Exercise bands are a great alternative to free weights and exercise machines for those who don’t have the space or the budget to store and use traditional gym equipment. Their minimal weight and compact size make them ideal for home workouts, warmups for other sports and traveling. But for a resistance band newbie looking to adopt new exercise tools, the market provides a lot of variety that can be confusing at first glance. If you’re wondering what are the best exercise bands to buy, compare your situation with the following information.
The Different Types of Resistance Bands
What follows is a list of different types of resistance bands and how they can be used. For each type of band there will be a range of different tensions available which are often colour coded. The most suitable tension will depend on your strength, the body part you’re working and the type of exercise you’re doing. It’s often best to have a few different tensions available to you to allow you do a range of different exercises with different parts of your body.
Loop bands are basically oversized rubber bands. Picture a typical rubber band that you’d have in your desk drawer in your office. Make it wider by a few inches, longer by a foot or two and you have a loop band made for exercise. Smaller loop bands are typically used to work your legs and lower body. You stand or lay inside the loop with it around your ankles, knees or thighs and stretch your legs apart with the band creating resistance. Larger loop bands can be used to work your upper body by holding the loop to the floor with your foot and pulling up with your arms.
Therapy bands are similar to loop bands, but rather than creating a circle, they’re simply a length of rubber material. Often the rubber is much softer and forgiving than what’s found with loop bands so as not to exacerbate the injury you’re trying to rehabilitate. If you’re seeing a physiotherapist for physical rehabilitation you might want to ask about therapy band use.
Tube bands are made of material similar to medical grade rubber tubing. Often, they can be fitted with handles to help with grip. Tube bands can be used to work the upper body, often by holding one handle on the ground with your foot and pulling upwards with your arm. They can also be wrapped around a pole or other stable structure to provide resistance. You can also attach ankle straps to the band to allow for lower body workouts as well. Tube bands can also be constructed into a figure eight shape with handles on each end. Figure eight bands are often shorter than regular tube bands and facilitate exercises that use both hands or a combination of hand and foot to work the upper body.
A ring band is made of a rubber ring or a series of rubber rings often with handles on each end. Each ring between the handles can act also as a handle. This means you can use longer or shorter lengths of the band depending on the type of workout you’re doing or the area of your body you’re focusing on.
A lateral band is typically made of a flat piece of rubber with ankle cuffs attached to each end. It’s about a foot long and used to work the legs with lateral steps and movements. Although similar exercises can be done with a loop band, the ankle cuffs make this more comfortable on the skin.
Pull Up Bands
Pull up bands can be used to help those who have trouble completing a single pull up or chin up. The resistance band is looped over the pull up bar and attached to the ankles or wrapped around the knees providing extra support. They help the arms pull the rest of the body upwards towards the bar.
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