Whether you’re in the home, at the office or on-the-go, there’s no question that resistance bands are the best there is when it comes to sneaking in quick and easy strength training workouts.
What are they?
Generally made of rubber or another super-stretchy material, exercise bands often look a lot like jump ropes, but instead of using them to skip you use them to add resistance to muscle toning movements.
How do they work?
When doing chest presses, bicep curls, kickbacks or even squats, exercise bands make the movements more challenging, which helps build muscle and burn fat.
To increase the difficulty of a resistance band exercise, one only needs to double the band over or choose a stronger band rather than struggle to lift heavier dumbbells or barbells.
find resistance bands in our fitness store
Resistance bands come in all shapes and sizes. Basic bands are nothing more than wide strips or rubber cut into varying lengths.
Tube resistance bands are made of rubber or cord in different sizes. Tube handles can be made of hard plastic or soft foam, the latter of which is a good choice good for women whose hands get sore easily.
Some resistance tubes have interchangeable attachments that may include cuffs, door attachments and handles.
It’s a good idea to purchase exercise bands in several resistance levels, as different exercises will require different band strengths. Many companies color-code their bands so it’s easy to tell them apart.
Most bands will be close to the categories listed below, but it’s a good idea to find out what exactly each manufacturer considers to be light, medium, etc.
- Light bands - These bands are for beginners and provide weighted resistance of about 3 to 5 lbs.
- Medium bands - For beginners, these bands are often the equivalent of 8 lbs and up.
- Heavy bands - Resistance of 12 lbs and up is ideal for active women.
- Extra-heavy bands - With many of these bands boasting over 16 lbs of resistance, these bands are a good choice for those with experience and strength.
Some well-known resistance band manufacturers, such as Nike, sell higher priced bands with a few bells and whistles like curved or ergonomic handles. They also claim to manufacture much stronger tubing.
Other companies give buyers a wide variety of choices. SPRI sells a number of band shapes and sizes, including a figure 8 and ring. Billy Blanks bands have handles with removable weights.
With some brands you’ll be paying more for the name. If the price is higher make sure you’re getting something more than just a basic band with a logo stamped on it.
Resistance bands are almost always reasonably priced. Individual bands can be purchased for between $5 and $15, while starter kits that include several bands, instructional manuals or videos can cost between $20 and $50.
Do they work?
If you can believe Prevention magazine, and it’s not hard to go out on a limb and say you can, resistance bands are the number one way for women to lose inches while toning and strengthening their muscles.
The main reason exercise bands are number one? Portability. The bands are small, weigh next-to-nothing and can be used almost anywhere, which makes it a lot more likely that you will find the time to use them.
- Strength training
Common user mistakes
Resistance bands are so strong they seem unbreakable, but don’t let that fool you. If you stretch a band too far it will snap. If a band doesn’t have enough resistance, buy a stronger one instead of stretching yours past its limit.