Exercise Resistance Bands
Exercise resistance bands got their origin in the world of physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Since those beginnings, exercise bands have permeated every gym, every level of training, and every type of athlete. Bands come as single tubes, braided tubes, bands, in different lengths, varying thickness, and options for resistance. Colors specify resistance strength, while handles allow for variety of use in exercise.
Bands are often in misused in one of two ways. A band is selected that does not provide enough resistance. This causes an individual to overstretch the band they selected and may lead to the band breaking. Bands should never be stretched to more than 2.5 times their length. Instead of overstretching a band, use one that provides more resistance, or use 2 bands together.
On the opposite end of the misuse spectrum is selecting a band that provides too much resistance. With a band that is too “heavy”, the intended muscles are not targeted as assisting muscles are engaged to overcome the resistance from the band. A band provides resistance in both directions and must be controlled as it is stretched and returned from a stretched position. A band with too much resistance is typically not controlled well. Opt for a lower resistance and focus on your form. You may cheat while lifting heavy weight, but there is no need to cheat while doing resistance band exercises.
Do not use a band that has been compromised. A band with tears or holes should no longer be used. Care must also be taken to ensure the bands do not slip from their attachments. For example before loading a band with tension, double check that it will not slip out from under your feet, or away from the door frame.
Resistance Band Exercises
Place the band behind your back at the level of your shoulder blades. Grasp a handle on each side with the right and left hand. The band will give you additional resistance on the “up” part of the push and will force you to control the added resistance on the “down” part.
Sit on the ground with your legs straight and out to the front. Place a resistance band around the middle of your feet and grasp a handle with each side. Perform a seated row motion by driving your elbows back. Maintain your back tall, and pause for 2-3 seconds while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Step on the band. Reach down and grab the handles near the ground. Stand up as if performing a deadlift while getting resistance from the bands as you raise up.
Place a band on a chair and sit on it. Grasp a handle with each hand and lift your arms overhead. You will feel resistance on the up phase of this movement and will have to control the return movement against the band.
Stand on the band. Grasp a handle and lift your arm out to the side until it comes to shoulder height. You can perform this exercise with both arms simultaneously, but doing it one at a time may allow greater range of motion.
Lat Pull Downs
Attach one end of the band above your head at about the height of your arm when it is extended. Face the attachment, grasp the handle with one hand and kneel down. Keep your chest tall, perform the exercise as a modified row/lat pull down. Focus on bringing your elbow back and pause as you squeeze your mid back muscles.
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