Band Brothers & Sisters: How Exercise Bands Are Changing The Fitness Game

It might just be time that you gave that fitness band a second look. Here’s why.

Ever glanced at a fitness band lying on the floor and immediately passed it off, thinking it’s just for beginners? The fact is, that fitness band might do more for your body than the barbell and plate weights you’re walking toward.

Bands get a bad rap as being nothing but a beginner’s tool, and while they are great for beginners, they’re also highly useful for trained fitness enthusiasts alike.

Before we dive into the benefits, it’s important to understand that bands come in many shapes and sizes. Not only can you get bands of differing resistance levels, but you can also get different shapes and sizes. For instance, hip circles are going to give a whole different set of benefits than resistance bands with a handle. Furthermore, shorter/thicker bands will offer a greater amount of resistance.

Considering all these variations, it’s almost certain you can find one that will level up your fitness routine.

Let me show you how bands can change your body.

Injury Prevention
The first way to use bands is in an injury prevention manner. Lighter resistance bands are an excellent tool to use for warm-ups to help get the blood flowing to your ligaments and tendons to prepare your muscles for heavy lifting.

This could involve doing some banded walking to loosen up your hips to get ready for squats, or some internal and external rotation for your rotator cuff to prepare for your heavy shoulder presses.

Resistance bands are great for this, as they’ll allow you to move in a range of motion that you would never get with machines, and places a different, dynamic tension on the muscle tissues.

Muscle Specialization
This brings us to another reason you might consider adding resistance bands to your workout–muscle specialization. When you do your main compound lifts during your workout using dumbbells and barbells, there’s no question you can work many muscles at once.

But are you always hitting the smaller muscles deep within the body? The answer is probably no––at least not in a way that’s allowing them to gain strength. More often than not, the larger muscles tend to take over and do the brunt of the work, leaving the smaller muscles untapped.

With resistance bands, however, you can focus on the smaller muscles, making sure they get their workout in as well.

Bands also tend to be especially popular for glute isolation exercises––while squats, lunges, and deadlifts are all great for building the glutes, your hamstrings and quads are going to be assisting greatly with the movement.

Do some banded kickbacks or fire hydrants with a band, however, and suddenly, those glutes will be on fire.

This means bands can also work well as a pre-activation drill. By doing some banded fire hydrants for instance, you can get the glutes firing so they are more ready to handle some of the load when you go down on that heavy squat.

Catapult Your Compound Lifts
Another great way to use resistance bands is in conjunction with your compound lifts. For example, when doing your squats, place a hip circle just above the knees and now go do your squats. This provides a whole new type of resistance on the body, and keeps it adapting and getting stronger.

Likewise, larger bands can be used to add more resistance on the bar when doing a bench press, and conversely, can also be used to assist those who are still working on being able to do a full pull-up.

By adding the band to these compound movements, you reap benefits you otherwise wouldn’t.

Great For Travel
Finally, let’s not forget that resistance bands are great for travel. No matter what your fitness level happens to be, if you’re going to a remote location where no gym will be available, bands can save the day.

Double up on bands to increase the resistance and if you have to, perform more reps to account for the fact resistance load is less. You’ll still be placing tension on the muscle tissues, which will help preserve your physique while you’re away.

You can do almost all the same exercises with bands that you can dumbbells.

Some excellent exercises include:
• Lateral Raises
• Bicep Curls
• Tricep Extensions
• Squats
• Reverse Flys
• Chest Presses
• Bent Over Rows

Feel free to get creative and see what you come up with.

Hopefully, now you can see why ditching resistance bands is not a wise move––almost everyone can find a way to work them into their fitness routine!

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About the Author: Shannon Clark

Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 15 years now, and has helped others of all ages lose weight, build muscle, and improve their physical performance. It doesn’t matter where you’re starting from, she’s only interested in helping you get to where you want to go. Now she focuses most of her time in the online world, writing articles, books, and reports to enable others to achieve their health and fitness goals. Now a mom of two, she’s a regular gym goer, lifting weights and doing cardio 5-6 times per week.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.