How to use Resistance Bands
How to Use Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are an extremely common piece of equipment that you can find in most gyms, but many people are unsure of what to do with them. Just like the weights around the gym, resistance bands come in all different intensities to suit you and your training. Resistance bands are great for people in all stages of their training. They can be great for beginners learning how to move, people recovering from injuries, elite athletes requiring help engaging certain muscles or simply people wanting an extra burn! Below I will go through some of the top benefits of resistance bands and some of my favorite exercises for different goals.
Resistance bands or TheraBand's can be a great way to make sure that you’re really making the most of your training sessions and activating the correct muscles. Here are some of my favorite ways to utilize resistance bands.
Using Resistance Bands for Rehabilitation
A lot of our clients still in the rehabilitation phase of their training can benefit from using resistance bands. They are nice and safe on our joints without adding extra load or unnecessary weight, which can cause pain and discomfort. Resistance bands are great at ensuring that we’re able to monitor and control our range of movement to keep any injuries or rehabilitation movements slow, controlled and safe.
One of my favorite rehab-related resistance band exercises are banded squats. These are great for anyone going through any joint replacements, ankle rehabilitation or any serious sprains and strains through the lower body.
How to do a banded squat
Or Squats with Resistance Bands
Loop a band around a pole and hold on to the longer ends. This will allow you to control your movements through a slower phase and manage the load on any joints, especially knees and hips.
A Simple Resistance Band Exercise to Strengthen your Ankles
Another very common exercise you may see people doing around the gym is ankle rotational movements with a resistance band. This is great ankle exercise to help strengthen a weakened ankle after a sprain or if you struggle with weaker ankles in general. Ideally, before getting back into your pre-injury routine, you’ll want to work on strengthening any weaker areas or injured joints to ensure steady progress in your workouts or recovery plan.
Photo: Ankle rotation start and end position.
Using Resistance Bands for Muscular Weakness/Disease
Certain muscular diseases or weaknesses will need constant rehabilitation and exercise therapy to help ensure we are keeping the muscles healthy and to prevent regression in movement and quality of life. Some muscular conditions such as multiple scleroses or Parkinson's disease can greatly benefit from using resistance bands. It can help an individual improve their strength, range of motion and stability through both muscles and joints without placing stress or unnecessary fatigue on these areas. You can replicate similar gym machines such as a leg extension or chest press which can be too heavy for some. Trying to maintain your strength for as long as possible if you have a muscular disease is very important to ensure you can maintain the best quality of life possible.
Leg extension starting and end position.
Chest press starting and end position.
Using Resistance Bands in your Workout
You can use these even if you are an advanced gym user.
Even if you are a regular gym user and feel you benefit from doing heavy weights, don’t look past the assistance of bands to help push your workout to the next level. Using resistance bands to activate your muscles before doing your usual weights workout will mean that your muscles will already be warmed up and you will be able to perform closer to your max range from the start. A great example of this is doing a crab walk with a band before you do your squats to ensure that your glutes are activated and warm and to make sure your quadricep muscles don’t dominate the entire movement.
Crab Walk with a Resistance Band
Place the resistance band around both legs, low on the thighs, but above the knee. Do not place the band on your knees. Next, get into the crab walk position keep low and take small steps in one direction and then return the other way.
Poppy Cogswell, Senior Personal Trainer