In light of the coronavirus, what’s a more relevant subject to discuss than at-home efficiencies such as working out from home? A popular method used today is the resistance band method. Have you given them a try, and if so, do you find them to be effective?
A Brief History of the Band
Resistance bands are rubber band tools designed to work in tandem with muscular groups in a resistant fashion when applied through strategic exercises. The concept was first developed by inventor Gustav Gossweiler in Switzerland. Though, it wasn’t until the 1960s that they were really popularized by chiropractors and physical therapists.
In the first recorded patent of the resistance band, Mr. Gossweiler explains that the exercise bands are a “gymnastic apparatus.” His intentions for the device are comparable with that of those that exist today. After becoming popular among the medical field in the 60s, it struck the fitness and health arena with the bodybuilding boom of the 1980s.
Types of Bands that Exist
Since the initial exploration of the band prototype, several kinds have been developed.
Flat resistance bands: Rubber-band like, flat appearance.
Tube resistance bands: Tube-like, typically have some handle.
Mini resistance bands: Tighter structure, but similar to flat resistance bands.
Therapeutic resistance bands: Long, lightweight, highly flexible.
Figure 8 bands: Figure 8 structure, banded with a grip.
The Benefits of Resistance Bands
New tools in the fitness industry are more accessible today than ever before. With the collaboration of fitness and social media, fitness has grown in popularity and become more of a conversation among the masses. With that, has come a surge in merchandise and accessories. Influencers have created an all-new avenue for items like resistance bands to be promoted to individuals who might otherwise not be paying attention to advancements in fitness.
Bands came about as a byproduct of the principles of gymnastics and developing the body, so it’s no surprise that they have come full circle into modern fitness trends.
The Possibilities of Portability
Resistance bands can be used anywhere you go, from your home, to a hotel room, the airport, and anywhere in between.
For those who wish to train to build muscle or obtain results from training methods outside of cardio alone, the portability of equipment is a challenge. While weights are GR8, they do just that—weigh. They are heavy and not easily transferred. If the goal is strength training, resistance bands may prove to be a viable supplement to hitting the weight room.
Modification Made Easy
Another positive feature of resistance bands is their flexibility when it comes to modification. The ability to modify workouts speaks to their effectiveness. Modification is a necessary part of growing your physical fitness and adapting to how your body responds. Similarly, bands offer a range of difficulties that would suit any given fitness level as is. They evolve as the user’s fitness level does.
Using resistance bands for any muscle group is possible. Not only are they versatile in terms of muscle group usage, but even in the way in which each group is engaged. The flexibility of the bands allows them to target different muscle fibers in ways that perhaps traditional weightlifting or machines may not allow for.
Due to their low impact and versatility, resistance bands are generally safe for everyone. Their place in physical therapy is a prime example of this. Using them correctly and efficiently according to directions is important for ensuring the safest use possible.
Diversity of Training
Choosing to work out with bands will not often be a compromise in function. In fact, bands work especially well when used in conjunction with other methods of training as an asset, warm-up, or burn out. They allow for an increased range of motion and even promote symmetry and flexibility.
The Possible Cons to Resistance Bands
While resistance bands may prove to be a substantial workout, whether or not they are effective may need more context. If the question is whether or not they are an effective workout period, one may argue that they are.
If the question is whether or not they are specifically comparable to weights, there may be a case to consider. While effective for hitting various muscle groups, one may struggle to obtain muscle mass in the same way as with weights. Though, there are other factors to consider such as diet and approach to training.
In deciding if resistance bands are effective in general, it’s probably fair to say that it depends, but that’s just what I think. What’s your stance?