What is Resistance Tubing?

Koren Allen

Resistance tubing, also called resistance bands or exercise bands, are an easy and effective way to add strength training to your workout routine. They are lightweight, flexible tubes that stretch much like a rubber band, but are more durable. Resistance tubes were first used by physical therapists to build strength gently for patients recovering from injuries or surgeries, but now they are readily available to the public online or at sports and discount stores. They are available in different resistance levels, which provide more or less resistance depending on your fitness level. Latex-free varieties are available for those with latex allergies.

Exercise bands stretch -- like giant rubber bands -- to provide resistance when used for working out.
Exercise bands stretch -- like giant rubber bands -- to provide resistance when used for working out.

Strength training in general tones your muscles by making them work against resistance, whether lifting weights, working against resistance provided by an exercise machine, or working against the elastic in your resistance tubes. Stronger muscles make you look and feel younger, as well as help protect your joints and prevent injuries. Muscles burn calories even when they're not working, so adding muscle can help you burn off fat more efficiently and may result in weight loss. Resistance training has the added benefit of putting mild stress on your bones, which increases their density and can help ward off some of the injuries associated with aging.

Resistance tubing offers many benefits over other forms of strength training. The bands are small and lightweight, which makes them easy to carry with you when you're traveling. They take up very little space, so you can keep a set in your desk for a quick workout session at the office. Most exercises that you can do with weights or exercise machines can also be performed using resistance tubes. Additionally, resistance tubing provides resistance during both the flexion and extension phase of each movement, so it works the muscle twice as hard as other methods, in the same amount of time. They also save you time by eliminating the need to drive to the gym and wait to use the equipment.

Exercise bands are available in a wide range of resistance levels. Most companies offer at least three levels, but some manufacturers make resistance bands in as many as ten levels, which means you can customize your workout to your own level of fitness, and move up as you get stronger. Bands often come with handles, and some varieties have removable handles so that you can attach them to tubes with different resistance levels for different exercises. Other accessories available include a shoulder bar, which gives you a workout similar to traditional weightlifting, and special attachments so that you can anchor your band to a door or to your existing exercise equipment for a more varied workout routine.

When you purchase resistance tubing, a workout routine is usually included. Other workout routines using bands are available wherever you purchase exercise videos, and there are several routines available for free on the internet. With so much variety, resistance tube workouts need never get boring. If you are just beginning a workout routine, always check with your doctor before you begin, and make sure you give your muscles time to heal between workouts.

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