The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage at least two 20-minute strength training sessions each week. Strength training builds lean muscle mass, which in turn boosts endurance, strength and metabolism. That means more calories burned, even while you’re sitting still! It also builds toned and defined muscles. Using resistance bands is a great alternative to weights or yoga and should definitely have a place in your workout routine. Here are some easy ways to make them work for you.
1. Start with an Easy Resistance Instead of Going All out Right Away
Just like with dumbbells or kettlebells, you don’t want to go all out with your resistance bands. You want to start slow and low so that you can gain confidence and hone your technique. You want bands that allow you to complete a full set of repetitions without affecting your form. Talk to your doctor about the right starting point for you.
2. The Bands Allow for a Larger Range of Motion
When you use resistance bands, you have a free range of motion that makes it somewhat easier to complete moves. At the same time, you get more of a benefit because you must use additional muscles when using resistance bands. Muscles that you don’t always use when you’re using traditional weights, in other words.
3. If You’re New to Exercise, You Have a Reduced Risk of Injury
Resistance bands are great for people who are new to strength training because they pose less of a risk of injury that dumbbells or kettlebells. This is because there is less momentum when you use resistance bands. It’s really hard to whack yourself in the forehead with a resistance band. However, I’ve done that with a kettlebell, so learn a lesson from me.
4. Resistance Bands Are Ideal if You Have a Small Home or Travel a Lot
Unlike many kinds of exercise equipment, resistance bands only take up a tiny space and can be stowed virtually anywhere. If you have a small apartment, you can easily keep some bands in a kitchen drawer or in your entertainment center. If you’re a world traveler, either for work or for fun, you can stash your bands in any size suitcase so that you have a ready-made exercise plan, no matter where you are.
5. You Can Target Just about Any Muscle Group
Resistance bands are equal opportunity pieces of exercise equipment. They can be used to build and tone any muscle group. That includes arms, core, back, shoulders and legs. There are moves you can incorporate into any workout routine, depending on what your problem areas are or where you want to build muscle.
6. There Are a Couple Types of Bands to Choose from
When the resistance band trend started, the bands were generally just colored strips of rubber. Now you can find them with handles to make it easier to anchor and use the bands. The type you choose doesn’t really matter as they both work the same. It depends on what you are most comfortable with.
7. You Can Move to Other Bands as You Get Stronger
Just like with dumbbells, as you develop your routine and start to see results, you can work your way into stronger bands that keep your progress on track. You’ll know it’s time to move up when your current bands are too easy to use and you stop seeing your progress move forward.
Have you ever used resistance bands? Will you try them now that you’ve read this? What other tips can you share?