Resistance bands are everywhere these days - In the gym, on Instagram, Youtube, at your friend's house. Even your grandma probably has a set of bands. However, you may be wondering, "What exactly are the benefits of resistance bands?" Well, this post will tell you everything you need to know.
And for those who already have a set of resistance bands, the information below will also give you some insight into how you can use resistance bands to their full potential.
But first, we need to know which resistance bands to buy...as certain types of resistance bands offer more benefits than others...
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. Long, very light-resistance bands (not a closed loop).
There are tube resistance bands, which come with handles attached.
And, you have mini hip circle bands.
There are other types of bands, but the above are the most common and versatile.
The best resistance bands you can buy are the heavy duty loop resistance bands. Loop resistance bands are by far the most versatile. You can use them for warm up, workout, and stretching. The other types of bands have more specific uses, while the loop bands can be used in the same ways plus more. We will go into all of their uses further below.
We also think resistance tubes with handles are effective. But, again, you can do all the same things with loop bands, plus more. We went in-depth on loop resistance bands vs resistance tubes with handles in another blog post...
Loop Resistance Band Sizes:
Loop resistance bands are 41 inches in length, 0.18" in thickness, and they range from 0.25 to 3.25 inches in width. The 0.25 inch loop resistance band has the least resistance. The wider it is, the more resistance (or assistance, depending on how you are using them) it provides.
We recommend people get a 0.5”, .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.
This has all the information you need on "what size resistance band should I buy?"
But, if you still aren't sure yet whether you want to buy loop resistance bands, keep reading to learn about the benefits and uses. We are now about to discuss what you came here for...
The following list of benefits and uses is not exhaustive, but these are the main points of what resistance bands can do...
Warming up before working out is essential. It helps prevents injuries and primes you for your workout.
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 (range of motion).
Dynamic stretches (movements with short stretches of 1-5 seconds) using resistance bands is the perfect way to accomplish this.
To get your blood flowing and your muscles ready for a tough workout. You can use a light resistance band (0.5 inch loop resistance band) to create light resistance moving through similar exercises that you will do during your workout.
For example, if you plan on doing military shoulder press, you can do some band presses during your warm up.
As for mobility, you want to make sure you get your range of motion where it needs to be before working out. To do this, you can use a resistance band to mobilize the joints you will be using during your workout.
There are tons of exercises and dynamic mobility 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. It helps regulate blood flow, reduce soreness, and prevent injuries.
Loop resistance bands can be used here very effectively 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 as well, as after a workout, your body and muscles can get tight.
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. Flexibility requires static stretches (hold a stretch for 20+ seconds), while mobility can be done with short (2-5 seconds) dynamic stretches.
While you could do stretches without resistance bands, loop 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.
Resistance bands are great for rehabilitation after an injury in three ways.
First, you can use them to strengthen your movements in the same manner as weightlifting, but without all the pressure on your joints and spine. They are much easier on your joints and less taxing, 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.
Third, resistance bands recruit stabilizer muscles extremely well, due to their unsteady, elastic nature. They also provide more eccentric contraction, which is great for joint stability. This will get your small stabilizer complexes (the small muscles around your joints) strengthened back to what they were pre-injury.
In terms of prehabilitation, the same three aspects for what makes bands great for rehabilitation makes them great for preventing injuries. By keeping the joints and spine safe and strong and improving your range of motion, you can greatly decrease your chance of injury!
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.
Resistance bands are a great alternative to weight training as you can replicate pretty much all the same exercises you do with barbells and dumbbells...just as effectively, but less taxing!
With resistance bands, you can target specific muscle groups or do full body workouts using compound movements and explosive exercises. Here are some examples so you can see:
More on working out with resistance bands...
Resistance bands come in a variety of sizes, thus resistance levels. If all you had a set of resistance bands, you could get a serious workout in, day in and day out, just using 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, that way you can burn tons of fat and get ripped. The possibilities are virtually limitless with bands.
Bands are Safer (key Point for those with past injuries, seniors, and anyone who cares about longevity)
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.
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 of these bodyweight movements by using lighter resistance level bands over time, as they will provide less and less assistance.
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 a must have for bodyweight and calisthenics enthusiasts.
By combining resistance bands with traditional lifts like squats, bench press and deadlifts, you can make the lifts much more challenging, while completely changing the dynamics.
There are a few benefits to note that come with adding bands to barbell and dumbbell 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.
Every fitness enthusiast should have a set of resistance bands. They are a must-have tool that belongs in everyone’s home, gym, and workout bag. After all, you can use them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. thanks to their array of uses.
Resistance bands adapt well to all fitness levels. There isn't a person who wouldn't find resistance bands useful. That's why you see them everywhere these days...
Especially with athletes. They have become a vital component of pro-athletes training. They help train key aspects need for athletics, like injury resilience, explosiveness, mobility, and more.
See how pro athletes like Lebron James are using resistance bands
Bands are also fantastic for seniors, pregnant women, and fitness beginners, as they are easy to use/learn and they are far less risky - high reward, low risk...unlike weightlifting, which is higher reward, yet HIGH risk.
Bands are Portable and Very Affordable
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 tool that has tons of uses. The best part is, they are super effective.
Still aren't sure if you should choose SET FOR SET's loop resistance bands? Here's why our resistance bands are the best.
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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