Resistance bands are a must-have piece of exercise equipment. From beginners to experienced weight lifters, everyone can benefit from adding these bands to their workout routine.
They are also referred to as exercise bands, workout bands, stretch bands, booty bands, mini bands, and hip bands. But don’t get confused, they are all the same thing! We are here to help guide you through what exercise bands are, how to use them, and the benefits of using them. So you can start implementing them to your workout routine and start seeing results!
WHAT ARE RESISTANCE BANDS?
They are elastic bands, typically rubber or fabric, that are used for strength training and/or physical therapy. They come in various different lengths, material, and resistance. The resistance levels typically range from extra light to extra heavy.
There are four main types of workout bands: mini bands - elastic/rubber and fabric, large loop bands, tube bands with handles, and therapy bands.
These are the bands that you've most likely seen on your Instagram feed, except they are probably referred to as booty bands. That is because they are mostly used for glute activation exercises and leg workouts. Check out our Palma Medium Resistance Band as an example for a short resistance band! If you're a beginner and want to move up from bodyweight exercises then add a mini band to really challenge you and activate your muscles. Try it when performing - squats, lunges, glute bridges, stiff leg deadlifts, and more. Or add one while doing a dumbbells only leg workout!
Mini bands are available in two types of materials: fabric and latex. Fabric resistance bands are made with a durable fabric and latex bands are made out of - you guessed it - latex or rubber. These are the best resistance bands for lower body workouts, the type you choose to get is really up to you! Personally we like fabric bands better 😉
Large loop bands
Think mini bands, but bigger! These type of bands form a large loop, typically around 40 inches long. They are also referred as long resistance bands or pull up bands. That's because they are often used for assisting with pull-ups, but they can also be used for various other exercises.
Aside from pull-ups, other exercises you can use them for are squats, overhead press, bicep curls, and push-ups. To get the most out of these, get a door anchor so you can attach the large band to your door and perform other exercises like rows, chest presses, tricep kickbacks, chest flyes, and more! These bands are a great addition for those with home gyms!
Tube bands with handles
These bands are made out of rubber and have heavy-duty pulley handles attached on the end. These type of bands are best for upper body workouts, like bicep curls and shoulder presses. But they are also great for full-body workouts!
These bands are similar to large loop bands, except they don't loop. They are long, thin bands that are commonly used for mobility and stretching exercises. They are a tool used in physical therapy for people who are recovering from injuries.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Similar to free weights, exercise bands provide external resistance that your muscles work against. The big difference these bands have is that they engage the muscles being targeted to fight the tension throughout the entire exercise being performed, not just when you’re moving against gravity.
Resistance bands are the ultimate strength training tool because they help activate and tone muscles so you build muscle and strength more effectively. When you perform an exercise, like a squat, with a hip band your muscles are under tension for an extended period of times so they are constantly working. So they help you perform better and more effectively.
Now that we know what they are and how they work let’s dive into the many benefits of workout bands!
Tone and Strengthen
As we discussed earlier, resistance bands differ from free weights because they apply a resistance throughout the full range of motion of an exercise. So the targeted muscle groups are working harder which helps build strength more effectively.
The Sports Journal conducted a study to investigate the acute effects on power following the bench press exercise with a combination of elastic band and free-weights vs. free weight only. In the study the group using resistance bands average lower body increase was almost three times better than the free weight group. The study concluded that, “Experienced power lifters and strength and conditioning professionals have claimed elastic band resistance combined with traditional training produces strength gains for several years”.
Great for stretching and warming up
Resistance band workouts are more than just building strength. They are a great tool to use for stretching and dynamic warm-ups. Extra light and light rubber bands can be used to help warm-up and stretch the upper body and lower body. Warming up your muscles before lifting weights can help prevent injuries and help activate the muscles you are trying to target.
These bands are especially great for lower body days because they can help activate your glutes and hamstrings. A few resistance exercises for glute activation include banded lateral walks, fire hydrants, glute bridge abductions, and more!
One of the biggest reasons we recommend having a set of exercise bands, aside from building muscle, is because of the versatility and variety they can bring to your workout routine.
Your muscles adapt quickly to the movement/exercises you perform. Switching things up and challenging your muscles by using a band can help you break through plateaus and continue making progress. Combining exercises bands with free weights creates positive growth in fitness. They are also lightweight and portable, perfect for traveling and home workouts!
Anyone can use them
Workout bands come in different resistance levels that range from extra light to extra heavy. Making them the perfect exercise equipment for all fitness levels! Beginners can start with a light band and then work their way up to a more difficult resistance.
They are also a staple accessory for those in rehabilitation from a sports or muscle-related injury.
Exercise resistance bands are inexpensive! The price usually depends on the type and resistance level. To get the most out of your money look for a resistance band set, they normally range from $10-50 (depends on the type of band).
Either way, you can select the band that fits your fitness level and budget.
These are just the few of many great benefits. Whether you’re a beginner or a frequent strength trainer, anyone can benefit from adding one of these bands to their workout routine!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions so we can help find the right band for you:
What resistance level should I choose?
There are various types of bands to choose from. There are different resistance levels, lengths, material… it can be difficult to find the right one. The best way to make you choose the right band is to choose the resistance level that matches your current fitness level. Then you can increase your resistance as you make progress.
So start with a light band and work your way up to heavy.
Can resistance bands build muscle?
YES! As we discussed earlier, bands are an excellent tool for strength and resistance training. They are commonly combined with free weights to perform full-body workouts and help build muscle effectively.
Can resistance bands break?
Extremely light and rubber resistance bands can break through use. Which is why we recommend purchasing a fabric resistance band, the quality is much higher than rubber bands. Fabric bands are durable and typically don’t slip or roll up when performing exercises.
Where can I buy resistance bands?
These types of workout bands can be purchased at sport retail stores and online stores. And in our online store!
At UPPPER we offer a various selection of must-have gym accessories like Short Resistance Bands and Long Resistance Bands! Oh and you can create your own bundle of three to get the third band one for free 😉