Is it possible to stay fit without pricey exercise equipment?
While you definitely need to use some heavy weights to build strength and protect your joints, resistance bands are a great tool that should not miss in your fitness regime. You can throw in some resistance band exercises in your traditional routine or use the bands to stay fit while on vacation or whenever you don’t have access to a gym.
Many resistance band exercises are low-impact in nature and can be used if you are injured as well. If you are suffering from knee arthritis, hip-joint problems or back pain, the exercises in this guide will help you build strength and decrease pain.
Types of resistance bands
There are many different types of resistance bands. I recommend you purchase all kinds of bands, as they are very low in price but can be used for a lot of exercises.
These bands are low in resistance and best used for rehabilitation exercises.
Fit loop Bands
Even the lightest fit loop bands are high in resistance. Thus, these bands are suited to use for the lower body and rowing movements for the upper body. I definitely recommend purchasing at least one of these bands.
Clip-tube resistance bands
These bands are extremely versatile. They can be used for all kinds of glutes exercises, as well as provide extra resistance for plyometric movements. I prefer to use small resistance loops for glute activation exercises but you have to choose what works best for you.
Fit tube resistance bands
These bands are great to use for lighter – moderate resistance exercises. I like using them for straight arm lats pulldowns, one arm rows and reverse fly exercises. If you are a beginner, you can use these for your lower body as well.
Lateral resistance bands
These bands are similar to the clip-tube resistance bands and increase the challenge for your gluteus medius and outer and inner thighs during plyometric jumping movements.
Small resistance loops
I definitely recommend purchasing all kinds of difficulty levels of these mini-bands. They are low in price but can be used for all kinds of lower body exercises. Use these for glute activation movements, as well as provide extra challenge during the big lifts, such as deadlifts and squats.
Benefits of training with resistance bands
If you are not convinced yet, the following list points out the benefits of resistance bands.
1. Everyone can use them
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced trainee, resistance bandsare suited for all fitness levels. In fact, they can help establish a stronger mind-muscle connection for beginners. This is crucial to not only increase muscle-building and speed up strength gains, it will also increase calorie burning. If you are an advanced trainee looking for new kinds to challenge your muscles, simply put a mini-band around your knees during deadlifts or squats and you will be amazed of deep burn in your muscles you achieve.
2. Low in price and portable
Even if you buy a complete set of resistance bands(with tubes and mini-bands included), resistance bands are an affordable piece of equipment. There is no need for pricey gym memberships to get fit and healthy! In addition to that, they are easy to pack in your bag, even in your purse and can be transported anywhere you go. There is really no excuse not to work out if you have your resistance bands with you.
3. Target any muscle
As I outlined above, there are different kinds of resistance bands that can be used to target specific muscles in your body. However, even if you only own one pair of resistance bands, you can always get in a great workout by adjusting your training. Simply increase repetitions, decrease resting periods and increase number of sets to achieve a burn in your entire body.
4. Injury prevention and rehabilitation
One of the main reasons I started using resistance bands in my own training is to prevent and heal joint injuries. After my labral tear last winter, I was not allowed to lift weights or do plyometric movements for several months. To stay active and speed up the healing process, I did daily glute and core movements using resistance bands. I also designed a specific workout for my mother (knee arthritis due to rheumatic disease) and she was able to completely decrease knee pain and lift heavy (for her age) weights. Even if you have never suffered from any joint pain, exercise bands will help build strength and decrease muscle imbalances, so that you can keep training without ever risking injury. Train hard but smart!
5. No cheating allowed
Many times during working out, we tend to cheat. Especially during the last set, as your muscles get tired and your glycogen stores in your liver and muscles are empty, it is easy to go through the movements to finish the workout as quickly as possible. With resistance bands, this is not possible. They provide resistance through the full range of motion, thus you can never fully rest. This will not only increase the intensity of your workouts but also burn far more calories.
6. Functional training
Lastly, resistance band training is part of the so-called “functional training” concept. In reality, all exercise can be seen as functional. There is no type of exercise that does not benefit us in our daily life. However, some kinds of workouts and exercises help to target specific areas of our body and increase strength, agility, power, coordination and balance, resistance band exercises being one of them. You will experience that during exercises with resistance bands, you need to activate all muscles in your body to stay upright and not lose your balance.
If you don’t own a pair of resistance bands, I encourage you to order them today! I have a little home gym with a few dumbbells, kettlebells and even a barbell but the one exercise equipment I would never want to miss is my resistance bands!
Your complete guide to resistance band exercises
The following PDF contains a list of exercises for the lower and upper body. You can see the explanation and pictures for all exercises in the last articles I wrote:
- The complete guide to resistance band exercises – Lower Body
- The complete guide to resistance band exercises – Upper Body
The exercises in the PDF are all linked to youtube videos showing how to perform the exercises. I hope that will help you learn the proper form and increase the effects of your workouts.
If you liked this article and the guide, please share this on social media!
Wish you all a lot of fun training.