Benefits of resistance bands for strength training
Strength training improves your overall health while also focusing on muscle development.
However, when performed with only free weights, the outcome is not as good as with resistance bands. The reason being many execute free weight exercises, such as dumbbell use, too fast to get the full use of their muscles.
Resistance bands can be performed rapidly as well but can be controlled easily and with better mindfulness from the feel of the resistance. The band itself will slingshot the body part during movement without control.
Making it a more forceful way to encourage controlled movement as well. Using resistance bands on their own is great, and mixing them with free weight movement is even better.
Benefits from Resistance Bands
This type of elastic band offers a universal and convenient method for strength training. Several benefits from resistance bands include:
- Improved muscle development
- Increased flexibility and mobility
- Wider exercise variations
This is just a few of the benefit points you can get from using resistance bands.
Improved Muscle Development
As mentioned, the control of the movement is what encourages better muscle development and endurance. Moving too quickly against the resistance offers minimal increases to your muscles and strength.
Resistance bands counter this by providing better resistance both ways when controlled. The execution of the movement is only one point. Controlling the resistance, which is called the eccentric phase, is where all the muscle growth occurs the most.
An example would be performing a resistance band row by attachment to a stable object like a small tree. Execution of the row is pulling the bands towards you, but the control portion is not letting the band sling forward.
Dumbbells can still be controlled in the same manner, although the supporting muscles to control are not used as much. Being active either way is important, but if you can be more effective, then resistance bands are a great choice.
Increased Flexibility and Mobility
There is a large variety of exercises you can perform with resistance bands only. The use of free weight for lots of the exercises is almost meaningless or impossible. The reason for this the way the movement is performed, requiring elasticity over solid weight.
Mobility is having a healthy range of motions with your joints. Flexibility is the elasticity of your skeletal muscles to move across ranges of motion. Both are important for better health and to prevent injuries from occurring from simple tasks such as twisting your body carrying a box.
Not being able to perform basic life tasks is also due to a lack of muscle and bone strength to support joint mobility. Resistance bands offer ease of movement for those recovering from an injury or in their senior years. This is why they are an effective tool used by physical therapists.
Wider Availability of Exercises
Resistance bands offer lots of exercise variations as well. You can perform simple exercises like back rows and shoulder presses, or you can even use free weights attached to the bands for extra benefits.
An example of this mixture is a dumbbell squat + resistance bands. Place one side of the band under your feet standing shoulder-width apart.
Take the dumbbell and insert it into the other end of the band, then twist with the band around the handle to stay in place. Holding the ends of the dumbbells, you simply start performing squats.
This extra resistance from the band adds more tension as you come out of the squat, and forces your legs to work harder against the band as you lower into it.
Other exercises are ones that rotate the trunk such as woodchoppers, and the mobility stretches such as front to back shoulder rotations.
Strength Training with Resistance Bands
The following is an easy workout program you can utilize 3-4 days per week. This will focus on the body as a whole opposed to a workout focused on a single muscle group.
Remember, fire through the contraction phase and control through the release phase. That is the best way to use for any movement when not focusing on a large resistance being lifted.
Mobility Warm Up
- Front Pull Apart – Opens up the chest muscles, brings blood flow to your shoulders and upper back muscles. Improves shoulder range of motion and warm up.
- Front to Back Shoulder Rotations – This helps stretch your chest, shoulder, and back muscles. Mobility improves greatly from these and posture as well.
- Single-Leg Hamstring Stretch – Improves the flexibility of your hamstrings and glutes. Execute dynamically by doing single-leg raise with the band for hip mobility.
- Clamshell Exercise – Improves help mobility and works your abductors, glutes and groin. Very easy to execute with a hip circle instead of a pull-up assist band.
Strength and Muscle
- Banded Squats – Targets your entire lower body, but more specifically, your quads, hips, and glutes get the most attention. A basic essential for a healthy body and strength development for your legs.
- Banded RDL – This is called a Romanian deadlift. The difference is you are not going all the way back to the floor with the resistance, and instead stopping below the knees. Targets your hamstrings and glutes specifically.
- Overhead Band Press – Focuses on your shoulders, triceps, and upper back muscles. A necessary exercise for improving the joint strength and mobility of your shoulders.
- Banded Back Rows – Targets your back, traps, and biceps muscles. This exercise requires the band placed around a sturdy object such as a pole or tree.
Grab Some Resistance Bands and Train
Click here for some quality fabric resistance bands if you don’t have any yet. The workout easily trains your body as a whole, which is necessary to have a healthy body. Mobility and strength are the biggest benefits from resistance bands, and muscle growth is a result during the process. Start as soon as possible while the thought of exercising is on your mind!