Resistance band training

Thursday, April 6, 2017. Author Geraldine Campbell

With the busy lives many of us lead, fitting in exercise can be a struggle. When life becomes too hectic, exercise is often the first thing to be sacrificed. But help might be at hand in the form of an inexpensive, convenient and highly effective form of resistance training that doesn’t need a gym membership.

Resistance bands are the answer. This portable arsenal for your training toolbox can be used at home, when travelling for work, when on vacation or even in the gym to ramp up your training. Their effectiveness to improve physiological factors such as strength, muscle mass, body fat percentage, power and even endurance has been demonstrated across all ages and abilities. As well as improving your body composition, they are ideal for rehabilitation and frequently used and prescribed by physical therapists and physios. They can also improve balance, gait and mobility - key physiological traits you’ll want to train to limit the age-related declines in certain movement patterns.

How do they work?

Tension: The greater the stretch on the bands, the greater the resistance against the muscles being exercised. Just like weights and dumbbells, bands have different resistances so you can progress in the same fashion as traditional weight training. The thickness of the band coupled with the tension applied to it determines the resistance (with different colours used to represent different resistances).

Example exercises

You can use resistance bands to perform the majority of exercises that will be familiar to those of you using isotonic resistances (barbells, dumbbells) and weight machines. Some exercises will need you to ‘anchor’ the band to a fixed object; whether this is a door, a tree, or your feet. This means it is easy for you to use resistance bands as part of a home-based workout - just like our Get Fit plans!

Chest Press

  1. Lie on your back with the resistance band under your upper back.
  2. Grab hold of the ends of the band (or handles if they have them) and start with your arms bent at shoulder height.
  3. Extend at the elbows bringing your arms upwards, providing the tension needed.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.

Seated Row

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Wrap the band around a bar or your feet to anchor it, and grab hold of the ends (or handles if you have them).
  3. Start with your arms fully extended and your back straight.
  4. Pull your elbows into your sides by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  5. Once you reach your midsection, squeeze and hold the contraction before slowly returning to the starting position.

Deadlift

  1. Step on to the resistance band and grab hold of the ends, hinging at the hips.
  2. Stand upright by pushing through your heals and thrusting your hips forward.
  3. Slowly lower yourself by bending at the knees and hip, keeping your back straight.
  4. Bring yourself back up to the starting position making sure you squeeze your glutes.

Other benefits of resistance bands

Bands can also be applied to more traditional weight training at the gym. Resistance bands can be attached to the ends of barbells to add resistance and also to help improve form. The addition of bands increases the rate of force development within movements such as squats or bench press.

Compared to weight machines, resistance bands increase the neuromuscular control needed within the movement; recruiting more motor units  and increasing muscular strength.  Unlike barbells and dumbbells, resistance bands can be applied to high speed movements and plyometric exercises. This is a great benefit for functionally training for the sports you play; especially those that involve speed and power.

The ACTN3 gene is a well studied gene in relating to one’s predisposition to power and strength. Those who are RR have increased fast twitch fibres so are more suited for power exercises and sports. Find out if you could utilize resistance bands to optimize your power potential!

New to exercise and looking to improve your health? Our Get Fit plan is an ideal choice and provides the perfect set of exercises to use with resistance bands!

 

If you enjoyed this blog, you can read my other posts here:

Get to know your heart 

How Alcohol May Be Limiting Your Progress

Running and Genetics 

Mindfulness

Genetic Dominance of East African and Jamaican Runners 

Sprint and Power Performance

The Nordic Diet

Seaweed

Oxidative Stress

 

References:

Stevenson, M.W., Warpeha, J.M., Dietz, C.C., Giveans, R.M. and Erdman, A.G., 2010. Acute effects of elastic bands during the free-weight barbell back squat exercise on velocity, power, and force production. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(11), pp.2944-2954.

Kraemer, W.J., Keuning, M., Ratamess, N.A., Volek, J.S., McCORMICK, M.A.T.H.E.W., Bush, J.A., Nindl, B.C., Gordon, S.E., Mazzetti, S.A., Newton, R.U. and GÓmez, A.L., 2001. Resistance training combined with bench-step aerobics enhances women's health profile. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(2), pp.259-269.

Colado, J.C. and Triplett, N.T., 2008. Effects of a short-term resistance program using elastic bands versus weight machines for sedentary middle-aged women. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(5), pp.1441-1448.

Sutton, M., 2008. Strength Band Training. Physiotherapy Canada, 60(2), p.195.

Bellar, D.M., Muller, M.D., Barkley, J.E., Kim, C.H., Ida, K., Ryan, E.J., Bliss, M.V. and Glickman, E.L., 2011. The effects of combined elastic-and free-weight tension vs. free-weight tension on one-repetition maximum strength in the bench press. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(2), pp.459-463.

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