Resistance band training is a form of strength training in which the exerciser uses elastic bands to work the muscles. These bands come in the form of a length of rubber tubing with a handle at either end, a flattened circular band that resembles a giant rubberband, and a length of the same flattened band. Resistance band training is considered effective for strengthening all of the body’s major muscle groups as well as convenient, and because they are lightweight and take up so little space, resistance bands are a popular choice in fitness equipment when traveling. Tips for resistance band training include getting a variety of bands for strengthening different muscle groups, paying attention to proper form and technique, and keeping personal goals in mind when designing a workout around resistance bands.
Bands are available in a variety of forms as well as resistance levels, so it can be helpful to purchase several to train the various parts of the body. Small circular bands, also known as mini-bands, can be useful for training the core and lower body. When looped around the knees or ankles, they are considered particularly effective at strengthening the glutes and nearby hip muscles. These bands can be purchased for as little as a few dollars, so it is advisable to pick up several different levels of resistance depending on one’s fitness level. Available for a few more dollars is rubber exercise tubing, which can be used to train the entire body and which is typically sold in 4-foot (1.21951-meter) lengths with a handle at either end. Like mini-bands, tubes are sold in extra-light, light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy resistances.
While resistance band training is considered a relatively safe form of strength training, it is still important to pay attention to technique to ensure the exercises are done correctly and to minimize risk of injury. Since elastic bands place resistance on the muscles throughout the entire range of motion of an exercise, provided that tension on the band is maintained, exercises can be performed at various speeds without relying on momentum to move the muscles. Even so, rushing through resistance-band exercises is not recommended, as one’s muscles should contract eccentrically to control the band as it returns to its resting length rather than allow the band to snap back. Similarly, form should be maintained and controlled just as it should when exercising with dumbbells or other equipment, and therefore ballistic or explosive technique is only recommended for athletes and advanced exercisers performing under supervision.
Another tip for resistance band training is to keep one’s goals in mind when determining exercise selection. If an individual is trying to build mass and strength, he may consider using resistance bands to isolate and fully fatigue individual muscles at the end of a traditional weight-training session. A person who is trying to lose weight and tone up, however, may not want to spend time on isolated resistance band exercises like bicep curls. Instead, that individual might consider utilizing bands to perform compound, full-body movements, like a squat combined with a shoulder press.