One quick and easy way to take your training to the next level isn’t to recreate the wheel, but to add more resistance to that wheel! Sure, we already know resistance training is good for you for so many reasons from building muscle and strengthening your bones, to overall improvement in endurance, speed, power and agility, but many fail to recognize the benefits of using resistance bands during their training. If for no other reason than to change up your training and shock those muscles, bands are a simple and cost effective way to do just that!
On their own, bands help target the muscle you wish to engage just as weights do, but can be safer for those just starting out on their fitness journey or when working without a spotter, until you build confidence and good form throughout a movement. They can be used to warm up, stretch, to help activate and prepare the muscle you are targeting to fire better during a performed exercise, for use alongside weight training and to exhaust a muscle as a finisher to your workout. Not too shabby for some measly rubber tubing, huh? Their uses are truly immeasurable and they are lightweight, take up little space and offer such versatility, making them an ideal alternative to weights, if even just for an occasional break in your routine. Not only that, but if you travel frequently, have limited access to a gym or simply prefer home workouts, bands are an inexpensive way to get a great workout in anywhere, anytime! Have I given you enough reasons to incorporate them yet?
Because they maintain pressure throughout the movement, it’s a different type of load on your muscles than traditional weight training, and we already know that switching up your training and programming is essential to prevent adaption. Performing weight training alongside the use of resistance bands on some days allows the mind and body may offer a break from the monotony of a steady weight training program and can add an element of functional training to your workouts. The real plus to using bands is that they are like having a portable gym at your expense anytime you want! My personal preference in utilizing bands are during my glute days (yes, always trying to grow!) for use with pull ups to help assist me in a movement I am quite weak in and to burnout or completely exhaust a muscle I am training as a finisher.
Check out just a few reasons why bands are so very beneficial!
Benefits of using bands
- Add variety
- Help build explosive speed/strength out of a movement
- May be easily modified to meet any fitness level
- Cost effective and typically quite reasonably priced
- Can be used in conjunction with weights or alone
- Take up little space
- Great for travel as they can be used virtually anywhere
- Warm up muscles prior to training
- Help activate a muscle group to further engage firing during targeted exercise
- To exhaust muscle group at end of training (burnout)
- To force your knees outward during squats, hip thrusters, etc.
- For use with accessory movements
- Safer if unsteady or using for physical therapy
- Use with plyometric movements to make even more challenging
- Great for a total body workout
- Can switch from one exercise to the next with ease
- Great for a time crunch
- Can be used to get in a great stretch for better mobility
- Offer more pressure throughout each movement different from weights
Just a few exercises to use hip circle/resistance bands with, but the sky is the limit!
- Box/bench Squats
- Plyometric side skips
- Walking side steps
- Glute kickbacks
- Glute bridges/thrusters
- Pop squats
- Push ups
- Alternating curtsy lunges
- Donkey kicks
- Bicep curls
- Shoulder presses
- Any exercise to further activate hips and glutes
- Banded assisted pull ups
- Mobility and stretching
Sample workout performed with only resistance bands:
This is the perfect workout for on the go or just to switch up your training if you’re needing a break from the weights.
Perform 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps of each of the following exercises:
- Bicep curl to a press
- Banded pop squats
- Lateral shoulder raise combined with a front raise
- Bent over row to a triceps extension
- Squat to a shoulder press
- Side skips with hip circle
- Shoulder press to a triceps extension
- Assisted pullups (wrap band around pull up bar and under one or both legs)
Where to buy:
My absolute favorite band to incorporate into leg/glute work is the MB Slingshot Grippy Hip Circle. Since the addition of the non-slip inner lining, it’s even better and is available for purchase here on bodybuilding.com at to https://www.bodybuilding.com/store/sling-shot/grippy-hip-circle.html. Another great option is the ProGym Pack https://www.bodybuilding.com/store/gofit/ultimate-progym.html. The handles are great when performing the sample workout above!