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Resistance band exercises are perfect for the home or the gym, and they can be used for general strength and agility training as well as for rehabilitation purposes. Resistance bands come in a variety of resistance levels, making a diversified workout possible. To make the most of resistance band exercises, one should start by performing simple exercises with lighter resistance levels, and move up to more difficult exercises with the thicker, stronger resistance bands. Resistance band exercises can generally be split into three categories: upper body, lower body, and rehabilitation exercises.
Rehabilitation exercises are performed when recovering from an injury. Physical therapists may have a patient perform a variety of resistance band exercises pertaining to that particular injury. A shoulder injury, for example, may mean performing a variety of rotation exercises, in which one end of the resistance band is fixed to a post or other solid object, and the other end is grasped in the hand. The arm is then moved forward and backward, or side to side, pulling against the resistance of the band. For fresh injuries, a very light resistance band should be used, and as strength increases in the shoulder, a thicker band can be used. The resistance bands themselves are often color coded, with lighter colors representing less resistance and darker colors representing more resistance.
Simple resistance band exercises can be completed in the home. Bicep curls are a popular exercise that is easy to execute. It mimics a dumbbell bicep curl, except in place of hard weights, the band is used. One end of the band is looped around the ball of the foot, and the other end is grasped in the hand. A biceps curl involves simply pulling upward on the resistance band while keeping the elbow planted at one's side. This focuses the resistance on the biceps rather than on the shoulder or forearm.
Squats are another common version of resistance band exercises. Grasping the ends of the resistance band in either hand, the middle of the band gets pinched beneath both feet. The hands should then be raised to about chest height to get the most resistance out of the band. The user will then perform a squat so the legs bend at about a 90 degree angle, hold briefly, then return to the starting position. The same starting position can be used for bent over resistance band rows, in which the user bends over and pulls each end of the band upward toward the chest.
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