Resistance bands can be very useful tools as you progress in your weight loss fitness program. They can be used to help you continue working out as you give sore joints a rest. They can also provide some added variety to constantly challenge your newly-found muscles and keep them growing into fat burning machines. Lets have a closer look at these under-used gems.
Resistance bands are really a pretty simple apparatus. They usually consist of various gauges of surgical tubing with handles or clips that attach to handles on each end. They are color-coded to indicate the amounts of resistance that are provided by each band. The larger the resistance number, the more difficult they are to stretch. In this way, you can use them in a similar manner to weight machines, bar bells or dumb bells.
As you can see from the image below, you can often purchase the bands in kits that include carry bags, handles, door anchors and ankle straps. This gives you a pretty complete set of exercises capabilities to work your entire body. Mix and match bands to get just the right amount of resistance. They travel easily, too!
To us the bands, choose the appropriate band "weight" for the exercise you are going to do (many kits come with an exercise booklet). Place the band(s) around a pole, tree or use the doorway anchor. Get into a balanced athletic position and begin your exercise. Use multiple sets of a chosen number of reps just like you would for weight training. Complete the sets and change to the next exercise. Be sure to limit your rest between sets to keep your heart rate up. Here is a link to give you some visuals on the process.
The first question that entered my mind when I began to consider using bands instead of free weights was whether or not they would hold up. I mean, they are made out of rubber/nitrile or some similar material that stretches. Certainly, they will break easily. That has not been my experience. The set that I purchased after doing my research has been very robust. I work them just like I would free weights. Don't be afraid of breakage.
I can tell you that the work feels different than pumping iron. It's more like pushing against another muscle instead of a stationary mass. The bands cause you to use a bunch of stabilizing muscles to push/pull them in a particular direction just like free weights do. Weight change out is very fast. I simply unhook the handles from one band and place them on the next band and get right back to action. I sweat, breathe hard and finish with a great pump just like free weights. Like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.
Being 50+ years of age, I've had plenty of joint issues that past few years. Switching to bands has eliminated the joint pain while allowing me to keep the strength training portion of my weight loss program intact.
A set of resistance bands is one of the most flexible yet inexpensive weight loss tools you can own. If you are working out at home, I highly recommend them for either full time use or just to change up your workout.
I'll see you on the next page.