When it comes to gaining muscle, many of us think the way to attain it is to purchase an expensive gym membership and follow the fitness rules of questionable Instagram fitness models. HIIT can be great to shed fat, but it doesn’t build your muscles like resistance training does. If you’re looking for an alternative, then one (cheap) piece of equipment may be the answer to your prayers—resistance bands.
What exactly makes them so good? For one, they come in a range of resistance levels, making them just like weights, without the bulkiness or risk of serious injury! This makes them a perfect substitute for individuals who aren’t comfortable using free weights and machines. Resistance bands are perfect for long-term training as you’ll be able to up the resistance level as your strength increases. They’re also a lot easier to carry around, and just like hand-held weights, allow a free range of motion.
Training with resistance bands also happens to be low-impact and easy on the joints, which makes it optimal for people with weak joints. An additional benefit is that increased stabilizer muscle strength protects your joints and keeps them pain-free.
Because of this, they’re actually great for working out every part of your body.
Here are 4 ways you can incorporate resistance bands into your workout, or make it the workout itself!
As a warm up
As any gym rat will tell you, warming up is essential to engage the mind-muscle connection before you start your workout. Resistance bands are great for warm-ups before strength training, especially for the upper body. Warming up with these bands allows you to increase mobility for your workout and correctly activate dormant muscles. Mobilising your joints makes them less susceptible to injury during your workout, and it also allows you a far greater range of movement, relieves tightness, and places the joint in its correct anatomical position.
A few great warm-up exercises you can do with a resistance band can be found here.
For the booty
While there are countless uses for this handy tool, they’re the best for growing your booty. Lena Marti, a certified personal trainer, shares that resistance bands are especially great for activating your glutes, which is essentially turning on the right muscles before your workout.
Resistance bands will help with growing your glutes without an exponential growth of your quads. Quad-dominance is a common occurence amongst women who regularly workout as the quads tend to take over the work your glutes are supposed to do, leading to more quad growth and less butt growth. To combat this, resistance band exercises not only allow you to activate your gluteus maximus in order to get the most out of a leg day session, but it also allows you to do isolated exercises for maximum booty gains.
An example of glute resistance-band workouts you can add to your routine can be found here.
For the upper body
Don’t be afraid of building your back muscles! In fact, developing your back muscles is the key to the illusion of a small waist. However, it’s also a muscle group that’s rather difficult to train outside of the gym. Pull-ups don’t have to be your only option, as resistance bands can also double as weights. They’re also perfect for engaging all your back muscles when used as a substitute for gym equipment and machines. With variations for all major back exercises such as rows and lat pulldowns, there’s no excuse not to get that sexy back. Not only do they give you a good back workout, resistance bands are also used for rehabilitation and strengthening weak joints and muscles.
For working out your arms, resistance bands can be combined with other exercise equipment to increase the difficulty of a workout. For instance, doing a bicep curl with a dumbbell and a resistance band will allow you the benefits of both pieces of equipment respectively.
An example of upper body resistance-band workouts you can add to your routine can be found here.
Chances are, you previously assumed that resistance bands are meant solely for rehabilitation and pilate moms. While those assumptions are true, they’re also amazing for a whole range of other things, including stretching. They’re great for increasing the range of motion of the muscle you’re stretching, allowing you a deeper stretch and providing you support by helping to reduce the load of your bodyweight while stretching. If your goal is not just to stretch out your muscles post-workout but also to increase your flexibility, then a resistance band is a must-have piece of equipment.
An example of stretches you can do with a resistance band can be found here.