Benefits of resistance band training
If you only have one piece of fitness equipment, let it be this one.
If you’ve never trained with a type of resistance band before, you might be surprised to find that resistance band training is very different from free weight or bodyweight exercises. They can challenge your body in a different way.
When we use free weights, we are working against gravity, so we have resistance in one direction. With band training, there is resistance in several directions. Being able to perform exercises in all planes of motion allows us to train in a more functional way. It allows us to train our bodies in movement patterns that mimic everyday life or to perform sport-specific movements, such as mimicking the swing of a baseball bat.
Unlike strength training, resistance bands provide continuous muscle tension. Additionally, resistance will increase as you move through range of motion. If we are using a bicep curl, for example, the point of greatest resistance when using free weights is midway through the movement. If we take this same example, the point of greatest resistance with a band is going to be at the top of the movement. The resistance will gradually increase as you bring your knuckles back towards your shoulders. This upward resistance requires a higher degree of stabilization which is necessary to help prevent injury.
Training with resistance bands is easier on the joints. When using weights, the muscles accelerate at the start of the movement using momentum and decelerate at the end of the movement. As long as you do the exercises correctly, there is no danger to the joints when weight training. However, it’s easier for most people to perform resistance band exercises correctly because they don’t use momentum to move through range of motion. For this reason, bands are often used in physiotherapy to rebuild strength after injury.
Resistance bands are inexpensive and portable, and you can train your whole body with just one piece of equipment. If you do decide to buy a resistance band, be sure to select a good quality one because, yes, they can break. They are easy to pack because they are small and light. If you’re traveling for work or don’t want to miss a workout while on vacation, they won’t take up much room in your suitcase. No excuses!
Training with resistance bands can be a great addition to anyone’s workout routine. At Plant City YMCA, we use resistance bands in our active senior classes. Different types of bands are used in circuit training and lower body classes to add extra challenge, and our LesMills CXWorx 30 minute classes use resistance tubes to strengthen the core. Try one of these courses for an experienced instructor to walk you through the workout.
Angela Fulgieri is the Director of the Wellness Experience at the YMCA of Plant City. Contact her at [email protected]