Resistance bands aren't exactly a new invention! In fact, in 1896, Swiss inventor Gustav Gossweiler came up with the idea, originally to be used in gymnastics.
But people weren't really doing much with resistance bands until the 1960s, when physical therapists realized they could be used to help patients gain strength back in their arm and leg muscles. This encouraged manufacturers to develop better and better bands and come up with more exercises!
If you've never used resistance bands, you might be wondering what would make them better than other equipment. For one thing, I would say it's a lot better for beginners because it's low-impact. What do I mean by low-impact? Generally, an exercise is considered low-impact if you don't have to jump / lift your feet. Low-impact = less stress on your joints!
Obviously you know the way resistance bands work is by, well, resisting your muscles! But let me explain just a tad bit about how bands work...Band exercises will be DIFFICULT at the beginning of a movement, easy in the middle of a movement, then DIFFICULT again at the end.
That is because your muscle fibers are strongest and have the most leverage in the middle of a movement, and the fibers are weakest at the start and end. For example, maybe you're doing bicep curls with a resistance band. You want to make sure that you're used the right STRENGTH of resistance band, one that isn't too difficult at the beginning and end of the movement, but also isn't too easy in the middle.
It's most important to avoid using a resistance band that's too tough for you because you will compensate by doing the exercise with poor form.
For example, if you're doing bicep curls with too strong of a resistance band, you'll end up hunching your back.
So, how do you make sure you get the right resistance bands for YOU?
Make sure you buy multiple bands. They are often called light, medium, heavy, etc. with different colors. Light might be 10 lb, medium might be 20, etc. So based on that, you can have a pretty good idea of which resistance bands you should use, if you have done strength training before...
For example, let's say you are going to do chest presses using resistance bands. Then you might know about how much weight you typically use on the chest press machine at the gym. Let's say you do 40 or 50 lb. on the machine. You may want to try a resistance band with a bit less tension than that, just to test it out because resistance bands become more difficult further into the movement.
But you can easily do a chest press as an at-home workout with a resistance band. All you have to do is wrap the resistance band around a chair or pole, then sit or stand in front, and press! You can see how a lot of exercises that would normally be reserved for the gym become very easy to do at home, with resistance bands!
Resistance bands are a great option for in the gym, but especially at home because they take up less space. Definitely give them a try!
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