Get Fit With Resistance Bands

You’ve probably seen fitness gurus and gym buffs working out with brightly colored training bands around their arms and legs. But what are they? Let’s take a look at how resistance bands work, how you can use them to optimize your fitness, and the relationship between resistance bands and weight loss.

Key takeaways:
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    Resistance bands come in a variety of strengths. From high resistance to low.
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    Resistance band training is a great addition to any fitness regime.
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    Using resistance bands makes your muscles work harder, and burns more calories than conventional bodyweight exercises.
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    They are low-cost and you can do resistance band workouts at home.

What are resistance bands?

Resistance bands are a type of elasticated exercise equipment that come in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as flat and looped. They are placed around different parts of the body and used when performing bodyweight exercises to increase resistance and make your muscles work harder.

They come in custom colors which indicate their level of resistance so you can gradually increase your workout load.

Their low-cost, compact size and ease of use have made resistance bands workouts extremely popular over the last three years.

How resistance bands work

Training bands work by increasing the resistance your muscles have to a certain movement. The opposing forces between your movements and the resistance coming from the bands make your muscles work harder, burning more calories and building more strength. The calorie-burning potential can also aid in losing excess fat and maintaining a healthy weight.

When used with bodyweight exercises like squats, they can be a great replacement for weights, gym machines and other bulky exercise equipment. The convenience of resistance bands workouts has made them a must have addition to many fitness regimes.

Will resistance bands build muscle?

Yes, using resistance bands will help you build muscle. Even simple bodyweight exercises increase muscle mass. Adding resistance bands to those kinds of movements will make your body work harder, maximizing muscle growth. There are three ways in which this happens:

  • Progressive overload. The body responds to gradual increases in load by building muscle to facilitate greater weight.
  • Metabolic stress. The burning sensation you feel in your muscles is a metabolic response whereby the body accumulates waste metabolites in the muscle. This has been shown to have a positive effect on muscle growth.
  • Mechanical damage. Microscopic tearing occurs in your muscles due to exertion during exercise. When this happens, the body responds by repairing and building more muscle.

The prevailing wisdom was always that you had to hit the gym and start lifting weights if you wanted to get those gains. But the efficiency of resistance bands shows that you can perform at-home strength training and still get results.

Benefits of resistance bands

There are many benefits to the addition of resistance bands in your training schedule.

  • Convenience. You can pick up your resistance bands and start popping squats while watching your favorite TV show from the comfort of your home.
  • Cost. They are a highly cost effective way of building strength without having to pay for expensive gym memberships.
  • Progressions. You can start with low resistance and work your way up as you build muscle and strength.
  • Stability. Resistance bands are used alongside bodyweight movements, increasing muscle mass, building strength and improving core stability.
  • Mobility. You’ll be strengthening all the muscles around your joints, helping support a safe increase in range of motion and mobility.

Resistance bands workouts for beginners

You don’t have to be a seasoned workout pro to start using training bands in your exercise regime. Here are some great resistance bands workouts to get you started.

Arm exercises with resistance bands

  • Pull Apart. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take your resistance band and hold it with your hands approximately 30 cm apart. Straighten your arms out in front of you at shoulder height and drive your hands in opposite directions, stretching the resistance band. Repeat this movement for 1 minute.
Woman doing Arm exercises with resistance bands Pull Apart
  • Bicep Curl. Stand with your feet in the middle of your resistance band, hip-width apart. Take the ends of the band in each hand, glue your elbows to your sides, and curl your forearms up towards your shoulders, stretching the resistance band. Repeat for 1 minute.
Woman doing Arm exercises with resistance bands Bicep Curl

Ab exercises with resistance bands

  • Roll-up. Sit on the floor with a straight back and your legs out in front of you. Loop your resistance band around your feet. Holding the ends of your training band and keeping your arms straight, slowly lower yourself to the ground. Squeeze your abdominals, tuck your chin, and sit back up. Repeat for 1 minute.
Woman doing Ab exercises with resistance bands Roll-up
  • Resistance Twists. Sit in a ‘V’ shape with your legs bent, heels on the floor, and toes pointing up. Loop your resistance band around your feet. Holding the ends of your training band and keeping your elbows tucked into your sides, lean back slightly and move your arms from one hip to the other, twisting your body from side to side. Repeat for 1 minute.
Woman doing Ab exercises with resistance bands Resistance Twists

Resistance band leg workouts

  • Open Squats. Take a looped resistance band and place it around your thighs. Stand with your legs wide so you can feel the tension of the training band. Lower your body into a squat position, squeezing your abs for stability. When you are squatted low, move your knees outwards and back in again, feeling the greater tension in the resistance band. Come back to standing and repeat for 10-15 reps.
Woman doing Resistance band leg workouts Open Squats
  • Leg Lift. Place a looped training band around your calves, just above the ankle. Widen your stance so you feel a little resistance from the band. With your hands on your hips, lift your right leg out to the side, increasing the tension on the resistance band. Do 10 lifts on the right and 10 on the left. Repeat 3 times.
Woman doing Resistance band leg workouts Leg Lift

Resistance bands vs. weights

While both types of exercise do build muscle and strength, are resistance bands like weights? And which one wins in the resistance bands vs. weights debate?

It all depends on what you are looking for. If you want a cost effective way of strength training in the privacy of your own home then it’s resistance bands all the way. They work out some of your smaller muscles too and are especially good for beginners.

Free weights are a great progression once you’ve mastered some of the resistance bands moves, and built up muscle mass, strength and endurance.


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