Resistance bands are great for anyone who wants to improve their mobility and strength. Resistance bands can be used to enhance sports performance, increase muscular hypertrophy and rehabilitate injuries. Athletes, recreational fitness enthusiasts, and serious fitness professionals can all benefit from including band training into their programs.
What are Resistance Training Bands?
Resistance training bands are available in a range of varying sizes and resistance strengths. The bands are made from a flexible colored rubber, with each band offering a varying level of resistance from 2 lbs. to 200 lbs. or more.
There are manufactures that specifically design bands for different training purposes. Some brands focus on rehabilitation while others focus on professional level fitness performance, or elite level powerlifting.
Using Resistance Training Bands
The mechanics of resistance band training are similar to free-weights and weighted machines; they add additional ‘Time-under-tension’ to every movement you complete.(1)
For example; if you are attempting a band assisted pushup, the band would be held under your hands and spread across your shoulders and back. As you push up from the floor, the resistance becomes greater as the band stretches, making the exercise more challenging by increasing the resistance on both the eccentric and concentric part of the movement. This time-under-tension principle is the reason why bands are a useful training tool for people at any level of fitness. (2)
Using resistance bands in sports specific training can assist athletes in improving certain aspects of their game. For example; if a tennis player has a weak backhand, bands are used to correct muscular imbalances in the triceps in the movement and improve the power. (3)
Tips for Choosing the Right Resistance Bands
The most common resistance training bands available at online retailers and sports stores come in two forms; flat and tubular.
The flat bands are usually made for rehabilitation and come in different colors that depict their resistance strength. The flat surface allows you to position the band for the best stretch and securely hold it in place during the movement. Ratings for these rehabilitation bands range for low resistances from 2lbs. to 15lbs.
If you choose a tubular type, then make sure that the tubes have a non-slip cover that prevents them from rolling out of place when they are stretched.
Fitness bands are rated for resistance loads from 15 lbs. to over 200lbs. and come with accessories such as handles for better control.