Resistance bands don't often get promoted as a fundamental strength training tool, especially when compared with equipment like weights. But resistance bands are a versatile, easy to use, and lightweight type of training equipment for the home gym. If you've never considered using resistance bands for strength training, stick around to discover the benefits of resistance bands training, and what resistance bands types are best for you.
Resistance Bands Benefits
One of the benefits of training with resistance bands is that you are able to work muscles not easily targeted with weight training. Unlike weights, which work muscles by going up against gravity, training with resistance bands enables exercises in any direction, and you can fight the resistance in all directions.
Another benefit of resistance bands is that they are very versatile. Exercises for resistance bands can target any muscle group, the bands can be easily adjusted for varying resistance, and they can be used for strength training, stretching, or physical therapy.
Last but not least, resistance bands are lightweight and portable so you can bring your home gym with you, wherever you choose to workout.
What are resistance bands made of?
Resistance bands are made from either latex rubber or non-latex rubber (TPE). Latex rubber has greater elasticity than non-latex rubber and decomposes naturally, but can be an irritant to the skin for people that are allergic to latex. Non-latex rubber (or TPE) has less elasticity than it's counterpart and is non-biodegradable, but it is the optimal choice for people allergic to latex.
Resistance Bands Types
There are many choices when it comes to resistance bands types. The most common resistance bands types are:
tube bands with handles
figure 8 bands
Below you will find a description for each resistance bands type on the market, who they're best for, the pros and cons, and my picks for the best of each resistance bands type for sale.
Best for new users and rehabilitation
Flat bands are the most widely recognized type of resistance band. They are wide and flat, and most commonly used for stretching; although more and more people are using them as an aid for strength training and/or pilates. Flat bands are easy to adjust in length, and thereby resistance, by wrapping around your hands. They are useful to wrap around a pole, furniture, or tie to a door handle in order to perform various exercises. Flat resistance bands sets come in various colors and resistances.
1. simple to use
2. easily adjustable resistance
3. offer greatest variety of uses
4. provide about 3-10 lbs of resistance
1. wear/snap easily over time
Best for lower body toning
Loop bands are basically flat bands but in the shape of a closed loop. They are wide and flat, and the closed loop shape makes them ideal for leg and buttocks exercises, and more advanced users adapt them to focus on other body parts. They are most commonly used for strength training, toning, and stretching. Loop resistance bands kits come in various colors and resistances.
1. ideal for focusing on lateral
2. target specific muscle groups
3. offer about 5-50 lbs of resistance
1. not easily adjustable in length or resistance movements
Tube Bands with Handles
Best for strength training
Resistance bands with handles are tube bands with handles on the ends and are primarily used for strength training and muscle toning, as well as stretching and rehabilitation. They are designed to provide a a stable grip, enabling the user to perform training exercises at higher resistance levels than flat bands. With the handles, resistance can be centered on your wrist for a controlled and stable form. The handles are often made of high-strength plastic or metal with a foam or rubber grip and nylon straps. Resistance band kits with handles usually come with a door anchor, and ones with carabiners allow bands to be combined for increasing and decreasing the lengths and resistance levels.
1. promote higher resistance training
2. long lifespan
3. target specific muscle groups
4. provide about 5-50 lbs of resistance
1. non-adjustable lengths and resistances
Figure 8 Bands
Best for upper body toning
Figure 8 bands are similar to tube bands with handles, except that they're shaped like a figure 8. They offer the benefits of both loop bands and tube bands with handles and can be used similarly. Figure 8 bands are best used for strength training and physical therapy, focusing on the arms, chest, shoulders, back, and lower body.
1. supportive handles
2. long lifespan
3. target specific muscle groups
4. provide about 5-20 lbs of resistance
1. limited to types of exercises
Best for experienced, stronger strength trainers
Power bands are a heavy-duty resistance band type that will remind you of a massive rubber band. They are flat and in the shape of a closed loop, just like loop bands, but are greatly thicker. Power bands are most popular with cross-fit and power lifting training, but are also used commonly for bodyweight assistance exercises, such as pull ups, dips, etc. Like all resistance band types, they can also be used for stretching and physical therapy.
1. greatest resistance of all type bands
2. long lifespan
3. manufactured to gym quality
4. offer about up to 175 lbs of resistance
1. too static for less experienced weight trainers
My pick: Pull Up Assist Bands by URBNFit
How do I know which to Buy?
When first starting out with resistance bands, your best bet is to purchase a set of varying resistance level bands to test your strength. As you gain strength and familiarity with using resistance bands, you can work your way towards stronger, or different types.
Many resistance bands kits on the market today come with training guides. These can be helpful and an added perk to your purchase, especially if you are new to resistance bands training or want to learn new ways to use the bands. While e-books are an attractive bonus and could assist with your training, choose a resistance bands kit based on the product itself. Consider reviews, which is especially easy when shopping for resistance bands on Amazon.
Resistance bands add a fun and versatile element to your workout, and are one of the best equipment for home workouts. They are easily adjustable for you to adapt to your strength, making them a wise choice for anyone. Not only are resistance bands extremely effective in helping you perform ultimate home workouts, but they are simple to use, portable, and inexpensive.
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