Resistance bands are often an overlooked piece of gym equipment. Many people do not realise the full benefits of using resistance bands. Instead seeing them as something just to warm up with or even a pointless tool with little benefit. However, resistance bands should hold their place in every training schedule, no matter what your fitness goals are. We will explain why they are so good, and unveil a few training secrets you can implement.
Reduced Risk of Injury
- Resistance bands are excellent because they have a lower injury risk than free-weights. If you are lifting with heavy dumbbells you can put your body in a vulnerable position that could lead to serious injury. If you are using resistance bands you can simply let go, or slide your hand down the band to instantly release tension.
Resistance bands provide a better angle of resistance
- Gravity is always pulling us down, and the weights we use. The force weights provide is always directly down, towards the floor. However resistance bands can be set up to provide resistance, or assistance, from any angle. During certain exercises, take a dumbbell chest fly, at the top point of the exercise there is no longer much tension on the chest muscles. As the arms are locked and straight above you, the forces go straight down your bones onto the bench. However resistance bands will still be providing force at this position, requiring continual muscular activation.
Resistance bands optimise muscular tension
- As resistance bands are stretched, they provide increased tension. When used correctly the bands will provide maximum tension at the point of peak muscular contraction, providing huge training benefits. When performing rows, the resistance bands will have maximum tension when your hands are closest to your body. This is also the point of maximum lat contraction, meaning more muscular activation and gains.
Perfect for developing power and explosivity
- Using traditional free-weights it is extremely difficult to improve power and explosivity safely. Upper body plyometric training is almost impossible with dumbbells. However with resistance bands you can perform rate of force development training easily, effectively and safely. They are a key tool to improving power.
You can train in innovative ways, improving complex power exercises
- You can loop them around your ankles to improve sprinting performance, kicking speed, or grab them by the handles and use to train your punching power – exercises which would typically be very difficult to train properly and safely.
Resistance bands can be used in conjunction with weights to increase or reduce difficulty
- They are a great tool to assist or resist an exercise at a certain part of the movement. For example during bench press if you have trouble locking out (straightening your arms) then you can add a resistance band anchored from the floor. When set up correctly this will provide minimal resistance at the bottom of the exercise and add resistance as you near lock out – strengthening this part of the movement. Likewise you could use a resistance band anchored from above to provide assistance at the bottom of the exercise and none at the top. Perhaps you need help performing pull ups, with band assistance they will provide the most assistance at the bottom of the exercise and as you pull higher up they provide less help.