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In continuation of our series of At Home Training Ideas we are bringing you the next round. If you want to check in on the first suggestion – slide boards – just click on the link and find out all the fun you can have. Onto Idea #2 – Resistance Bands. We will continue to bring you creative, effective and affordable ideas for at home training over the next few weeks.
At Home Training – What are the Kinds of Resistance Bands?
Resistance bands are pretty simple in terms of their design and execution. They come in a few different varieties:
These are the smallest form of bands. These are the resistance loop bands and they are about 12″ in diameter. A normal set of these includes somewhere between 4-6 different bands. Each band having a different “resistance” level from light – heavy. Here is a great set of resistance loop bands that can get you started.
The next type of bands are also constructed in a closed loop. However, they are much larger in diameter. These bands are closer to 2-3′ in diameter and can stretch much further. These bands also come in varying resistance levels. Here is where you can find great larger bands of various sizes that can help you get started.
The next, most common type of bands, are handled bands. You can purchase a set with interchangeable handles. These bands aren’t closed loops, like the two above. These types of bands are very versatile and the handles make a great addition. Here are some great safety toner handled bands that can help you get started.
At Home Training – Why Resistance Bands?
So, now that we have covered the different type of bands, let’s get to the question of why resistance bands? First, let’s start with the fact that these are another affordable, multi-purpose, exercise option. You can easily purchase all three of the different versions for about $100. In a world of so much “smart fitness equipment” costing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars – remember that you can still get awesome workouts on a budget.
Second, as you can probably tell from the pictures, these bands are compact. Just like the slide boards in our previous post, these bands are the epitome of compact. They can be stored in a closet, under a couch or even in a drawer. So, we have affordable and compact…but we aren’t done yet.
Third, bands are also very versatile. Bands can be used for warm-up exercises, stretching or strength training. They can be used individually or they can be stacked to provide greater resistance. This versatility allows one (or two) sets of bands to cover most of the primary exercise movements and resistance requirements.
Fourth, bands provide you with total control over the movement, resistance and effort. Unlike machines, free weights or even bodyweight movements, bands allow you to maintain a high level of control.
At Home Training with Resistance Bands – Expected Benefits?
So, much like the slide board, we have laid out some really good reasons to consider adding bands to your home “gym”. They are cheap, compact, versatile and easy to control. The ability to scale up the resistance with your bands also ensures that you won’t be outgrowing your equipment. So, now that we have established that they are a smart purchasing decision, let’s talk about what some of the expected benefits might be.
1. Mobility Improvement
Will the bands make you flexible? No, they won’t make you flexible – but they will help you increase your flexibility if used as part of an overall regiment. One of the great benefits of bands is that they can assist you in progressively pushing through mobility sticking points. The bands can allow you to effectively control your tension and they permit you to easily decide when to stop the stretch. Through intentional use they can even allow you to get into movements that may not be possible. Once in your desired position, because of tension control, you can even experience deeper and more effective stretches which will ultimately help push towards increased mobility.
Here is a great 10-minute banded mobility exercise that you can experiment with:
2. Strength Building
Will bands make you into a muscle bound fitness magazine model? Well, they have the potential to get you on the path.
Bands, especially since they can be “stacked”, give you immense variability in your workout. Lighter bands can be used for higher repetition and lower weight movements. These types of movements will increase muscle stamina. Or, you can stack the bands together to progress through lower repetition and higher weight movements.
Just like with the flexibility benefits, bands won’t get out of your control. You will always be able to start and stop movements as you need. Unlike freeweights moving over your head – bands are fully under your control.
Creativity is really the only limiting factor when you are trying to grow strength with bands. Here is a great 18-minute at home full body band workout:
3. Stabilizer Muscles
Walking on a slack line above a canyon without a safety rope requires a few things – nerves of steel, confidence, and strong balance. Balance often comes from a comprehensive network of developed stabilizer muscles.
Resistance bands are great tools to help with the development of stabilizer muscles. For a lot of the reasons that bands help with flexibility and strength, you can also expect the bands to assist with development of the small, but important, stabilizing muscles.
Stabilizer muscles often get “shut down” in typical movements because the bigger muscles simply take over. Most traditional exercises that we see in gyms, either in the machine section or freeweight section, are focused on the big muscles – pecs, lats, quads, etc. There simply is not a lot of focus on the small muscles because they aren’t as flashy. However, they as so very important to overall health.
Bands are a great tool to allow you to used focused effort on the small muscles. These are the ones that help hold the big muscles to your skeleton. They are the ones that normally lead to painful and sometimes debilitating injuries when we push the big muscle workouts too far.
Here is a great video of ways you can use resistance bands to improve the development of your stabilizing muscles in and around your knees:
We hope you give these bands a shot. They are great tools if used properly and regularly. Come back soon to find out more At Home Training Ideas from EMH.