When you want to add a strength training component to your workouts, you are not limited to using weight machines or free weights. You also have the option of using resistance bands, which offer convenience and versatility for your workouts.
These bands give you a lot of options, so you can work out however you want to and make exercising more fun. They are suitable for different fitness levels, making it easy to get started with strength training or to switch up a stale routine.
A Versatile Workout Tool
When you use resistance bands, you are able to adapt your workout to fit your fitness level and goals. These bands come in a variety of resistance levels and styles. If you are a beginner, you can start with a light band and work your way up to the heavier resistance levels. If you already have a fair amount of strength, start with an intermediate level and work your way up.
It is helpful to have a whole set of varying resistance levels so you can alternate between the different ones. This way, you have the flexibility to switch the band strength depending on the exercise you are performing and the part of your body you are using. For example, you will generally use more resistance for leg movements than you would for arm movements. In addition, you can change the resistance by folding the band, using more than one band at once or adjusting the amount of slack you give the band.
The bands tend to come in different colors based on each resistance level. If you have a whole set, the color coordination helps you easily determine which one you need for each muscle group or workout. Resistance bands also come in different styles, including flat bands and a tube style. Choose a style based on how you'll use the bands. For example, flat bands are more comfortable when you wrap them around your legs. Some resistance bands come with handles, so you can wrap the band around your foot or a fixture in your home and hold the handles. Others come with hooks so you can create a loop.
Bands Compared to Free Weights and Machines
Free weights and weight machines provide limited options as to the exercises you can perform with each one. You need to use a bunch of different machines for a full-body workout and there are many muscles you can't target with free weights.
Unlike those options, one resistance band gives you the flexibility of performing a multitude of exercises. You can use the same band to work out your arms, legs, core and other muscles. An article in Men's Health magazine notes that you can do hundreds of exercises with a single resistance band. Bands are also safer than the other options, especially when you work out by yourself at home.
Nonetheless, you will get the most effective strength training results if you alternate between the bands, free weights and machines. This method will keep your body from getting too used to one type of movement. Also, switching helps you stay excited and motivated.
Working Out With Resistance Bands
Resistance bands add strength to a variety of muscle groups throughout your body. You can use them to target specific spots or to gain a full-body workout. Feel free to use bands to perform many of the same exercises you would do with free weights or a machine, such as biceps curls. But with these bands, you can go beyond these exercises with more possible movements available to you. If you need inspiration, check out online articles or videos, or take a local class that incorporates bands.
By pushing or pulling against the resistance the bands provide, you workout your muscles and increase their strength. A GaiamLife article explains that these bands engage your muscles the most as you end the movement of each exercise. This is different than if you were using free weights, which work your muscles the hardest at the start of each movement. In addition, a Men's Health magazine article notes that bands keep tension going during a whole movement, which is different from free weights. This can help you boost your muscles.
These bands are often used in physical therapy settings as well as in the fitness world. They can help people recover from injuries and slowly gain strength again.
Health Benefits of Resistance Training
Resistance bands provide the same benefits of other types of strength training. By increasing your muscles, you can lose or maintain weight and increase bone strength to combat osteoporosis. You can maintain muscle mass that people gradually lose as they age, and you can achieve improved physical fitness.
In addition, a study in the Current Sports Medicine Reports journal notes that resistance training might prevent diabetes, control blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce pain. As you can see, strength training provides health benefits far beyond firming and strengthening your body, which of course is a great benefit too!
Resistance bands provide benefits to your life beyond the workouts you can achieve with them. They help your wallet with their affordable cost, which is much more reasonable than purchasing a set of free weights or a weight machine for your home. These bands also take up much less space in your home gym and are easy to keep organized.
Further, the small, foldable design and the lightweight characteristic of these bands make it easy to bring them with you on vacation. That way, your fitness routine won't go off track. You could also bring these portable bands to an exercise class at the local gym or studio.
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