Resistance bands may have gotten a boost when Kourtney Kardashian revealed how she loves to work out with them. Yet, way before the resistance band got the Kardashian seal of approval, Athletic Therapists have been helping their patients and clients integrate this versatile piece of equipment into their fitness and rehabilitation routines.
So, what is a resistance band? It’s simply an elastic band used for strength training. They come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and range of resistance levels, from highly stretchable to heavy-duty strength. The most common types of bands include tube bands with handles, and loop bands which look like a giant rubber band. Resistance bands are relatively cheap (less than $20), they travel well, help increase coordination and they’re suitable for those at all fitness levels.
Along with cardiovascular activities, such as running, walking and dancing, weight training is essential for getting fit and more importantly, for building muscle tone and strong bones. Weight training also helps you maintain the strength you need for everyday activities like lifting groceries, climbing stairs, or running for the bus.
Weights, however, can be scary, especially if you’re venturing into the weight room at your local gym as a newbie. Resistance bands function an approachable way to start building muscle mass and, if you’re already using a variety of weights, bands can help you mix things up. Furthermore, many Athletic Therapists use resistance bands to help recovering athletes build up their strength after an injury.
Fitness bands have varying degrees of resistance, so be sure to choose one that’s appropriate for you and for the exercise you’re engaging in. In some cases, you can mitigate the resistance by loosening (adding slack) or tightening your band. Talking to an Athletic Therapist can help you here.
To get started, why not incorporate your fitness band into some exercises that you might already be doing? A certified Athletic Therapist can show you the exercises that are right for you in order to accomplish your goals.
For squats, using a band with handles, step on the middle band with your feet shoulder width apart. While holding a handle in each hand, squat and then return to your starting position.
Try to take your pushups to the next level by adding some resistance. In plank position, put a loop band around your back and under your hands so that has you push up, the band resists the movement. Do five to 20 pushups, or as many as you can handle.
For a simple shoulder exercise that you can do either at home or at the office, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a band in front of your chest with an overhand grip. Pull your arms back until the band touches your chest. Repeat 12 times.
There are a seemingly endless number of resistance band exercises out there, so be sure to speak with your Athletic Therapist to get some ideas that’ll best suit your fitness and rehabilitation needs.