When Covid-19 hit last year and gym’s closed, there was a mad rush to buy exercise equipment for the home. From dumbbells to kettlebells, it was like a fire sale, everything had to go. But not everyone can afford loads of fancy equipment.
One, we don’t have the space and two, we couldn’t afford it. We have to be adaptable when it comes purchasing equipment. But one piece of equipment which is very affordable and doesn’t require a lot of space, Resistance Bands, exercise’s great all-rounder!
Principles of Resistance Bands?
Resistance bands are portable, inexpensive, multipurpose physical exercise training. They come in many forms. Resistance-bands are sheets of elastic material, commonly made out of natural or synthetic latex rubber. Both natural and synthetic rubber possess similar properties.
- Therapy Bands
- Power Resistance Bands (AKA Loop Bands)
- Tube Resistance Bands with Handles
- Mini Bands
- Figure 8 Bands
Resistance-bands when combined with an external resistance device, such as a barbell, provide a type of resistance known as “variable resistance” which is similar to that experienced on machines (cams/levers) and chains. When a resistance-band is stretched, the amount of resistance is proportional to the change in its initial length or said more simply “the more a band is stretched, the greater the resistance”
A good analogy to help understand this relationship is to consider the effect of stretching a “spring”, at a fully lengthened position, a spring will contain a large amount of kinetic energy, which when released will cause the spring to rebound to greater heights, than if it was only stretched by half.
The Differences Between Resistance-Bands And Free Weights?
Both resistance-bands, similar to free weights in various populations effectively improve muscle activation and muscle damage which can lead to hypertrophy However, unlike free weights, exercises with resistance-bands are not redistricted to an anti-gravity position. For example, to work the chest muscles with dumbbells, you must position the dumbbells against the line of gravity, in most cases will mean you will have to lie in the supine position.
In contrast, resistance-bands can operate outside of the anti-gravity position, which means the chest muscles in this example can be worked in multiple positions, such as sitting, standing, kneeling or lying. Another critical difference is the strength curve; free weights exercises typically impose a mid-range strength curve (peak torque occurs at the halfway point in the range of motion).
Whereas resistance- bands can provide both an ascending (torque increases as the joint angle of movement increases) and a descending (torque decreases as the joint angle of movement increases) strength curves, depending on where the resistance-band is anchored.
How Can Resistance Bands Help You?
Resistance Bands can be used in all facets of your workout!
- Warm Up ( Raise the HR, Activation, Mobility and Potentiate )
- Strength Training ( Resistance and Assist )
- Strength & Conditioning ( HIIT and Sport Specific Training )
- Cool Down ( Static Stretches and Mobility )
- Rehabilitation ( Activation, Mobility, Strength, Conditioning )
Dependant on your goals, selecting the right type of band plays an important role in your use. The considerations you should looking for are the length, the width, the thickness and the tension. Another guide to help with selecting the right band, is the colour.
Generally with bands, lighter the colour, lighter the resistance, darker the colour, the heavier the resistance.
With any exercise program or exercise equipment, safety is paramount. Especially if your using resistance bands for home use. Resistance-bands are sheets of elastic material, commonly made out of natural or synthetic latex rubber. Both natural and synthetic rubber possess similar properties, creating either a suitable choice.
However, both synthetic and latex bands after prolonged use experience a creep, which is defined as a continued deformation of a material under constant and sustained load Signs that your resistance-band may need to replace include brittleness, wrinkled appearance and fraying of the band’s elastic fibres.
Observe the following safety guidelines before implementing a resistance-band exercise program:
- Before every use check for any damage on each resistance-band. Do not use if you find any signs of damage.
- Do not stretch the bands more than twice their resting length.
- Always perform a general warm-up activity before using the resistance bands.
- Perform only the exercises prescribed by your Personal Trainer or Exercise Practitioner
- Keep abdominal muscles tight when performing the exercises.
- Avoid straining or holding your breath during exercise.
- Perform each exercise in a slow and controlled manner.
- Perform an equal number of repetitions on each side to avoid the development of muscle
The Science Of Resistance-Band Training!
Resistance bands are not new, for almost 100 years, resistance band have been in use to improve fitness and as well as a rehabilitation device. For example, in 1901, one of the first iterations of the resistance bands, was used to develop strength in women and aid the physical development of children.
More recently the resistance band has become a popular tool which can provide additional resistance to free weight exercises, body weight exercises and sports specific movements. Resistance bands are portable, cheap, versatile, simple to use tool that does not rely on gravity to create resistance. Together, these multiple benefits make resistance bands an ideal tool for sporting coaches, personal trainers, physiotherapists and exercise physiologists.
Training with a resistance band requires a certain amount of knowledge of both biomechanics and physiology, as many of the same principles that apply to regular resistance training also apply when using a resistance band. A notable difference between free-weights and resistance bands is resistance increases as a band is stretched, similar to the dynamics of a spring.
Put another way, the more a resistance band is stretched, the more resistance will be encountered. This has important implication when prescribing the right exercise/s. Exercise difficulty can be affected by the length at which the band is held at.
Given the many complex exercise movements in today’s world and requirements that accompany many of today’s fitness training programs. Without the help of an experienced trainer, these complex exercise and movement patterns require skill.
So without the help of a trainer, there will be an increased risk of injury, due to poor exercise technique. So instead of going to You Tube or Instagram for training tips, seeing a personal trainer face to face would be of great benefit for you.