Friday, October 3, 2014


One main reason many folks don’t undertake an exercise program is the misconception that it requires a lot of expensive equipment to get a good workout.  Fortunately that is not the case. While a good cardio program costs nothing more than a good pair of running shoes, a shirt and some shorts, you can get a good strength training and toning workout for even less money with a set of exercise or resistance bands.

Strength training with resistance bands is a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. Resistance bands come in different colors signifying different tension levels and have handles on each end. These are best for upper body work. Others come in a loop that is ideal for lower body workouts.

When properly performed, strength training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being, including increased bone, muscle, tendon and ligament strength and toughness, improved joint function, reduced potential for injury, increased bone density, increased metabolism, improved cardiac function, and elevated HDL ("good") cholesterol.

The first benefit to using band exercises while working out is the fact that the equipment required is very inexpensive and portable. You may pack your exercise bands with you when travelling and work out wherever you happen to find yourself, including any hotel room. They can also be used in the office on breaks or over lunch.

The second major benefit relates to how effective band exercises are when starting to work out, working out following an injury, or as part of a rehabilitation program. Band exercises have been used in such settings for a long time and are particularly effective at toning your muscles and allowing you to gradually increase the stress on your muscles as you regain more strength.

The third benefit is the efficiency of having various bands of different colors that equates to different tensions.  As your body adapts from the workload and gets stronger, simply combine two or more bands of different colors to increase tension. Most bands come with detachable handles or grips so you can connect numerous bands to one handle for ease of us.

There a few drawbacks to using band exercises that you should keep in mind. Firstly, the resistance becomes greater as you move forward into your motions, or in other words the resistance level is not stable throughout an exercise. As you near the end of a motion you'll reach the point where the resistance is greatest. This is not all bad but is not ideal as your muscles are not necessarily strongest at that point.

Secondly, it is difficult to estimate the resistance levels produced by the various tubes or bands. This means it'll be harder for you to chart down your strengthening progress. As with any exercise program, do some research to make sure you understand how to do each exercise properly and keep good form to prevent injury.

Finally, you should remember that exercise bands are particularly vulnerable to wear and tear and as a result you should make sure before using them that there aren't any visible tears in them, however small they may be.


Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.