Can Resistance Bands Really Work?

by Lynne Sheldon

About Lynne Sheldon

Lynne Sheldon has over 12 years of dance experience, both in studios and performance groups. She is an avid runner and has studied several types of yoga. Sheldon now works as a freelance writer, editor and book reviewer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and art history from Boston University and recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in writing from Pacific University.

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Resistance bands or tubing can be a good tool for strength training, and they work well when used correctly and regularly. Rather than lifting heavy weights or using weight machines at the gym, you can purchase resistance bands to use at home and perform a variety of exercises. They will tone your muscles and help you gain strength, as well as help you lose or maintain your weight by burning fat and calories.

Definition and Purpose

Resistance bands look like large rubber bands. They are lightweight, and when stretched, they provide resistance, which works your muscles. This is a versatile piece of equipment that you can use to work your entire body, making it ideal for your strength-training regimen. The purpose of strength training is to build and maintain your muscle mass, which decreases with age. It can also help reduce your total body fat and increase your metabolism, since your body works harder to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat.

How to Use

For the maximum health and fitness benefits, aim to use resistance bands two to three times a week, with each workout lasting between 20 and 30 minutes. Before starting your resistance band routine, warm up by walking for five to 10 minutes and stretch the muscles you are going to use. In each workout, aim to do 12 to 15 repetitions and two to three sets of each exercise, depending on your current fitness level, or work your way up to these numbers as necessary.

Suggested Exercises

Strength-training workouts should include exercises for all of the major muscles in your body, which will help you achieve a balanced look, as well as gain overall strength. You can work your arms with resistance bands by using them to do biceps curls and triceps extensions, or strengthen your lower body with squats and your abdominals with kneeling crunches. You can also use the bands to perform bench presses and seated rows to work your chest and back.

Considerations and Precautions

As with any piece of exercise equipment, resistance bands will only work if you use them properly. You should check the bands regularly for any tears or holes, and replace them as needed. Wear athletic shoes and keep good posture, performing the exercises in a controlled fashion without rushing. Once you can easily do 15 repetitions, increase the amount of resistance you use by choosing a thicker band to keep building new muscle.

Photo Credits:

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.