What is a Resistance Band?

A resistance band is a long elastic band that stretches which creates resistance. The further apart the band is stretched, the more resistance is created. They generally come in different tension levels (e.g. light, medium, heavy, extra heavy) making them perfect for adding or decreasing intensity with minimal equipment and time.

How are they used?

To use a resistance band you must have a solid point of attachment as well as room for a moving end piece, e.g. you could wrap the band around a pole or beam and pull or push the two ends from there. If no object is available using your own body works just as well (e.g. step on a part of the band and pull/push the ends).

Benefits over free weights/machines

There are many benefits to using a resistance band over free weights. A resistance band is very versatile and portable, as well as light weight and easy to use. They can be stored in any size bag, transported in a car or even held in the hand when needed on the go. The best thing is their effectiveness in design and safety. A muscle is at most risk for injury during the eccentric (lowering) phase of an exercise. As the resistance is stretched it creates more and more tension essentially adding more weight throughout the range of motion; during the concentric phase the muscle is at less risk for injury. The complete opposite happens during the lowering phase; the tension on the band decreases essentially decreasing the weight until the bottom of the range of motion. This creates a much safer exercise with a decreased chance of injury.

Strength Training

Strength training is defined in Mosbys Medical Dictionary 8th edition as: a method of improving muscular strength by gradually increasing the ability to resist force through the use of free weights, machines, or the person's own body weight. Strength training sessions are designed to impose increasingly greater resistance, which in turn stimulates development of muscle strength to meet the added demand). Strength training in the fitness industry is generally thought of as lifting heavy weights using some sort of free weights. The resistance band provides a twist on this "traditional" strength training by taking some of the most common strength training exercises and utilizing them in a new way. To keep up the progress in your training simply switch the bands to a heavier tension or give yourself less slack in the starting position of the exercise.

Safety Points

-Core stabilization (suck in your stomach and tighten it, squeeze your glutes and keep a straight back)

- breathe out on lift phase (creating tension)

- breathe in on release phase (relaxing tension)

- 1 count up, 3 counts down

- do not lock out any joints

- proper grip on bands (create handle)

Remeber that safety comes first during any exercise routine. Once an injury occurs it can be weeks or months before full recovery, so know your limits and work within them. The body is designed to adapt slowly over time, so don't make it do something it is not designed to do.