Beginners Guide On How To Use Resistance Bands
The first thing that I want to jump into –
One of the nice things about Resistance bands is, They have five levels of resistance, in other words, if you were to equate that to dumbbells, would it be the same as only having five dumbbells and the answer is no and that’s because of linear variable resistance.
So let’s, jump into that. Let’s, talk about what that is, and how do you get different levels of resistance using this tube style band? As an example, there’s a few ways that you can increase a resistance by stretching the band more now with these, I can stretch the band more by widening my stance.
So if I stand really narrow, you see I ‘ Ve got more band here, so it’s, not stretched as much in my starting position. So it’s. Gon na be easier here at the beginning, or if I want to pre stretch the band I can widen my stance, and now I’m, stretching the band creating more resistance, so that is the basics of linear variable resistance.
Now there’s, a couple different ways that you can do it, but there’s, a limitation with these, and that is because of the handles themselves. So it’s, nice and convenient to have these handles to grab on to, but it also eliminates one of the ways that you can create different levels of resistance if we go over here to the loop style band.
So if I stand on this anchor it under my feet, the exact same way, I can grab this at the top like this or if I want more resistance and if I want to adjust it in incremental levels, I can just grab further down on the band And create more resistance, go even further down pretty stretch it more and create even more resistance, and I can keep doing that so I’ve got almost.
I’m, not going to say unlimited levels of resistance, but I ‘ Ve got so many different variations and that’s. Why? When people ask well, what is the equivalent resistance level in one of these resistance bands compared to free weights – and the first thing I say is depends on how much you stretch it so, for example, with the extra light band.
This has a range of about 5 to 15 pounds again. The difference between 5 pounds versus 15 is how much you stretch it. When we come over to the light band, we’ve got 20 to 35 pounds of resistance. We’re.
Coming to a medium band, 30 to 50, pounds of resistance, the heavy band roughly 40 to 80 pounds of resistance, and then we come into the monster here. This is the extra heavy and we’ve got anywhere from fifty to a hundred and twenty pounds of resistance.
So let’s. Talk about all those ways that we can adjust the resistance level, so you saw two ways already: one is our foot position? How wide is our stance and how much are we stretching the band? The second one is adjusting our hand position, which is why I like these flat style bands, because I have more flexibility than I do with a tube style.
But the other way is adjusting the distance from our anchor point. So that takes us into the next topic, which is anchored exercises versus unanchored exercises. So if anyone’s following the ta2 program, which stands for train any time, train anywhere, which is the program that I developed using resistance bands in the first month of the program, we do unanchored exercises, meaning that we’re anchoring the Band with our own body, the reason I do that is it’s, giving you a foundation of exercises that you can do anywhere you don’t need a doorway.
You don’t need to anchor it to a pull-up bar. All you need is your own body, so you could do this on the beach. You can do it on top of a mountain. You can do it on the moon. If you wanted to, if you can get to the moon, so let’s, talk about anchored exercises, so those are unanchored, meaning we’re using our body now anchored exercises, meaning we’re, anchoring it to something.
So there’s, a couple ways to do that. The first I reach over here. This is a door anchor and this is a really awesome little tool. And if you look at this on one side, it’s, got a round piece of foam with a hard plastic core in it that the strap runs through and on the other side is a loop.
Now we can use any door. I ‘ Ve got a fake door here. Yes, I have a fake door in the studio. I’m, going to come over here and show you how this works so open the door and you put the soft foam side through the door.
Keep the strap nice and flat, and you’re, going to shut the door now. I do recommend doing it. The opposite way that I just did it, meaning it’s better to anchor on the side of the door that closes and that way, when you’re pulling on this, there’s, no chance of the door coming open.
You’re, actually pulling the door shut, which is what you want to do so don’t really have a choice here, so that is step one if you do have to anchor it on the side of the door. That opens make sure you lock the door eliminate that risk of this thing I mean open.
So now we take AB and we run it through the loop and then we run it through itself. It’s called the larks nut, and that is how we anchor the band. Now we can come over. We do all sorts of different exercises exercises.
I can do rows. I could do biceps here and depending on where we anchor the band. We can get different angles so, for example, right here we ‘ Ve got something that’s close to chest height fire, to put it over the top of the door.
Now we can do things like triceps push downs. We can do lat. Pull-Downs anything from a high angle and of course we can do the opposite, we can go low and we can do biceps curls different things now here’s, one of the things common questions that I get they say.
Well, how do I keep the door anchor force from sliding up and down the door? So if you’re, doing a high anchor point and you’re pulling down you don’t want to do it on the side of the door, because, as you pull of course, it’s going to Want to slide down same thing: if you’re anchoring low it’s.
Gon na want to pull up so anchor over the top of the door or go underneath the door so make sure any of those low points or high points or going to the top of the door bottom of the door. Anything else you can go if it’s, pretty much from let’s, say mid thigh to shoulder height, then you’re.
Definitely gonna want to anchor it on the side of the door. Now, going back to what we were talking about with linear variable, resistance just want to show you the door anchor here. Our third way of creating more resistance again is stretching the band, but now we’re gonna.
Do it by distancing ourselves from our anchor points so the further I step away, the more I stretch the band. So now I’m, creating more resistance. Let’s say that I’m in the middle of my set and I get to five reps.
I go it’s too hard. All I have to do two things one. I can step forward, therefore Leslie in the resistance. Now I can finish my set or the other thing that I can do, is I just let a little bit of the band slip through my hand, and I can adjust the resistance level that way now.
You can also do the exact same thing with your foot position. Let’s, say we go back to our biceps curls same exact situation. I start with a nice wide position and I grip the band really low and I’m doing my set.
I go uh that’s. Five, I got five more to go, won’t, be able to do it’s too heavy one. I can narrow my feet or I can let a little band slip through my hand, so lots of ways to adjust resistance level when using these loop style bands and that’s.
Why I gravitated toward these years ago, and that’s? Why I prefer these over the tube style bands? Okay, now there’s, a couple variations when it comes to adjusting our foot position or hand positions.
So let me show you those real quick, so let me grab this extra light band now. A lot of the big guys are like what am I going to use an extra light band for, but trust me if you use it the right way for certain exercises.
This band is very helpful. I use this band a lot so here’s, a good example. Let’s say we want to do side raises for shoulders here so now I can just go ahead and stand on it with one foot or I could stand on it with two feet depending on how you want to do it, and you see That if I grab it here there’s, not enough resistance at the bottom.
So one way I can do it grabbing down lower and create resistance that way now another option. If I want to grab inside the loop, I can just lay the band across and I can step on it, one foot or even two feet that’s.
Another way to do it or if I want to create different angles of pull there’s, a lot of flexibility, so, for example, when it comes to side raises, I don’t just want resistance in a vertical plane. Ideally, I would like resistance at this angle right here, so what I can do, if I’m going to do it on right side anchor it under my right foot.
Now I’m going to step on it with my left grab. It with my right now look at this angle of pull right here. So not only am i adjusting my resistance level, but I can change the direction of it, which is one of the nice things about resistance.
Band training again is having resistance in different planes, and this plays out with a lot of different exercises. For example, I’ve got a dumbbell here. I always say that when you’re doing free weights, one of the disadvantages of free weights in a lot of exercises, I can lock out so, for example, if I’m doing biceps curls and I squeeze to the top right here At the top should be with the peak of my contraction, this should be the most resistance.
Unfortunately, it’s. Not. I could sit here all day because I’m kind of locked out here like this, because again I only have resistance in this vertical plane. Now, if I take bands again whether I incur them over there on the door or use a pull-up bar same thing, I can change my angle of pull now, as i curl this up.
Alright, they’re at the peak of the contraction I’ve got maximum resistance and that’s. What you want, when you’re building muscle, you want to activate as many muscle fibers as possible, and so that’s.
Why those good squeezes at the top it’s like an isometric contraction, are very important in having maximum resistance at the peak of that contraction is really important. So one of the things that I love about resistance bands – okay, so we talked about all the different ways to adjust our resistance level from widening your feet.
Distanced yourself from your anchor point, adjusting your hand position. Obviously, you can go up or down in resistance level from band to band, but there is one more way that we can increase resistance and it’s.
The same way that we would do it if we were in the gym. Think about. If you do bench, press – and you put – you know 135 on there so with that’s, a plate on each side and you say well, I’m, ready to jump up and say you put another plate on each side and that’s 225, but we can do the same thing with bands and that’s.
Simply just adding bands together and all you want to do – try to delay them as flat as possible, but don’t. Try to micromanage. Is it’s, not a big deal? If there’s little twists in them, you just hang them under your feet and there you go now.
You just increase the resistance level, and now you have even more flexibility, because you can do the same things with widening or narrowing your stance, adjusting your hand, position, etc so tons of options when it comes to changing your resistance level with bands.
So, even though we only have five different levels of resistance, there’s at least an entire dumbbell rack worth of resistance level in just those five bands. Now what are some of the disadvantages of these bands versus the tube style? Well, the tube style.
Have these nice fancy handles here with soft little padding on them nice and comfortable? These are little rough on your hands, which is why I recommend gloves. Now I went 20 plus years of working out in the gym, with free weights.
Never ever using gloves when it comes to resistance bands. I always use them because just the texture of them as they stretch it, creates a lot of friction. So you don’t want to take the skin off your hand.
As far as style of glove look, you can go to any auto parts store, you can get full fingered gloves and they’ll work. I actually designed a set of gloves here that has padding on the inside of the thumb and the outside, because that’s, where you feel the pressure of resistance bands when they’re in your hand, they squeeze the sides they don’t, put pressure on the palm like free weights do so.
These are specially designed just for resistance bands, but I do recommend full finger, not the fingerless ones, like you see, people wearing in the gym, because a lot of this stuff, you’re, still gripping it with the tips of your fingers.
So definitely a reason to wear gloves one of the other things that I don’t, particularly care for when it comes to these tube style bands, it’s. A double-edged sword like most things in life. The handles are convenient.
They’re nice, but by time you add up the handles the metal rings, the metal carabiners through all your different levels of resistance. It adds a lot of weight and I found that when I was using these, they were too bulky and they were too heavy.
One of the things I like about these, especially with the five different levels of resistance, which is all I’ve, been working out with for the past two years, is just those five bands they fit in a nice little drawstring bag that I can Stuff in anything, I could put that in my backpack.
I can put that in my suitcase super light super portable, which is one of the things that I love about: resistance band training with bands. You can take them anywhere, so you can train anytime and you can train anywhere, creates a lot of efficiency.
I tell people, you know with a busy lifestyle, depending on what you have going on during the day and how many different priorities you have. Sometimes it’s, difficult to juggle all those things and fit your workout into your schedule.
So let’s. Imagine it’s a long day you didn’t get your workout in in the morning. You tell yourself all day long, I’m gonna go to the gym in the afternoon, but all of a sudden 5 o’clock. Rolls around you go home, you go.
You change! Your clothes. Put, your gym! Clothes honey go home. I got ta get in the car, I have to try to the gym so for me, the 15 minutes of driving to the gym and then parking and the 15 minutes driving back.
I can finish more than half my workout just doing this anywhere. I can go in the backyard, I can do it right in my living room anywhere, where I’ve got a door, I can get a complete workout or better. Yet an ideal situation for me is I go outside somewhere.
I go to the park or I go to the beach or wherever you want to Train. It gives you a lot of freedom there and those are some of the things that I love about: resistance band training, so the portability was very important to me and I didn’t want to haul around something that’s, big and Clunky and heavy I wanted light, and I’ve been compact, so moving on, so we covered linear variable resistance.
What that is, and what the resistance levels are, how to adjust a resistance level which brings me to the next common question, which is: where do I start? Which band do I pick up? You know. Do I Jois are my biceps exercises with heavy? Do I go to the extra-heavy best advice I can give you is you need to change the way that you think one of the common mistakes that I see people make in a gym? So, even if you’re training with free weights or machines is getting caught up in numbers, meaning how much weight you lifted for how many reps, and it really doesn’t matter what weight and what reps, for example, if you took 45, pound dumbbells and one week you could do that for 10 reps, but then you came in the next week and all of a sudden, you’re tired that week and you can only do it for seven reps.
Well, what do you do? Well, you still train as hard as you can and you push yourself. You challenge yourself and you raise that intensity level and you take yourself to fail. You’re only using in good form, not at the cost of doing cheat, reps and bad form.
But now, conversely, what if you come in the next week and you feel stronger than the previous week – you did 10 reps last week, but now all of a sudden you get to 10 and you feel like you’ve got you know.
Maybe three reps left in your gas tank. Do you just stop at ten? Now you keep going you push yourself. Matt is training by feel that’s, learning to know what your limits are and pushing yourself to that limit, and that is what is called perceived exertion and that’s, where you should be taking your workouts, keeping that intensity nice and High, so with resistance bands that’s, exactly what you want to do, you want to stay within your target.
Rep range and push yourself as hard as possible within those designated number of reps. So don’t worry about how many pounds of resistance. It is worry about how you feel how much you feel those peak contractions and how fatigued do you feel at the end of the set so which again goes back to one of the benefits of the linear variable resistance and being able to adjust on the fly? Because you can start off harder, if you want to, I’d, say you’re going for ten reps, do the first five and do them really hard and if you can’t get the rest, like I said, adjust Your your foot position or your distance to anchor point or your hand position lessen the resistance.
We’ll, finish out your set, but finish it strong. So those are all the key points with getting started with resistance bands. Now there’s, a lot of questions of how bands compared to free weights. Now I’ll cover some of the basics.
Real quick, but I’ve, also created a video which is comparing free weights to resistance bands. How are they similar and how are they different? So I recommend that you check that one out there ‘
S got a lot of detail in there, but I’ll. Tell you this one of the things that I really like about resistance band training is one I don’t need any equipment. Obviously I just need some bands to I don’t need any kind of benches.
Think about it with chests. If you’re training chest in a gym, what do you need? Well, you need a bench. Why? Because, with free weights, you only have one plane of resistance, which is the vertical plane, because we are pressing against gravity so, in other words, to train our chest, we have to lay on our back, so we can press straight up with bands.
We don’t need that because we have resistance in multiple planes, because the resistance or the tension created isn’t from gravity, but it’s from the band itself. So now we can stand up and we can press in front of us.
We can press up above we can press down low, and this gives us a lot of flexibility with all the different angles. But there’s. Something more that I like about. That and it’s, because we’re on our feet.
It forces us to develop a strong base and a strong core, and this is functional strength. You could bench 400 pounds laying on your back, but what sport on the planet do lay on your back, whether you’re into football or baseball or martial arts.
You have to have a strong core and you have to have a strong base, and so this is a different kind of strength. This is a functional strength and that’s. One of the things that I really like about resistance bands.
Another thing that I like is it promotes really good form, because you can’t cheat the same way that you can, with free weights with weights. We can swing our body and we can do all these things to create momentum, but that momentum robs us of resistance.
You can’t create momentum with resistance bands. It doesn’t matter how explosive or how fast you do it. The tension is always going to be there, so those are some of the things I like, but there’s a whole other list of some the advantages that resistance bands have over free weights.