Anyone who has spent any time in a gym will have seen resistance bands creeping into people’s workouts. I started with a bemused stand-offish opinion towards these giant elastic bands. “It’s a fad, it will pass,” I said to my training partner over the Olympic bar. Then when it didn’t pass, curiosity started to get the better of me. Before long, I was successfully incorporating resistance bands effectively into my workout and found them to be a valuable supplement to my training program.
ADVANTAGES OF USING RESISTANCE BANDS IN YOUR WORKOUT ESSENTIALS
RESISTANCE BANDS AND WEIGHTS COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER
High-quality movements better engage the muscles, however, often with free weights, the higher we load the weights up, the less-quality movement we get. Combining free weights with resistance bands offers both higher resistance movements to build strength and muscle, and lower resistance, freer movements to maximally fatigue the muscle and provide tone and definition.
Keep in mind when you are lifting weights; focus on your form and muscles, not the weights themselves.
I like to use resistance bands in my warmup. They are really low impact and very easy on the joints. They also offer a full range of motion but are much easier to control than dumbbells. It is for these reasons I like to warm up with exercises like X-band walks (glutes), band pull aparts (shoulders) and overhead squats with a resistance band pulled taught above my head.
BUILDING MUSCLE WITH RESISTANCE BANDS
Bands provide sufficient resistance to build muscle too. The resistance offered makes them ideal for high rep finishers after your higher weight sets. Super setting or drop setting bicep curls with resistance band curls, deadlifts with resistance band deadlifts, and single arm rows using a resistance band tied somewhere, are excellent ways to get more volume into your workouts.
Acting as a high-intensity finisher in this way, the resistance band training saturates the muscle with blood flow and increases calorie burn.
INCREASING POWER WITH RESISTANCE BANDS
Resistance bands are also excellent for increasing your power output. You can increase power by performing rapid resistance movements, as quickly as you can with absolute control. Because resistance bands offer more control over their movement, you can use it to perform resistance exercises at a higher velocity.
Band presses for shoulders, band bench presses for chest, and band resisted squats are examples of exercises that can be performed at a high velocity to increase power.
INCREASING SPEED WITH RESISTANCE BANDS
To increase your speed, bands are the absolute best way to train. Running with resistance is almost impossible to recreate any other way. Run sprints with a band around your waist and your partner holding it for a bigger challenge. Band resisted backward movements also set your quads alight.
COOLING DOWN WITH RESISTANCE BANDS
Bands are also good for incorporating into your cool down and stretching routine. Rather than using your hands to provide the resistance in your stretch, you can use a band. It could help you get deeper into a stretch. Using a band for a banded lat stretches, lying hamstring stretches, calf stretches, and hip stretches are great ways to finish your workout.
Resistance bands are there to supplement every part of your workout, no matter what your goals. They are not intended to replace your weight sessions, but to add to them, and the secret to effectively using them is to use them to maximise your existing workout.