Resistance bands are one of my all-time favorite trainings implements to use in my workout. They’re low impact and can improve your core stability and active recovery routine. Did I mention resistance bands are also extremely convenient? You can take them anywhere and get a great accessory workout at home, the park, or at the gym. We’re going to talk about the best resistance band exercises, the benefits, and how resistance bands can take your training from good to great.
What Are Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are traditionally used in rehabilitation training or physical therapy when someone is coming back from an injury. Resistance bands use oppositional force to train your muscles, meaning the band will feel heavier the more you pull on it. Due to their effectiveness, resistance bands have become quite common in functional training protocols. Rather than a piece of equipment, bands are a simple rubber-band like training tool that comes in different sizes, lengths, and strength or resistances.
Benefits Of Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are effective training implements, that can create resistance and support full body muscle fiber recruitment and help improve strength and mobility.
“Load is load and the body doesn’t know any difference. Resistance bands are a nice convenient way to load the body with resistance without all the physical expense or bulk. The progressive resistance that the bad delivers is also unique in targeting harder to reach muscles says Loren Woolridge”, owner of The Health Lab.
1. Low Impact
The reason why resistance bands are used in rehab treatment is because they’re low impact. After an injury, it would not be advised to get back under a heavy barbell and resume normal programming, nor would you want to do it. Resistance bands provide low physical stress and impact to your joints, ligaments, bones, and muscles to help build stability and strength.
2. Recruits Smaller Muscle Groups
Resistance bands create tension and can be used to provide resistance in muscle groups that are much harder to target with an exercise machine or larger loaded training implement like barbells or dumbbells. Instead of just targeting larger muscle groups, training with resistance bands is one of the best ways to work all the muscles in specific areas of the body, as well as muscles responsible for balance and joint stability such as the hip abductors and adductors, the flexors, and the obliques.
3. Compact And Convenient
You don’t have to lift heavy to get stronger. Resistance bands make strength training easy and convenient, not to mention more accessible. They’re relatively cheap and you can buy a whole pack of different resistance strength bands for the price one dumbbell. They take up minimal space, which makes them easy to store, travel with, and pack. They’re also incredibly versatile, giving you the resistance in a strength training program without the heavy weight.
5 Best Resistance Band Exercises
1. Lateral Band Walk
The lateral band walk is one of the best resistance band exercises to help stimulate and fire your glutes. Simply wrap the resistance band around your upper thighs just above the knees, or your ankles. Get in half squat position and take one lateral step, slowly followed by the other foot. Do this for ten steps to the right and ten steps back to the left.
2. Band Pull Apart
This resistance band exercise simulates your anterior, medial, and posterior or rear deltoid. It’s very effective at building more strength, core stability, and shoulder mobility. Grab a lighter resistance band shoulder width apart, either overhand or underhand. Simply pull the band apart and back towards your chest until fully contracted and return to starting position.
3. Banded Curls
Often times full contraction of the bicep is hard to achieve when performed with dumbbells and a heavy load. With banded curls your bicep is fully stimulated and contracted throughout the full movement. Standing on the band with both feet shoulder width apart, hold each end or wrap each end around your hand. Raise both arms at the same time as you would with a traditional straight bar curl.
4. Banded Good Morning
Good mornings are considered a compound functional movement. Function means purpose; therefore, functional strength is training for a specific purpose. Functional movements are those that can be reproduced in real life, as opposed to an isolated movement, that cannot be normally replicated in daily activities. Good mornings produce a similar movement to bending over and picking up something heavy from the floor, much like a deadlift or squat. This of our course will help develop more functional strength, encourage mobility, and improve quality of life. The good morning is a hip hinge exercise, meaning that you bend at your waist or, hinge at your hips. Since your glutes and hamstrings drive the movement, the hinging movement of the hips, will build more strength, mobility and improve hip flexion.
Step on the band, feet shoulder width apart and wrap the inside of the band behind and around the back of your neck. Slightly bend you knees and hinge at the hips bending over and pushing back your hips until your back and chest are nearly parallel with the floor, similar to a deadlift.
5. Banded Upright Row
Another great resistance band exercise is the banded upright row. This movement contracts your upper back, lats, and shoulders while also producing greater core stability. Standing on the band, feet shoulder width apart lift the band with both hands all the way up, bringing the elbows high, until your hands are beneath your chin and back down.
Resistance Band Exercises: Takeaway
Resistance bands recruit secondary stabilizing muscles, which can help support larger muscle groups, and joints improving mobility and strength to provide better movement and functionality. They're versatile and low impact giving you dozens of different options in terms of exercise selection, resistance and tension to target specific full body movements. Strength band exercises can be great as an accessory workout, recovery routine, or full body workout as part of a training split.
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