In this article, we go over the different types of resistance bands (and which is best), the benefits of resistance bands, and the many ways for how to use resistance bands.
Are you looking into purchasing a set of resistance bands and you are wondering "what are the benefits of resistance bands?"
Do you already have a set of bands and you want to know how you can use them in your training regiment?
Great news. You’ve landed in the right place. We've got answers and we've got examples.
Whether you are interested in purchasing resistance bands or you already have them, you on the right track, because resistance bands offer numerous benefits and they can be used in so many ways.
We are going to break down all of the resistance band benefits and how they can be applied to your overall fitness training AND we are going to show you videos of people using resistance bands for each of the intended applications.
But first, let’s quickly talk about the different types of resistance bands and which one is our favorite.
There are a few types of resistance bands on the market. You have the heavy duty loop resistance bands, aka pull up assist bands.
You have light therapy bands. It’s a long, very light-resistance band.
There are tube resistance bands, which come with handles attached.
And, you have mini hip circle bands.
Our favorite and the most commonly used resistance bands are the loop resistance (pull up assist) bands. They are typically 41 inches in length and they range from .25 to 3.25 inches in width. The .25 has the least resistance.
We usually recommend people get a .5”, .85-1”, and a 1.15-1.25” band to start, as that is really all you need. The resistance bands with greater resistance (more width) will be harder to use and they require a little more understanding, not to mention, strength, for proper implementation. The sizes we recommended will be the most versatile and they can be used in all the ways that therapy bands and tube resistance bands can, plus more.
All in all, the loop resistance bands are the most versatile and will give you the best bang for your buck. We also love the hip circle mini-bands, as they can be used in some unique ways.
For the sake of keeping this article straightforward, we will be discussing the benefits of the heavy duty (multi-layer) loop resistance bands, as pictured below.
Warming up before working out is essential. Not only do you need to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing, but you also need to grease your joints and improve your mobility. Dynamic stretches (movements with short stretches of 1-5 seconds) using resistance bands are perfect for accomplishing this.
You can use the bands to create light resistance and move through similar exercises that you will be performing during the intense portion of your workout.
For example, if you plan on doing military shoulder press, you can do some band presses during your warm up. Furthermore, you can use a resistance band to improve your mobility for when it’s time to perform the military press with an Olympic bar.
There are tons of exercises and dynamic stretches that you can do with bands. Essentially every joint can be worked and every exercise that you do with weights can be replicated to prepare you for your workout.
Cooling down and stretching after a workout is just as important as warming up. Resistance bands are extremely versatile, so they can be used here as well. During the cool down, you should be performing static stretches, where you hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds. This will help increase your flexibility and range of motion.
You might be wondering what’s the difference between mobility and flexibility. Flexibility refers to the range of motion around a joint. Mobility refers to the ability to move fluidly without inducing any physical impediment.
The bands can help you get a deeper stretch. They can also help you stretch from certain positions that you’d otherwise have troubles with. Furthermore, they can also help you maintain proper stretching form.6 RESISTANCE BAND STRETCHING AND MOBILITY EXERCISES
Resistance bands are great for rehabilitation from an injury in two ways.
First, you can use them to strengthen your movements in the same manner as weightlifting, but without the pressure on the joints and spine. They are much easier on your joints, thus people with injuries can regain strength without any risk.
Secondly, people with limited flexibility caused by an injury can use bands to regain normalcy in their range of motion. As mentioned above, in the first benefit, resistance bands can allow you to get a deeper stretch, especially for larger muscle groups like the legs and back. So, resistance bands can aid recovery and improve flexibility.
In terms of prehabilitation, by using bands in the same manner you can prevent injuries. Resistance bands are great for warming up the joints and creating the necessary mobility in a movement, which will decrease your chance of injury. You can also work stabilizer muscles and joints to strengthen them.
For instance, if you have cranking shoulders or an issue with your rotator cuff, but it’s not a full blown injury, you can make sure to mobilize that joint and strengthen it in its normal range of motion/hypermobile position to make sure you are good to go when it’s time for heavier weights, and intense activities like throwing a football during game time.7 ROTATOR CUFF RESISTANCE BAND EXERCISES FOR SHOULDER REHAB & STRENGTH
This is a multi-part benefit. First, bands are a great alternative to weight training as you can get a full body workout in. Second, they offer lower impact and pressure on the joints. Third, they are cost effective, space efficient, and portable. These three things go hand in hand, so we crunched them all into one big benefit.
Full Body Workout
Resistance bands come in a variety of sizes, thus resistance levels. If all you had were resistance bands, you could get in a serious workout, day in and day out, with just the bands. You can target every muscle group, and coupled with bodyweight training, it’s truly all you need to stay fit. Every movement that you do with weights can be replicated using the heavy duty loop bands. Plus, you can do tons of explosive exercises as well like resisted bear crawls, resisted sprints, resisted box jumps, resisted push-ups, and much more. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
For anyone who wants lower impact and less tension on the joints during their workouts, this is a good option. Beginners to advanced level athletes can all benefit from resistance band training in this way. Furthermore, if looking sexy is your thing, hypertrophy is most definitely achievable with just resistance bands.
Portable and cheap
You can get a workout in anywhere you want. You can take them anywhere you want. And you can get all the bands you need for under $100 (less if buying from SET FOR SET). This is easily the lowest cost for entry point into full body resistance training. The best part is, they are super effective.
Resistance bands are fantastic tools to assist you with bodyweight movements like pull-ups, dips and push-ups, and many other calisthenics movements.
The great thing is that you can slowly increase the difficulty (provide less assistance) by using smaller (thinner) bands over time.
And, bands aren’t just good for beginner exercises like pull ups, they can be used to help people learn how to do muscle ups, front levers, back levers, human flag, etc. So, bands can be employed for beginner to advanced calisthenics movements.
Relating to calisthenics training, people who take calisthenics seriously can benefit from resistance band’s mobility exercises too. Calisthenics can be tough on the joints. Those who solely train calisthenics spend a lot of time warming up and working on flexibility and mobility. A band is their best friend through all of this...along with their best calisthenic buddies, of course.
By combining resistance bands with traditional lifts like squats, bench press and deadlifts, you can make the lifts much more challenging and completely change the dynamics.
There are a few benefits to note that come with adding bands to lifts.
Firstly, bands will add resistance through your entire lift. Normally when you are lifting weights, during the lockout phase and during the eccentric phase of the lift (the negative), your tension and power output decreases. With bands, you will be fighting more than just gravity. So, during all phases of the lift, there will be greater tension.
Secondly, bands will increase your muscle stabilization. By strapping weights to bands and placing them on both sides of an olympic bar, your body will need to fight to remain stable. It’ll be like an earthquake hit during a normal lift when you use bands this way.
Thirdly, they can help you increase explosion. Athletes like powerlifters use bands during lifts like box squats to help them become more explosive when it comes time for standard squats in competition.
Resistance bands are not only versatile in their benefits and implementations, but they are also versatile in terms of different exercises that can be done. With bands, you can hit all three planes of motion - sagittal, frontal and transverse.
Our favorite plane of motion to hit with bands is the transverse plane. You can work the transverse plane incredibly well, which is something many people neglect. The transverse plane is one of the most important planes of motion for real-world advantage, as we often twist and turn, and accelerate and decelerate. Rotational and anti-rotational power is super important for sports as well, as you can imagine. Having the necessary strength and stability in the transverse plane will not only make us more powerful, but it will also help us prevent injuries caused by movements through transverse plane, which are one of the most common types of injuries in sports.
Resistance bands adapt well to all fitness levels. Bands have become vital components of pro-athletes training. There’s a good reason for that. They are tremendously beneficial in numerous ways.
Every fitness enthusiast should have a set of resistance bands. They are a must-have tool that belongs in everyone’s gym/workout bag. After all, you can use them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Let us know in the comments below if you think of any other benefits of using resistance bands that we may have missed in this article.
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