Can You Resist?

mature couple working out with resistance bandsPortable and lightweight, resistance bands are a great choice if you’re looking to tone up without the added bulk. Small in size, but big on effectiveness, these bands can sculpt and shape muscles. Benefits of this form of exercise include:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased range of motion
  • Shaped and toned muscles
  • Ability to repair injured muscles
  • Versatility
  • Convenient and lightweight
  • Portable 
  • Inexpensive

Is it for everyone?

Whether you’re a novice or an expert, there’s a band and resistance level for you. In fact, beginners can rest assured knowing that these bands were primarily used in physical therapy to repair injuries, increase muscle tone and improve range of motion. For example, a tear in the muscles around the shoulder (known as the rotator cuff) can be repaired with simple exercises. The bands crossed over into the fitness industry as a valued, low-impact option that can produce results safely when used correctly.     

What kind to choose?

There are several options, from small, flat looped bands, to tubular figure-eight bands, to 4-foot-long bands with plastic handles. To simplify, the looped and figure-eight bands are primarily used for the lower body. For example, a band can be worn around the ankles—in a standing or lying position—to target the hips, thighs and buttocks by moving the legs away from the body (abduction). The long, tubular bands are designed to target the upper body with easy-grip handles. For example, you can stand on the center of the band, grip the handles at your sides, and raise for an effective biceps curl.  

Pick your color

Resistance bands also come in a variety of colors—black, blue, red, green and yellow—with black having the most resistance and yellow having the least. 

Where to find them

You can purchase resistance bands at any sporting goods store, or even in the sporting goods section of large department stores. If you prefer a teaching environment, your local gym likely has exercise classes that use resistance bands. You can also find instructional videos online or hire a personal trainer to create an individualized workout that you can do at home or when traveling.

One note of caution: Resistance bands are similar to an oversized reinforced rubber band, meaning they can tear and break down over time. Therefore, they need to be replaced regularly to ensure safety.

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