Choosing and Using Resistance Bands or Tubing
Resistance bands and tubing are excellent ways to change up your strength training routine – or as an alternative when you can’t get to the gym or are traveling. They are inexpensive, versatile and can work your muscles in a different way than traditional weights or strength training machines. With bands/tubing you will get a constant tension similar to using cable machines. Bands/tubing also allow you to strength train in movements similar to the way you move in real life.
Most likely you’ll need to use three different tension levels, depending on the muscle group you’re working on and the differences in your muscle strength. Getting bands in light, medium and heavy tensions should meet your needs. It will take a few sessions to find which band to use for each exercise and how tight or close together you will need to hold the band. The closer your hands, the more tension and thus the higher the workload on your muscles. As you increase your strength you will need to alter how close you hold the band/tubing and/or move to a higher tension band to continue to progress and increase your strength.
It is helpful to get some accessories that attach the band/tubing to something sturdy or into a door hinge. There also are alternative handles, ankle attachments and other accessories that provide a greater variety of exercises.
The same rules apply to using bands/tubing as with other types of strength training. Be sure you warm up before strength training. Walk around, do some light stretching, arm circles, lunges – general muscle and joint range of motion warm-ups. If you’re a beginner, start with one exercise of eight-15 repetitions for all major muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, core, quadriceps and hamstrings). When you’re ready to progress, increase the tension in the band/tubing and add one or two more sets of each exercise. Be sure and overload the muscle, making your last couple of repetitions somewhat hard to accomplish.
Finally - Be sure to get clearance from your doctor to do these types of exercises; if you have specific concerns, such joint or balance issues, an exercise professional can help create a plan for you.