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Guide to Using Resistance Bands

Guide to Using Resistance Bands

Resistance Bands, Power bands, Booty Bands - whatever you like to call them - you cant deny power bands are now ubiquitous in gyms and training since we last reviewed them. The range of lengths and materials has only grown and its well worth a fresh look to see whats new - and refresh your power band training routine with our guide by Exercise Physiologist Bruce Smith-Wright from BaiMed Performance.

What is a resistance band?

mini Resistance band

We’ve all seen them… just hanging on a hook or draped over equipment, looking more like colourful gym confetti rather than a powerful training tool. Perhaps you’ve even used them to stretch, help with pull-ups or even tie down weights (impressive!!!). However, the benefits and application of resistance bands are huge and applicable to everyone.

WHAT MATERIAL RESISTANCE BAND SHOULD I BUY?

A key question you will ask when selecting your resistance band is which material should I choose.

 

rubber resistance band

RUBBER

  • Range of resistance from 10lbs up to 100lbs
  • High strength and tear / snap proof
  • Moisture proof
  • Long stretch (For safety never stretch more then 100% of original length)
  • May roll up when used on bare skin

Knitted fabric

  • Range of resistance from 10lbs up to 100lbs
  • Comfort - pinch and roll proof, wont catch or slip on bare skin
  • High strength and tear / snap proof
  • Machine Washable
  • Long stretch (For safety never stretch more then 100% of original length)
fabric resistance band detail
resistance band leg workout

Short Lengths

  • Commonly referred to as "booty bands"
  • Designed to be worn above or below knee
  • Works hips, glutes and hamstrings
  • Available in rubber and knitted fabric

LoNG LENGTHS

  • Most versatile for a full body range of exercise
  • Can be used in both assistance and resistance
  • Use in conjunction with weights or rigs
chest pull resistance band workout

HOW TO USE RESISTANCE BANDS WITH EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST BRUCE SMITH-WRIGHT

At BaiMed Performance we use and program resistance band-based exercises on a daily basis; whether it's for an elite basketballer, a rehabilitation program post-surgery or for our youth development programs. Now I could dive deep into the world of resistance bands and talk of the ‘length-tension’ relationships of muscle and the possible use of resistance bands to accommodate the strength curves of a lift and so on. But you might not get as pumped up about that stuff as I do (weird!!), so we’ll look at some of the basics that can easily be implemented into your training. Essentially the elastic properties of resistance bands and their gradual load (lengthened) or unload (shortened) characteristics tie in very nicely with how our muscles work.

Resistance band use can be sorted into two categories; Assistance or Resistance.


ASSISTANCE

This is where bands are used to help the individual and generally help in the portion of the lift where the individual is at their weakest. Just think of how hard it is at the bottom of a squat, pull-up or push-up (where the prime mover muscles are lengthened) compared to the top of that movement. Applying resistance bands in this instance can ASSIST the individual out of the harder section of the lift and can allow them to complete the rep and build strength and power through a greater range. Additionally, using bands as an assisting tool can be great for static and dynamic stretching.

The following are a few examples of how we apply resistance bands to ASSIST with movement on a daily basis:

ASSISTED STRETCHING
resistance band kneeling stretch

Kneeling Stretch

resistance band straight leg raise exercise

Straight Leg Raise

resistance band lateral stretch

Lat Stretch

ASSISTANCE STRETCHING BANDS

Start with light to medium resistance bands for stretching assistance.

ASSISTED STRENGTH & POWER

Band Assisted Squat

Assisted Push Up

Assisted Pull Up

ASSISTANCE STRENGTH BANDS

Start with medium to strong resistance bands for strength assistance.

Resistance

As you might have already guessed, using resistance bands as a resistance tool is the opposite to assistance. When the individual is generally at their strongest in a lift or movement, resistance bands can be used to add greater elastic load and challenge them. Using our previous example, adding load at the top of a squat, pull-up or push-up will make the exercise more challenging but resistance will decrease as they lower themselves into the movement. This approach is a great way to change up the loading mechanics of a lift and break through sticking points in an exercise.

Again a few examples of what we commonly use in our sessions:

RESISTANCE STRENGTH & POWER

Banded Monster Walk

Banded Good Mornings

Banded Pull Aparts

resistance band banded chest press

Bench Press

Back Squat

Dead Lift

RESISTANCE STRENGTH & POWER

Banded Sprints

Lateral Shuffles

Paloff Press

STRENGTH Resistance BANDS

Start with light to medium resistance bands for strength resistance

*A key point to note is that resistance bands allow us to train an individual in multiple planes and introduce rotational or anti-rotational elements to loaded exercises. Making them essential for athletes and transferring gym strength onto the field.

Although its only a very brief look into the world of resistance bands, hopefully I have you asking questions and provoking your creative juices to come up with ways to take your training to the next level and not just using them as decorative pieces or tie downs in the gym. Its also important to remember that if you have not used resistance bands much (or at all) to start small and progress slowly or better yet ask around and get a coach or someone ‘in the know’ to give you a few tips.

Bruce Smith-Wright

Exercise Physiologist

Athletic Development Coach

BaiMed Performance 

(@baimedperformance)


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