Resistance bands are in the spotlight on every social media platform, especially for fitness enthusiasts. They are marketed as easily portable and equally effective as any other tool.
Claims are also made that they are equally effective as bodyweight exercises or even more. Maybe you have seen lifters in the gym performing exercises using resistance bands. Also, you may have seen people buying a resistance band while recovering from some injury. Seems like it’s a great accessory that you ought to buy to achieve your fitness goals.
But, do they work or is it just another fitness gimmick? Let’s uncover the mystery behind this trending yet controversial gym accessory. Let’s also look at how you can incorporate resistance band exercises into your routine.
1. Are these Bands Effective?
The resistance band, according to some, is the ultimate hack to build muscles. They say that you can substitute resistance bands for any load. However, a conventional resistance training band is not that effective for muscle hypertrophy. Even if you take the one with high resistance, it only does too much. It becomes increasingly difficult to get a hypertrophic muscle response as you progress further. But undermining resistance bands is not good either. If incorporated smartly, it could make exercising more effective for you. An absolute beginner can benefit from resistance bands the most.
2. A Guide to Utilize Resistance Bands Effectively
There’s no doubt that resistance bands are versatile tools. They can be used in many ways in your strength training regime. It’s also important to use them effectively in order to utilize them up to their potential. Let’s look at a guide for the optimum usage of resistance bands.
2.1 Warming Up
A key ritual before lifting weights is warming up your body to handle heavy loads. Well, resistance bands are the perfect accessory for that. It can be utilized for a light warmup for your muscles.
- Shoulder Joints: Open up your shoulder joints by performing internal rotation and external rotation with a resistance band. This can be done before a chest day or a shoulder day. Shoulder circles are an effective warm-up too. Grab the resistance bands from the ends with your hands. Raise the arms and stretch them towards your sides. Move your arms back and forward while maintaining tension.
- Quads and Hip Joints: Resistance bands are the best when it comes to warming up your glutes, hamstrings, and quads before a leg day. Fix the band around your knees and squat down very slowly. After two to three reps, you will feel a burning sensation in your quads and glutes. This helps you warm up for the weighted squats. Standing kickbacks are another type of warm-up. Fix the band between your shins and stand facing a solid object. Now with one leg on the ground, take the other leg backwards. You will feel tension in your glutes. Perform this with the other leg too. This helps your glutes to warm up effectively.
- Back and Biceps: Resistance bands could also be used to warm up your back and biceps. Face pulls are excellent warmups for your back. Fix the resistance band to a solid support. Grab the ends of the band and pull them towards your face. For biceps, perform bicep curls with a resistance band.
- Chest muscle: Banded pushups and banded chest presses are two of the best resistance band warmups for warming up the chest.
Not everyone has the precious time to go to the gym. For them, the resistance bands are very useful. The portability of the resistance bands is its plus point. You can carry it anywhere.
It’s a great option for someone who only has time to do bodyweight exercises. For one, it will provide added resistance to the bodyweight exercises. This added resistance would help a person to progressive overload. So, muscle definition can be achieved by using resistance bands. You won’t put on massive amounts of muscles as you would with dumbbells or barbells.
Also, various exercises like chest presses or rows can be performed with resistance bands too. They can be substituted for dumbbells and barbells in every free-weight exercise out there.
2.3 Recovering from Injuries
Resistance bands were originally made to be used in rehab for injuries. When people injure themselves, they generally lose a lot of strength. Even holding a cup is very challenging for them. So, resistance bands aid in slowly building up the strength to do normal tasks again for them. The constant resistance provided by the resistance bands builds strength pain-free.
3. Types of Resistance Bands
There are different types of resistance bands out there in the market. Increased demands have led to companies manufacturing different types of bands. These can be used for different exercises. However, in most cases, a basic resistance band is enough. But those of you who like to try different equipment can use various types of resistance bands. These are all listed below.
3.1 Loop Bands
These are small thin bands often used for leg workouts. They usually have more surface area than the normal band. They come in different colors. Usually, these colors represent the amount of resistance provided by the bands. You can buy a band according to what resistance you want. If you want to intensify your workouts, go for heavy resistance bands. Medium resistance bands are best for the majority of people.
3.2 Tube Bands
These bands are generally in the form of hollow tubes made with rubber. These bands usually have bands at both ends. They come with interchangeable resistance tubes. One can increase the resistance by interchanging with heavy resistance tubes. The handles allow it to be used as a dumbbell. Hence, they are useful for performing exercises like bicep curls and rows for back muscles. You can also use it to perform chest presses as you would do with a dumbbell.
3.3 Super Bands
As the name suggests, these bands provide high resistance. These are the bands that probably come the closest to replacing free weights with resistance bands. They are thick bands that can be used to substitute for compound lifts like squats and deadlifts. If you want to amplify your resistance band game, go and invest in these bands. It would surely increase the intensity of your home workouts.
3.4 8-Figure Bands
It’s a new kind of band in the market. They generally help in performing upper-body workouts. You can specifically target your arms, shoulders, and back using these. They are shaped in the form of an eight, hence the name. They have loops at the end that are used as handles. You can do lateral raises and triceps extensions with these bands.
3.5 Therapeutic Bands
These bands are used in rehabilitation after an injury. The bands are thin, long, and have a substantial width. These have the lowest resistance among the other bands. The light resistance allows a person with an injury to slowly strengthen their muscles. They can also be utilized by absolute beginners to build some strength.
4. How Effective Are Resistance Band Workouts?
Well, despite providing resistance, you can’t build lots of muscles with resistance bands. Surely, if you are a beginner, you would build muscles using them. But you can also build these muscles without them just by doing bodyweight exercises. A beginner would build muscles irrespective of what exercises they do.
However, once you are over with newbie strength gains, you ought to amplify the resistance you provide your body with. Surely, you can use many high-resistance bands to mimic the use of free weights.
It would help you to build a little bit more muscle but that’s it. If you continue to do exercises with resistance bands, you will increase the muscle definition but not the size. If incorporated smartly, resistance bands are a big boon for your strength training or daily life in general.
Lastly, there are many benefits to using resistance bands. You could use it for stretching, warming up, and recovering from an injury too. So, one should not only look at the muscle-building benefits of resistance bands. A resistance band can be used as an excellent accessory for your workouts. The effectiveness of an accessory is not just judged by its benefits for a specific reason. If it improves your overall performance, it is worth adding to your training regime.