This series is dedicated to an overview of the equipment you can use in the comfort of your home to shape the body of your dreams.
Now we take a look at a relatively new player in the fitness game. This is an ideal option for people with a limited budget and little space.
Fourth on our list:
A resistance band is an elastic band that can be used to do strength training in place of actual weights. They were most commonly used for physical therapy, but have become a useful tool in more conventional fitness training in recent years. The colour of each band represents different resistance levels; e.g. a red band may offer light resistance and a black one heavy resistance.
Notable resistance band types
These are hollow rubber tubes. Most come with clips on either end to fasten it onto attachments like handles or ceiling hooks. Some may come with handles only. These are ideal for substituting traditional weights, and doing resistance training with a smaller risk of injury .
They could also be attached to weights to create more dynamic resistance during training (but only attempt this at an advanced fitness level).
This variations is usually flat (also referred to as therapy bands). They are most suited to train your lower body or perform physical therapy exercises, but have recently become popular to perform more unconventional exercises.
There are also tubed bands of this kind. Some have handles or an “8” figure. Their application is for specific exercises targeting mainly the upper body.
These are technically not resistance bands, but I will mention them as they are gaining popularity in the fitness community. The bands are made of fabric and a pulley system which attaches to a wall, ceiling or any surface. The bands do not stretch, but can carry a heavy burden. This allows you to use your own body weight to perform exercises. TRX is the most iconic brand, but you may find cheaper alternatives on the market.
Advantages of resistance band training
Resistance bands have a relatively low risk of injury and are gentler on your joints than weights. They are suitable for any fitness level and entail almost zero learning.
Resistance bands do not rely on gravity to create resistance like weights, which opens up a whole new world of resistance movements.
They help eliminate “cheating” – that is, using momentum to do a lift when you should only engage specific muscles. (Do not confuse these with “ballistic” movements, where the whole point is using momentum to start and finish movements)
Resistance bands are very affordable compared to other types of equipment, especially when you consider their versatility.
They are also extremely compact, more so than any other resistance training tool. This is excellent for travel or if you have limited storage space.
Disadvantages of resistance band training
Unfortunately, resistance bands are not as durable as metal weights (not too surprising if you think about it). Words can not explain how frustrating it is to have the bands snap in the middle of your workout set, but that might been a quality issue or user.
With resistance bands, it is hard to monitor your fitness progress. With weights you can measure the exact weight you are lifting and physically see by how much you are improving over time. However, with resistance bands there is no accurate way to measure if you are getting stronger; due to the dynamic nature in which bands expand and offer resistance, every new movement differs vastly from the last.
Resistance bands are not as effective as weights for gaining muscle. This is not much of an issue if your aim is general fitness or weight loss, but it may not be ideal to use resistance bands exclusively if you are into serious bodybuilding or heavy strength training.
No matter where you fall in the fitness spectrum, resistance bands are great tools for your workout arsenal. They are perfect for beginners, reducing the chances of hurting yourself while you learn new movements. They are also great for more advanced fitness levels, bringing in more dynamic resistance to your workouts. There is really no reason not to own at least one resistance band if you workout from home. Remember to check the colour coding before buying, to see what resistance the bands offer.