Resistance Bands 101
“Pursuit of optimal fitness is a journey, a constant struggle, a lifestyle; a process where intensity during each exercise session, what you eat every single day and patience over years is what’s required… AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN OVERNIGHT!” ― The Fitness Doc”
The Pursuit of Fitness
Finding one’s own personal version of optimal fitness is the pursuit of many, yet not everyone succeeds. “LIFE” you may exclaim, “ugh, it gets in the way!”. For some, we’ll call them optimal fitness warriors, life never seems to get in the way of finding and maintaing optimal fitness levels. These optimal fitness warriors have mastered maintaining discipline during life’s unpredictable moments. You know, the moments which drive you to eat a large piece of chocolate cake for dinner instead of grilled chicken and veggies, or cause you to bypass the gym on your way home from work even though you diligently packed a gym bag in anticipation of making that kick boxing class. Whatever that unpredictable moment is, from being too tired to lace up your sneakers to dealing with personal issues, those optimal fitness warriors aren’t phased. If you don’t happen to be an optimal fitness warrior don’t give in just yet! An optimal fitness warrior is comprised of a few simple qualities: dedication to their routine, a no excuses mentality, and the realization that sometime you have to put yourself first. No problem, you can possess these qualities too!
The Weakest Link
For anyone struggling to find their personal optimal fitness level, I’m guessing there is at least one weak link in the chain. Do you have a lack of self control in the sweets department? I do! Find it difficult to fit in a workout because you don’t have time, or when you do have time you’re too tired? Maybe you get to the gym but your mental toughness doesn’t withstand your workout? Whatever the weakest link is, figure out a reasonable way to fix it, and don’t get discouraged if you slip up here and there. Like the Fitness Doc says “AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN OVERNIGHT!”. Slowly make lifestyle changes that fit you. Before you know it your weakest link will slowly becoming your strongest.
The Strongest Band
Have you figured out what your weakest link is? Or maybe you’re one of the optimal fitness warriors I was talking about earlier. Either way, these tidbits of information regarding resistance bands will benefit you. If your main struggle is finding time or the energy to pump iron next to to burly guy at the gym this information is for you. If your struggle is finding mental toughness or encountering boredom during your sweat session then this information is for you. On the other hand, if you already have it all together this information is still for you. Why not learn something new and diversify?
Something for All Fitness Levels
One of my favorite aspects of resistance band training is that it suits every fitness level including the fitness levels of your individual muscle groups. The beauty of resistance band training is that you can easily adjust the level of difficulty by adjusting where you grip the band or by switching to a different level of resistance. Say you are performing core work. You are laying on your back, legs at a 90 degree angle, gripping your bands near the handles, and your feet are resting in the middle of the band. You start lowering your legs to a 45 degree angle, but find that the motion is too hard. What do you do? Bring your legs back up to a 90 degree angle and re-grip the bands closer to your feet. You’ve now created more tension in the band, therefore making it easier to lift and lower your legs and effectively work your core at your current fitness level. Once that becomes too easy, simply grip the band closer to your feet. This creates less tension in the band and makes the exercise more difficult.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Favorite aspect #2 about resistance band training is that it’s easily incorporated into a variety of fitness routines. Maybe you’ve been performing the same workout routine for years. In the beginning the routine was great! You saw positive changes in your body and felt fantastic. However, after a few months of performing the same routine you’ve noticed that the changes have slowed down and you’ve plateaued. Your muscles need a wakeup call! They are dying for a change in routine. Adding resistance bands to your routine allows you to perform new exercises, or make current exercises more challenging. For example, say you’re a yoga person, incorporate resistance bands into leg high by holding the handles and looping the band around your foot that’s in the air. Once you find the catch, the point where your leg gets stuck, you can pulse your foot up. Now you’ve added extra strengthening to your yoga routine.
Resistance bands are engineered to maintain resistance throughout the entire motion of an exercise as they utilize both the concentric and eccentric part of an exercise. This means that anyone who is big into weight lifting can incorporate resistance bands into their routine as a band can be used to preform any exercise you normally would use dumbbells or a machine to perform. Resistance bands also allow you to move more freely and achieve a greater range of motion than free weights. This allows you to perform a wider variety of exercises with a band including the ability to imitate real life motions. Are you trying to improve your golf swing? Yes, then grab a resistance band and get swinging!
Being able to take resistance bands anywhere is yet another reason I love them. No matter which brand or set you purchase you’ll be able package them up into a travel size bag. This means no more excuses for a missed workout. With the help of a door anchor you can set up a cable station anywhere. So instead of surfing the web during your lunch break, or spending an extra hour laying on the beach during your vacation, you can fit in a high intensity workout. If you prefer to exercise from the comfort of your home instead of the gym you can do that too! The sky is the limit for exercising with resistance bands.
“They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab…”
In addition to strength training, resistance bands are great for rehabilitating an injury. Since you are able to work isolated muscle groups with resistance bands it’s possible to work injury free areas of your body without causing further damage to the injured area. Similarly, you can also target the injured area to slowly strengthen and heal your injury. As always, make sure to consult a doctor before starting any rehabilitation or workout program if you are injured.
There are many ways to get back on track if you feel like you’re slacking in the pursuit of optimal fitness. Whether it’s time, quality of your workout or constant travel that gets in your way of becoming an optimal fitness warrior you can make changes. Try incorporating resistance bands into your preexisting workout. If you don’t have a routine, tryout some resistance band workouts and make them your routine. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your current fitness level is. There are always ways to find and capitalize upon your optimal fitness!
“No Need to Stretch the Truth about Resistance Bands” – SPARKPEOPLE
“Selecting and Effectively Using Rubber Band Resistance Exercises” – American College of Sports Medicine
“Full-Body Resistance Band Workout” – Men’s Fitness
Share this info!