Besides taking up much less space than dumbbells, kettlebells and the like, resistance bands can do as much, if not more, for your strength training than standard weights and machines.
The resistance built into these rubbery wonders ensures you’ll be pushing your muscles harder the longer you pull and hold it at your max, without that break you tend to get when your weights or dumbbells are at the apex of your reps.
That’s just one of many upsides of using these bands to train your muscles to peak condition. But there are so many more benefits you can get:
Affordability and space
There are four general strengths of exercise bands, from “light” to “extra heavy,” rated on the amount of resistance they provide. It usually takes three bands of varied resistance levels to provide a well-rounded, full-body workout. And they can be shoved into or hung up anywhere in your house for storage.
They come in many different formats, including those designed for physical therapy, cables with attachable handles, and short, thick bands that target a specific muscle group. Longer ones can be knotted up for upper-body workouts and unfurled for lower-body reps.
They can be looped around a doorknob, attached to an over-the-door clip or wound around other heavy objects to replicate cable pull machines or combined with weights to add resistance from the opposite direction.
Resistance bands are simple to use at home for those who don’t want to build muscle so much as maintain what they have. Loss of muscle mass tends to begin when we’re in our 30s and accelerate once we hit 70, especially for those who are sedentary. This deterioration creates greater risk for injury and falls.
It’s hard to use resistance bands on autopilot. You need to pay attention to your form when you pull and release the band, retaining your control as you release it so it doesn’t jerk you back or snap out of control. It really is a form of mindfulness.
Building muscle through any form of strength training reduces fat and speeds up your resting metabolism, leading to weight loss.
Cathy Clements | Photo: Blushing Cactus Photography