might you may also want to change the height of the band depending on the movement(see pic to the right).

Workout Plans

To the right are links to full body workouts that can be done with just one or two exercise bands.  Give them a try based on your fitness level, and see what you think!