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Do Resistance Bands Work For Exercise

Updated on March 14, 2016
Bob Schroeder profile image

I started using resistance bands for exercise when I was rehabing from shoulder surgery. My doctor laid out a program for me using bands.

Resistance Bands Exercises Really Work

Bands come in many sizes and strengths
Bands come in many sizes and strengths | Source

I Thought Exercise Bands Were For Sissys

Boy, was I wrong.

I was introduced to resistance bands after I had shoulder surgery and my therapist developed a rehab program using bands.

He showed me the various resistance levels that you could get for just a few dollars at almost any store that sold exercise equipment. I started out with red bands that were at the lowest level of resistance. I was shocked when he had me try to pull the next level up, which is blue. I could barely pull the band with my good arm. Next he brought out the black band, which felt like trying to pull a tire.

I had no idea just how many varieties of resistance bands there were on the market.

You can get:

  • resistance bands that are tubes
  • bands that are flat and 6 inches wide
  • exercise bands that can be combined to increase the resistance level
  • bands that can be hooked to your doors for exercise
  • bands that have hand holders on one or both ends

Don't Be Fooled

Resistance bands are a powerful way to build muscle and trim your body

How Do These Exercise Bands Work

The whole concept of resistance bands sort of escaped me until I actually started using them and then I understood.

The best way to get the concept is to get a bicycle inner tube, hold your hands on opposite sides and try to pull your arms in different directions. That's what I'm talking about, unless you are really strong, you won't hardly be able to pull more than an inch or so. That's the way bands work.

You can't imagine how weak your shoulders are until you take a red band (which is the easiest) hold the hands about a foot apart and try to pull the hands apart. I was really shocked when I first did this and both my shoulders hurt and I could only go a couple of inches. This was when I was doing therapy, so I was under the watchful eye of my doctor.

I actually began to enjoy working with the bands for my shoulders. I advanced from the red to the blue but never even tried to do the black ones. I wanted my shoulders to improve, not be destroyed by using to tough resistance.

Work Your Whole Body With Resistance Bands

Have You Ever Used Exercise Bands

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Your Fitness Program Needs Exercise Bands

Resistance bands can be tubes or flat bands
Resistance bands can be tubes or flat bands | Source

What Can You Do With Exercise Bands

Let me just go out on a limb and say, you can do any exercise with bands that you do with weights.

What does that mean? Here are a few examples. With bands you can:

  • do curls for your biceps
  • do tricep exercises
  • perform butterfly lifts for your shoulders
  • execute overhead lifts, just like with a barbell
  • do rowing movements for your upper back
  • perform squats with resistance
  • dead weight lifts are also possible, with resistance
  • do wrist lifts to tone your wrists
  • perform ankle exercises with resistance

The only exercise I haven't figured out how to do, is my side to side neck exercises. I can probably perfect a movement if I hold the band in one hand against my head and then use that resistance as I pull my head in the other direction. Should work.

There are probably 6 different exercises that can be done for the shoulders alone.

Once you get to the point that you can do 20 movements with that level of resistance, you can add another band and start over at a lower number of reps, just like you would do with free weights.

It doesn't matter if you use the flat bands or the tube bands. Vitually all of these fitness exercises can be performed using bands.

Just as free weights have the pounds written on the weight, the color of the band will tell you the amount of resistance on that band. Combining the bands will do the same thing as adding extra weights.

Resistance Bands Offer Great Flexibility

Band colors
Levels of colors
red or yellow
lowest resistance
good for starting an exercise program
mid range resistance
may be the highest level you need
really tough
you need to be very strong for this level

Light, Portable and Inexpensive

Take your fitness program anywhere with resistance bands
Take your fitness program anywhere with resistance bands | Source

Use Resistance Bands Just About Anywhere

If You Travel, You Need Bands

If you are traveling for business or on vacation, do you look for hotels that advertise that they have a fitness center? When you get there, do you discover that all they have is a treadmill and a couple of free weights?

I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. When on the road, for whatever reason, I like to workout and try to keep my fitness level up to par. Trying to get on the one and only treadmill along with 10 other people is really frustrating. Sometimes the equipment isn't even in working order.

This is why I always carry my bands with me. I can stay in my own room and do a complete fitness routine, and not have to fight others for the equipment. I can do a head to toe workout and not even leave my room.

I have flat resistane bands and the tube bands with handles and also the piece that you can put into the door jam to use with the tubes.

With these few pieces of equipment, I can get a good strength workout on my:

  • shoulders,
  • arms,
  • abs,
  • back,
  • quads,
  • hamstrings
  • ankles

As I progress through my strength training I can move up to a different color of band or I can combine two of the tubes to really up the resistance.

My wife also uses the bands on trips and sometimes at home.

To Wrap It All Up

As I have said many times in this hub, resistance bands offer much more flexibility and convenience than other forms of exercise equipment.

  1. Free weights are heavy and each one is only good for that weight. Exercise bands can be combined in many different way to make dozens of resistance levels that are equal to a whole rack of free weights.
  2. Treadmills and weight machines are really big, heavy and are very expensive. Bands only weigh a few ounces generally cost under $20
  3. If you travel and want to stay in shape, resistance bands are very easy to carry in your luggage. You can stay in any hotel and still do your daily workout.

All in all, I can only say that if you haven't tried to use resistance bands, now is a great time to invest $20 to $30 and get a complete set. This might be one of the best buys you make this year.

Have You Used Resistance Bands, Tell Us What You Think

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