Resistance Band Training

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by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

When it comes to resistance training, dumbbells and barbells are typically king and queen. Somewhere in the mix falls plate-loaded and selectorized machines. Even body weight suspension training has grown increasingly popular with tools such as the TRX. However, one resistance training tool that is underutilized is the resistance band. Resistance bands come in many forms and can add a different element to your resistance training than the other items listed.

The biggest difference is that resistance bands provide variable resistance throughout the entire range of motion for any given exercise. More specifically, the resistance will increase the further the band is stretched. In comparison, free weights provide the same amount of resistance throughout any movement. Variable resistance can also increase the speed and power of your lifts and break through strength plateaus. Resistance bands are also adaptable to multiple fitness levels. A fitness novice can begin their strength training journey with lighter resistance bands instead of jumping right into lifting weights. This allows for them to perfect their form, without risk of injury, while still incorporating resistance. At the same time, an experienced gym-goer can add even more resistance by adding a resistance band on top of their free weights.

Additionally, resistance bands are a great tool to provide assistance and support in an exercise. For example, they can provide assistance in pull-ups, squats, push ups, and other exercises. Another benefit to resistance bands is that they’re extremely portable making it easy to strength train anywhere. There are a few different varieties of resistance bands. First, there are looped bands. These bands are simply a circle shape. Typically, looped bands are used for glute activation exercises by placing the band round the knees during exercises such as clam-shells, squats or sidesteps. Doing so will force you to keep your knees in line with your hips activating the gluteal muscles. The second kind of resistance bands are bands with handles. You can use these bands on their own or anchor them to a piece of equipment for rows, overhead presses, and bicep curls for example. Regardless of your fitness level, goal, or preferred workout method, there are undeniable benefits to incorporating bands into your program.

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