The New Face of Resistance Band Workouts

Resistance Bands: Good for More Than Therapy Workouts

Resistance bands have long been used in therapy settings to increase strength at injured sites, but are often looked at with skepticism by the mainstream fitness enthusiast. In some cases, the skepticism is warranted - bands with a low level of resistance won't do much to increase strength in those with an already-healthy strength training routine. It would be like asking someone who's currently lifting 30-pound dumbbells to switch to a set of 5-pounders.

But resistance bands have many benefits that traditional strength training equipment lacks. Namely, resistance bands offer resistance in both directions - the eccentric and concentric movements of an exercise - requiring constant muscular engagement. Also, the level of resistance of a band increases throughout the concentric portion of the exercise (as the band lengthens), rather than becoming easier at the "top" of the exercise.

Think, for instance, of a biceps curl. When you perform a biceps curl with dumbbells, the hardest part of the movement comes during the bottom half of the curl, as you bend your elbows and first begin pull them from your sides up toward your shoulders as you work against gravity lift the weight and shorten your biceps muscle. When your elbows are fully bent and the dumbbells are at your shoulders, you almost get a "rest" from the exercise - the resistance isn't loaded on your biceps at this angle.

Resistance bands are very different. When you perform a biceps curl with a resistance band, the easiest portion of the movement is at the beginning of the exercise, when the resistance band is at its loosest. As you bend your elbows and pull the band toward your shoulders, the band gets longer and tighter, requiring progressively greater muscle engagement as you draw the bend to your shoulders. When you reach the top of the exercise, you don't get a "rest" as you do with dumbbells - you're actually working your hardest.

Used correctly, and at the right level of resistance, band workouts can actually significantly improve muscular strength. More fitness programs are acknowledging and harnessing the benefits of resistance bands, gradually bringing them into mainstream fitness. Even CrossFit and Olympic-style weightlifting programs harness the power of bands to improve athletic performance.

Check out a few of the boutique-style programs relying on resistance bands to enhance participants' fitness.

CLX Consecutive Loop Band Workout

Resistance Band Squats
Laura Williams

Theraband recently released a new style of resistance band - the CLX Consecutive Loop band - that offers consecutive, handle-like loops across the full length of the band. This makes it possible to adjust resistance by shortening the length of the band as you use different loops, placing them around your hands, feet, arms or legs. The result is a surprisingly challenging and versatile tool you can add to practically any workout.

More »

WIMBERLEAN Resistance Loop Workout

Jason Wimberley/WIMBERLEAN

Jason Wimberly is a former professional dancer who created the WIMBERLEAN workout using nothing more than bodyweight, dance-inspired moves and a small, looped resistance band. The exercises look easy, but your legs and body will shake in response to this tough routine.

More »

Studio-Style SPIDERBANDS Workout

Franci Cohen

The official SPIDERBANDS contraption uses a combination of handled bands suspended from the ceiling that can be connected or used with different apparatus, including bars, bikes and BOSU Balance Trainers. While official SPIDERBANDS studios are currently only available in New York City, this at-home routine requires nothing more than two resistance bands and a sturdy anchor point, such as a pullup bar.

More »

ChaiseFitness Therabands Workout


ChaiseFitness is like a combination barre and dance workout that uses long, flat Therabands to make each exercise harder. Try the workout on your own with this home-based routine.

More »

Da Vinci Body Board Review

Da Vinci Bodyboard in action. Da Vinci Bodyboard

Da Vinci Body Board workouts are popping up at studios around the country. These Pilates-meet-dance-meet-resistance training workouts typically last 30 minutes and use a number of different types of resistance bands all attached to a backboard-like wooden board.

More »

Continue Reading