More people are getting into Street Workout and Calisthenics than ever before, and one of the great things about this type of training is that we don’t need much extra equipment in terms of heavy weights or gym machines. But one type of equipment which is really useful and can make a huge impact on your progress are resistance bands.
This article discusses why everyone should own a full set of resistance bands if they want to reach their full potential and why they are more popular than ever before.
Resistance Bands help you to properly learn a new exercise or skill more quickly
This is really key for beginners or for anyone who is learning a new exercise or movement. We get stronger by progressively overloading our muscles so that they adapt. But what if we can’t even get the first rep? Or what if we can only do a few reps but with questionable ‘form’?
One of the problems which beginners face is that some exercises are just too difficult for them to even get started with. And if we can’t perform one rep for a certain exercise (for example a pull up, or a muscle up), then it can be really difficult to get anywhere.
They say that every journey begins with a single step, but sometimes getting that first step is really difficult.
Well, there are a couple of ways to overcome this hurdle. One way is to try performing ‘negative’ reps. So, someone who can’t yet do a pull up can use a step to get themselves up into the ‘finish’ position of a pull up and then try to lower themselves down in a controlled way in order to stress their muscles enough to cause a strength gain which will eventually help them to get a proper pull up.
The other way is to use resistance bands to provide assistance to an exercise, thus making it easier. So, a beginner trying to do their first pull up can use a resistance band to reduce the effort needed to get that pull up. They can do this by tying the resistance band to the pull up bar and then putting their feet through the other end. The elasticity of the band under their feet when stretched will then push them upwards, much like someone giving them a slight lift. The same technique can be used to learn the muscle up.
Arguably, everyone should use resistance bands when learning to do a muscle up, as it avoids the temptation to try getting up and over the bar in an unbalanced way (that is with one arm going above the bar before the other), which is an injury risk. Bands can even be used to learn to do a one armed pull up.
The great thing about resistance bands (and why they using them is better than performing negative reps), is that they come in different sizes (thickness), and each size gives a different level of assistance. So as you improve you can just use a thinner band, until no band is needed at all and you achieve your first unassisted rep.
They are also great for providing assistance to static moves too, like the back lever, front lever and planche. Again, reducing the size of the band as you make progress can help you to achieve these moves much quicker than you could without them.
Resistance Bands can be used to add resistance and therefore make you stronger
Just as they can be used to assist an exercise, resistance bands can, unsurprisingly, be used to provide resistance and make an exercise harder. We know that in order to strengthen and build our muscles we need progressively overload them. The best way to do this is to increase the resistance used.
So if we take push ups as an example – maybe you’ve got to a point where you can perform 25, or 35 push ups in a set. Well this number of reps is great for your muscular endurance, but going beyond this point isn’t the most efficient way to increase muscle size or strength. To build muscle we needs to work in a lower rep range which means making the exercise harder, and we can do this using a resistance band. Before moving into position to perform a push up we can put the band behind our back, holding hold one end in each hand. As you lower yourself down and then push back up the elasticity of the band will provide resistance against your movement making it more difficult. The thicker the band, the more the resistance.
Bands can be used to provide resistance for other common exercises like bar dips and squats:
..and other exercises such as bicep curls and shoulder press. Again, as you get stronger, you can just keep increasing the thickness of the bands.
Resistance Bands can be used to improve your flexibility and mobility
One of the most overlooked aspects of fitness is flexibility. Everyone like the idea of being strong and having good endurance, but most forget about being flexible and mobile. Both of these things are important as they allow us to move better.
Resistance bands allow us to perform both static and dynamic stretches, allowing to improve both our flexibility and our mobility. With bands we can perform stretches that we can’t normally achieve without a partner to help us.
The thinner bands are usually better for stretching, but again it makes sense to have a full set of them so that you can adapt the resistance depending on your level and goals.
Resistance Bands can be used to warm up before a workout
People have different opinions about warming up before a workout. I personally like to make sure my muscles are warm and flexible if I know it’s going to be an intense session. Performing common exercises with a thin resistance band is a great way to achieve this.
Hopefully you now have a much better understanding of the benefits of using resistance bands. If you would like to take your training to the next level then you can order a full set of them at a great price in our store today: