Resistance tubing or resistance bands: Many people view them as the same thing -- an elastic device you can use for resistance exercise. However, the two devices differ despite their shared benefits. Resistance bands are flat pieces of latex, approximately six inches wide. They come in rolls and can be cut to any length. Non-latex versions are available if you have a latex allergy. Resistance tubes are lengths of rubber tubing that come with handles at each end.
Band and Tubing Anchors
Versatile and easy to use, you anchor bands and tubes by holding them under your feet or wrapping them around your body, so you don't need additional equipment. Their versatility also means you can anchor them at different heights to create variations in your workout. Anchor a band or tube in a doorway, for example, to adjust the line of pull from overhead, at mid-body level and low to the floor. These changes in height provide more variety of movement, increasing range of motion with stretches or challenging different muscles during exercise.
Both bands and tubes use colors to denote the level of difficulty. Manufacturers don't yet have a standard set of colors -- generally, the lighter, the color the easier the resistance level, so veer toward darker colors for lower body exercises and use medium or lighter colors if you're new to exercise or recovering from injury. You can further alter the intensity by standing farther away from the anchor point or doubling the tube or band.
Cost and Durability
Tubes generally last longer than bands, as the thicker tubing is more resistant to wear and tear. Bands wear out relatively quickly, but rolls are inexpensive to purchase. For some tubes, you must purchase handles separately. For both, their use is not unlimited. Check any band or tube carefully before working out with it. If the rubber is cracked, torn or fraying, replace it. If you use a damaged band or tube, it might snap during an exercise, which can cause injury.
Tubes and bands pack easily. They are lightweight and take little room, so are perfect for traveling or when you're heading out on a business trip. In addition, since you don't need extra equipment to use them, they are handy to have when you're sitting in a hotel room without access to, or the motivation to find, the hotel gym. You can use them to work your upper and lower body as well as your core, removing any easy excuse to avoid working out when out of town.
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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.