Regardless of whether you are an avid exerciser or don’t even know where the gym is located, you should begin familiarizing yourself with resistance bands.
These colorful stretchy bands can enhance the workout of those who train regularly, and help ease non-exercisers into a new routine safely. Strength training is important for all individuals as these routines help build bone mass and muscle strength, both of which can prevent bone fractures or breaks and reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Yet, all too often, people avoid strength training for various reasons. Women especially fear adding too much “bulk.” However, it is a fallacy that strength training will cause women to “bulk” up, as their bodies don’t make enough natural testosterone to add the muscle mass that men do. Rather, strength training will help tone and elongate muscles resulting in a leaner appearance.
Other reasons men and women alike often avoid strength training routines include time restraints, lack of gym accessibility or a general dislike of the gym environment. Others (often the “cardio junkies”) simply stick to the same exercise routine they have and refuse to try anything else.
Resistance band training is the perfect solution to all of these reasons for not pumping some iron. Here are some resistance band basics, as well as just a few of the reasons you need to start working out with them today.
Just what are resistance bands?
Resistance bands generally come in a set of three or more. Each band offers a different resistance, indicated by its color. The stretchier the band, the less resistance it offers.
Some bands have handles while others have slots for you to slip your hands through. Depending on where you hold the band, you can change the resistance.
Why should I use them?
1. Convenience. The number one complaint for not hitting the gym is time. The trip to and from, snagging a locker, changing clothes, finding an open machine, etc., often take more time than the workout itself. Resistance bands are easy to store, take up minimal space and can easily fit in a backpack or backseat of a car, making them an excellent option when traveling.
For those not interested in waiting in line for a specific machine, practically any exercise can be replicated with a resistance band. And for those who avoid the gym altogether, the bands make exercise at home or even the office convenient and quick.
2. Affordability. Gym membership fees can be expensive. Resistance bands are inexpensive and some even come with workout dvds or booklets included. A one-time investment is far more affordable than monthly membership fees.
3. An excellent compliment to an existing routine. For individuals who are dedicated to their routine, resistance bands can put a new twist on the same exercise. The human body is extremely adaptable and becomes adept at repetitive motions. Over time, your body is no longer challenged by the same exercises and you won’t experience further fitness gains.
Using a resistance band, however, changes the way you perform the exercise. Even the slightest factor such as a change in grip can have an effect.
4. Create specialized exercises. Most gyms come equipped with the same machines. These tend to isolate specific muscles like biceps, triceps, hamstrings and quads, to name just a few. Yet how many can simulate a tennis swing or martial arts move? Resistance bands come in handy when looking to incorporate specialized movements, positions or poses.
5. Offer a full-body workout. Exercise machines isolate specific muscles, which is only one way of training that particular muscle. When you isolate a muscle, the rest of your body isn’t working or benefitting from the exercise. Yet when you perform that same exercise with a band, several other muscles now become involved in an effort to stabilize the the main working muscle. This results in greater calorie burn and builds strength throughout the body.
6. They are safe for all fitness levels. Exercise machines and free weights can lead to injury if not used properly. Yet resistance bands can be utilized by practically anyone regardless of fitness. Always select the stretchiest band first. You can increase resistance simply by placing your hands further down the band, and can quickly decrease the resistance by letting go. These bands are an excellent tool when working out with a spotter isn’t an option.
Resistance bands can offer a new twist on an old routine, or be the first step to helping people get in shape. If you’re a beginner, opt for bands that come with a booklet or workout DVD. These will provide you with sample exercises and routines and even teach you how to use the bands to assist in post-workout stretching.
-The Alternative Daily