Anyone who has been to physical therapy knows resistance bands are no joke. Those little rubber bands that look so simple can really challenge the best of us. When I was training for my race last year, my trainer recommended I add resistance bands to my routine. Resistance bands, like those found in any physical therapy routine, are made of rubber and come in many different resistance levels. I quickly learned just how effective, dare I say muscles you never knew you had, these little bands can be.
When using resistance bands, you can work any muscle group and build strength. They are great for travel because they are so light and easy to transport. When used correctly and consistently, they can be used to develop muscle strength without the need for heavy weights and dumbbells. If you’ve never tried resistance bands, you may be surprised at how much you can do with them.
Resistance bands do not rely on gravity as free weights do. This means your muscle works throughout all parts of the motion. They are quite cost effective, do not take up any space in your home and are quite portable. Further, they can be used to complete full-body workouts that challenge every muscle group in your body. I generally use them for work on my hips and legs to develop strength for running and can tell you they are no joke. The trick is to get the right resistance for your current fitness level.
The resistance bands I purchased were color coded. Others available are made in different thickness, with the thicker bands having the greater resistance. The easiest test is to see how you feel when you use them. If you are able to complete the set and not feel anything, they are too light. If you can’t complete the full range of motion, they are too strong. Use trial and error in conjunction with how your body feels to get the right resistance. Once you feel you have it right continue increasing the resistance as you get stronger. I have mine a year and have gone up only two levels, so there is no rush.
Here is the band set I purchased for around $13.00:
Here’s my coach doing the first short workout (7 minutes) with the bands.
There’s a ton of free videos available online to get started. I hope you give these bands a try, you won’t be disappointed. Let me know if you currently use resistance bands and how they’ve helped you develop strength.