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A Pilates exercise band, also called a resistance band, is a tool used to increase the effectiveness of certain exercises. Although typically used with traditional Pilates moves, the Pilates exercise band can be incorporated into any type of strength training or stretching routine. Gyms and stores that sell exercise equipment or yoga and Pilates supplies are excellent places to track down a Pilates exercise band.
Typically, a Pilates exercise band is a thick ribbon made of material with a great deal of stretch, such as latex or rubber. The bands come in a variety of lengths and strengths to provide varying levels of resistance when using the band. Some versions also resemble tubes and feature handles on each end for easier grasping. These varieties usually offer much more resistance than ribbon bands, but are less adaptable to multiple exercises.
One of the great advantages of the inexpensive Pilates exercise band is that it is small and travel friendly. With carefully chosen exercises, a great workout can be achieved using only the band for resistance. Using a Pilates exercise band can be a great way to get a strength-building workout when traveling without access to free weights or a gym.
Typical free weight moves, such as bicep curls or shoulder extensions, can easily be performed with a band instead. To do a bicep curl with a Pilates exercise bend, stand with one foot holding the center of the band down to the floor, then grasp the ends or handles and perform a standard bicep curl movement. The resistance level of the band works just like weights do; the more resistance, the higher the weight. To perform a shoulder-sculpting lateral pull down, stretch the band between the hands over the head, moving hands closer to increase the level of resistance. Contracting the muscles in the shoulders and upper back, pull out on the band while bending elbows, lowering the band to shoulder height.
A Pilates exercise band can also be used to help improve flexibility. To help increase the effectiveness of a common stretch for the back and legs, try sitting and stretching one leg out in front with the center of the band wrapped around the foot. Grabbing the ends or handles, pull the body forward toward the extended foot while pulling tight on the band.. The resistance will help deepen the stretch, allowing the hamstrings and lower back to push farther.
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