How to Use Resistance Bands and Tubes

If you can learn how to use resistance bands and tubes safely, your options for effective strength training will really open up, regardless of how much time or space you have to devote to exercise. Unlike bulky exercise equipment or weight sets, a resistance band or tube can be easily stored in a gym tote or in a drawer of your work desk. This allows you to take even a spare 10 minutes during your day to do some crucial strength training.

Basics of resistance bands and tubes

Resistance bands and tubes are essentially elastic cords with handles on each end or bands that resemble huge, thick rubber bands. Most have some type of fabric covering for added comfort while exercising. The more weight you apply against a resistance band or tube, the harder it is to pull, so it offers benefits very similar to those linked to lifting weights. One of the primary safety benefits is that the weight releases as soon as you stop pushing or pulling, so there's no need for a spotter. In general, lighter-colored bands and tubes have less resistance, while darker colors provide for a heavier workout.

Types of exercises you can do

Resistance bands and tubes are ideal for adding a strength element to practically any type of workout exercise. Some favorites include biceps curls, hamstring curls and rowing exercises. Combination exercises, such as squats with added arm and abdominal exercises, are also extremely common. The Mayo Clinic offers a number of helpful video tutorials for using resistance bands and tubes.

Resistance band and tube safety

When you're using resistance bands and tubes, it's important to understand your own limits, as well as the ways in which your muscles are intended to move. While most weight-training machines are built to hold your exercises within a safe range of motion, your resistance exercises have no such guidelines. Start with light resistance and a workout that you know well, and stop if anything hurts. Discuss your goals and challenges with your doctor or a certified fitness trainer first to find a workout that's both safe and effective for your needs.

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