Resistance bands are a great place to start strength training.
What length of resistance band training should you do?
You should aim for two strength-based workouts every week, each lasting about 30 minutes, when starting resistance band workouts. This is according to Mike Matthews (ISSA-certified personal trainer Mike Matthews ), author of Strength for Life: Get Strong, Lean, and Healthy at Any Age. “If your goal is to become fit, two workouts per week can be a great way to make progress, especially if you aren’t to get from being unfit to becoming fit.”
This is applicable to both beginners and those who have been exercising for a while but are new to resistance training. We’ll discuss this further below. The intensity at which you train is what makes a difference. This strength training is consistent with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendations that adults should do strength exercises two to five days per week that target all major muscle groups. These include the legs, back, abdomen, and chest.
Matthews says that if you already do cardio, you might be able to fit in resistance band training on “off” cardio days. You can also do both workouts in one day by doing cardio first and then exercise band training second. This order is best so that your muscles don’t get too tired from cardio and can do strength training.
You can either add resistance bands to your strength training routine or replace an existing one with one that uses bands.
Gear you need for resistance band workouts
It is very easy to find the equipment and clothing you need for resistance band training.
These are the things that Damien A. Joyner (American Council on Exercise-certified personal coach and founder of Incremental Fitness in San Diego) says you will need.
- Resistance Bands, This is the obvious one. You should have several resistance bands with different levels of resistance or stretchiness. There are many options available: ribbon, looped, and handles. You should choose the most comfortable and easiest to use. You can also consider which exercises the bands might be used for.
- Comfortable Clothing That You Can Move and Sweat in Gear up in lightweight, breathable clothing that you can move in and doesn’t feel heavy when your body heats up.
Joyner says that although these items of equipment and gear are optional, they can make certain exercises more manageable.
- Shoes Many resistance band exercises can also be done barefoot. If you’re on a slippery surface or feel safer, more secure, and more balanced wearing shoes, you should consider lacing them up.
- Yoga Mat It can prevent slippage and provide cushioning for on-the-ground activities.
Safety Tips for Resistance Band Exercises
Resistance bands can be very safe, especially if you start with the one that is low in resistance. Steven E. Mayer MD, a Northwestern Medicine sports medicine physician, said.
He says that the benefits outweigh any risks as long as you begin slowly and start slow. Before you start a new exercise program, make sure to consult your doctor if you have recently had surgery or an injury.
It is safer to increase resistance, intensity, or number of workouts gradually. “If you have never used resistance bands before and start doing a lot of repetitions with a heavy resistance, then you might be more at risk of developing tendinitis, bursitis, or another overuse injury,” says Brendan Martin PT, DPT. He is a physical therapist at Finish Line Physical Therapy in New York City.
There is a simple way to avoid feeling too intense with a band: Don’t use a move that feels too intense. Once you are able to safely perform the move, add a band. If you can safely do the move, such as squats using a looped resistance band around your thighs, but are unable to complete the first repetition (rep), then go ahead and do the set without the band. Add the band to the set when it feels less difficult.
Safety tip: Do not misuse the band. You may need to attach a resistance band to an anchor (such as a tree or beam outside, or in your home or gym). Joyner says that if this is the case, ensure the anchor point is strong. For example, securing the furniture to a chair or kitchen table will allow you to pull it towards you.
Pay attention to the band’s health. Resistance bands do wear out. Martin says that resistance bands often break down at the end of their lives and fly off. “Check to ensure your brand isn’t starting to break down.”A projectile band can cause serious injury if it snaps back at you. A projectile band can snap into your eye, causing injury such as retinal detachment. This is a serious medical emergency. Use the band with a firm grip. If you do happen to hit your eye, it is a good idea for someone else to help. Ophthalmologist If you have eye pain, vision problems, flashes of light, or other symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. Floaters Eye movement problems or eye movements.
How to warm-up for resistance band workouts
Joyner suggests that you warm up before your session by taking a quick, steady walk. Dynamic stretches such as lunges and squats are also possible, including arm circles, arm circles, and lunges. He says that these ‘tell your body it will be working out. You want to feel your muscles relaxed before you begin straining them with more intense exercises.
Joyner also suggests that you start each session by doing a little balance training. You might do this by standing in front of a table, holding onto it if necessary, and then raise your knees to the sky. Then stand tall and hold it. Alternately, you can stand straight up and shift your weight to the side lifting the other foot. Balance training can improve your daily function and help you keep safe movements in resistance exercise. Balance training trains your neuromuscular system and helps you stay stable on your feet during each move. This ultimately increases the safety of your workout.
4-Week Resistance Band Training Program
Each person is different, so the best training plan will be different depending on their current fitness level and goals. Start with just two days per week if you don’t do strength training. Matthews says that you can gradually add another day to your week as you get more proficient with the exercises. (The below training plan includes the progression from two days to three days per week. However, if you don’t feel confident adding another session, you can keep going with two sessions until you feel ready.
You can swap one resistance band workout with one of your strength training sessions if you already do other strength training. These sessions should not be repeated on consecutive days. This will provide the rest and recovery that your body requires.
Remember the importance of rest and recovery. “You need 48 hours rest between sessions where your diet includes good sources of protein for repair muscles,” states Charlie Goehl from Elmhurst University’s department of kinesiology. The resistance band exercises in the below plan are not performed consecutively.
Matthews suggests that you do a full-body workout to prepare for the resistance band sessions. You can choose a variety of exercises to target all major muscle groups, and you should do the entire 30 minutes. Matthews recommends doing three to four sets for each exercise. Matthews suggests aiming for 20 reps. If this seems too difficult to do, you can start by doing one set of each exercise. Then, gradually increase the number of sets over several weeks until it becomes easier.
Whatever way you organize your workout, ensure that you do a mix of upper and low body exercises. Matthews prefers to do a combination of three types of moves: a squat to target the lower body, a push move to target the chest and shoulders, and a push move to target the upper body and back. Matthews recommends that you do some brisk walking if you don’t currently do any other exercise. Aerobic exercise You can choose any exercise you like on your non-resistance band workout days. This will help you meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendation of 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity per week.
Matthews suggests that you do strength training on days when you don’t do any cardio. If you do both, Matthews suggests you do them together. Matthews also recommends structuring your resistance workouts to be done before you do cardio. This will ensure that your muscles are fresh for the band workout.