Updated: Mar 5, 2020
Exercise bands, also known as resistance bands or resistance tubing, are one of the best ways to build strength. These affordable pieces of exercise equipment can even help serve as a remedy for pain. Even better? They’re super travel-friendly. In fact, they serve as the perfect option for adding resistance when traveling, since they take up very little space in the suitcase. While free weights seem to be the go-to for building muscle and strength, you might be surprised at what resistance bands can do for you — no matter what your level of fitness.
Resistance bands come in a variety of styles. Common names include things like exercise bands, tube bands, loops bands, fitness bands, workout bands, and therapy bands. Some are flat, while others are tubular with handles — my personal favorite. Each comes with various levels of resistance, allowing you to gradually increase resistance as you perform the exercises correctly and build muscle strength. Perhaps best of all. They are super affordable, compared to free weights and weight machines.
A recent study compared resistance training using elastic tubing with weight machines and free weights. Researchers determined the effects were the same in terms of building fitness. The options are almost endless with resistance bands, with the equivalent of 3-to-20 pound weights readily available.
Benefits of Exercise Bands
1. Perfect Solution if You Can’t Make It to the Gym
Resistance tubing offers plenty of benefits. One major perk? They’re very wallet-friendly. They’re the perfect investment if you can’t afford a gym membership. Exercise bands are easy to find for as little as $10. With various resistance options offering the same benefits as hand-held weights, getting a great strength-building workout is easy. There are tons of apps available for daily workouts.
2. Training with Resistance Bands Improves Muscular Strength
Resistance bands may seem like a less-than-ideal workout for those with more advanced fitness levels, but you might be surprised. These bands can challenge even the most fit, as long as you choose the right bands and use them correctly. A study looking at healthy women using resistance bands to improve muscular strength and endurance found the bands improved total fitness, specifically muscular performance, muscular adaptation and cardio fitness.
3. A Great Option for More Sedentary Lifestyles
It’s not uncommon for people to avoid weight machines and dumbbells, especially for anyone who lives a more seendentary lifestyle; however, even the most sedentary can benefit from resistance bands. According to a study, healthy adaptations can occur using resistance exercise. The study evaluated the use of resistance bands and weight machines in 45 healthy sedentary women. The results indicate that a decrease in fat mass, possibly even visceral fat, which is dangerous to the organs of the body, and an increase in repetitions was achieved confirming that resistance exercise can provide healthy muscle adaptations.
If you suffer from too much sitting, these fitness bands are a great way to ease into a more active lifestyle.
4. Great for Rehabilitation Exercises, Such as Knee Osteoarthritis
Forms of resistance training have a long history in physical therapy environments, especially since healing exercises are easy to do at home, in addition to the therapy session. And resistance bands can come in especially handing if you’re looking for Knee strengthening exercises.
A recent study examined if best home-based rehab program using resistance bands on the lower extremities resulted in positive outcomes. The focus was specifically on those with knee osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint desease.
Participants using the bands found they obtained more stability and overall improvement in the functionality of their knees when using the bands. Conclusion? Resistance band training improves overall quality of life in individuals suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
5. May Help Improve Hip Functionality
When scientists conducted studies using two exercises called monster walks and sumo walks to evaluate the progression of rehabilitation in the hips, they found strong evidence that supports the use of exercise bands. With each exercises, resistance bands were placed around the knees, ankles and feet. The resistance was altered while measuring the effects. The results showed improvement in hip functionality, specifically by strengthening the gluteal muscle group. These types of exercises, using band resistance, may help those suffering with hip and back problems. (9)