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Resistance Bands

A superbly cheap and effective workout accessory that many overlook. Maintain resistance throughout a motion and you get the workout on the concentric and eccentric part of the exercise. Two workouts for the price of one in a way.

In it's simplest form, an easy to use flexible piece of tubing that comes in five different levels of resistance. They stretch like a rubber band, yet provide superb resistance and whilst starting out in the hands of physios are now very much mainstream.

Ultimately you will need a good level of co-ordination as well as some balance in order to perform some of the exercises. But the ability to target specific muscle groups is quite astonishing. What's also unique about resistance bands is that you can increase the tension by moving up a level, or by doubling over the resistance band. Either way you keep complete control.

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buying guides for resistance bands

Resistance Bands Buying Guide

What are Resistance Bands?

Resistance bands are essentially long stretchy strips of rubber which add resistance to your workout. They are used to strengthen muscles, aid flexibility and are a popular aide in Pilates.

What's the Benefits of Resistance Bands?

Low cost

One of the main benefits of resistance bands is that they don’t cost very much and yet can prove to be very effective. So if you want to add resistance to your workouts but don’t have much money to spend they are a great option.

Small and Light

If you travel a lot on business or are going on holiday and still want to work out then resistance bands can be very useful. They fit easily into your bag and don’t weigh very much or take up that much room.

They Work!

One of the reasons why resistance bands work is that they maintain the resistance through every part of the motion. If you use traditional weights there are moments when your muscles will not be worked. To get scientific, with bands both the concentric (lifting part) and eccentric (lowering part) part of the movement offers muscles total resistance.

Concern

What often puts people off from using resistance bands is that the perception is that they are easy and not as difficult as lifting a heavy weight. The key thing to bear in mind is that whilst you can’t see exactly how much weight you are lifting, they are effective and if you use them properly you will feel the benefit.

What's The Difference Between Free Weights & Resistance Bands?

Resistance bands offer constant tension on the muscle during use, in both the concentric and the eccentric phase. Most users of free weights ignore the eccentric phase. The constant tension can be a new challenge for muscles.

Resistance

The key when buying resistance bands is to get the resistance right. By resistance we mean the amount of tension the band offers you. Bands are often categorised as light, medium, heavy and extra heavy resistance. Light resistance bands are good for people who are beginners to fitness or the elderly and usually offer between 3 and 6lbs in resistance.

Medium resistance will usually offer 8 to 10lbs of resistance, heavy resistance bands offer 12lbs plus resistance and extra heavy can offer as much as 16lbs of resistance.

Colours are often used by manufacturers to help you quickly identify which band is which. Popular colours that are used are yellow or pink for light resistance, green or red for medium resistance, purple or blue for heavy and grey or black for extra heavy.

Exercises

The list of exercises you can do with a resistance band is endless. By attaching them to equipment you can easily add tension to your workout. For example take the bench press. If you secure the band under the leg nearest your head, lie on the bench and press up your muscles will experience great resistance. You can use them for skull crushes, tricep extensions, curls and crossovers.

Types of Bands

Bands can either be basic or tube resistance bands

Basic bands

As the title suggests basic bands are wide rubber strips which come in different lengths and resistance. They will add to your workouts and prove to be cost effective.

Tube resistant bands

These are made of rubber or cord and vary in length. The difference between them and the basic model is that many come with door attachments and many have foam or plastic handles which can help prevent sores or blisters on your hands.

What to Look For When Buying Bands?

When buying resistance bands buy a quality product from well-known manufacturers. This way you should avoid them tearing.

In addition try and buy a bundle that allows you to get different resistant levels and lengths, that way you can add variety to your workout. A mix of medium and heavy resistance mean you can progress as you get more confident but also use different resistant levels for different muscle groups.

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