By Susan Quilty
Resistance bands are great for those who want to exercise at home, or who like to take their workouts along when they travel, but their value doesn’t end there. There are many benefits to these simple exercise tools, including versatility, convenience, safety, and effectiveness. The more you learn about the advantages of resistance band exercises, the more you’ll be motivated to add them to your own home gym.
These inexpensive exercise tools are a convenient option for people of any age or fitness level. But don’t let their simplicity fool you. Resistance band exercises are surprisingly effective and offer many benefits over traditional free weights.
1) Get a cost-effective workout
Whether you buy them individually or as a set, resistance bands are an inexpensive addition to your home gym equipment. Some resistance bands are even are sold with a guided exercise DVD.
2) Adapt easily for multiple fitness levels
Resistance bands come in multiple resistance levels, usually light, medium or heavy. You can further adjust the amount of resistance during exercise just by giving more or less slack on the band, as well as by combining multiple resistance bands to increase the challenge.
3) Modify familiar exercises
Resistance band exercises are often based on familiar strength-training moves. For example, if you stand on one end of the cord and curl your arm up while holding the other end, you’ve replaced your standard dumbbell bicep curl.
4) Exercise your whole body
Many resistance band kits come with suggested exercises for nearly every major muscle group in your body. Stepping on one end of a resistance band or looping it around a stationary object, for example, opens up many exercise possibilities.
5) Save on storage space
When you don’t have a lot of room for a home gym, resistance bands are a great option that store in very little space. You can hang them on a hook after you exercise, or coil them up to store in a box or drawer.
6) Exercise on the road
Because they are so small and portable, resistance bands are a great way to take your workout with you when you travel. There are many resistance band exercises that can easily be done in the small space of a hotel room.
7) Add variety to your workouts
Over time, your muscles adapt to any new exercise routine. It’s a good idea to mix it up by cross-training with free weights, machines and resistance band exercises. Each will work your muscles in a slightly different way.
8) Exercise safely, even when alone
Resistance bands offer strength-training without the risk of dropping a heavy weight on your foot or crushing your fingers between weight plates. That makes them ideal for working out when you don’t have a personal trainer or exercise partner to spot you.
9) Combine with other exercise equipment
While resistance bands work great on their own, they can also be combined with other exercise equipment. Performing bicep curls with both a resistance band and a dumbbell will give you the combined benefits of each type of equipment.
10) Get an effective workout
Although there are differences between free weight and resistance band exercises, both are effective. Picture the arc motion your arm makes while doing a bicep curl. Free weights will feel heaviest at the beginning of that arc, while resistance bands make your muscles work harder at the end of the arc (when the band is most taut). Either way, your body is moving against resistance, and that will give your muscles an effective workout.