So you've seen those exercise bands at the gym and on TV, but do they really do ANYTHING??
First, lets talk a bit about resistance training. It involves activities that use weights, machines, resistance bands or even body weight to work against your muscles. This can be one of the most efficient ways in achieving a healthier body. This can help you lose weight, get lean, or increase strength. Resistance training can benefit any age group to achieve specific results. Whatever your goals are, resistance training, can get you there.
How Does Resistance Training Work?
Simply put, resistance training stresses our muscles. This stress, causes the muscle to break down and rebuild stronger. The muscle is adapting to its' environment. Of course, this also burns tons of calories, and if done in proper sequence, can be used to build muscle, or as a cardiovascular exercise program. The popular way to do this is at the gym with a bunch of fancy equipment. However, this is costly and time consuming. So, consequently, there has been a large surge in people that have chosen to use their home, with exercise bands, to do the same work. This is by far the easiest and most convenient way to train with resistance for most of us with busy schedules. There is no driving to the gym, no waiting for machines, no paying yearly memberships, and no creeps to avoid at the gym (unless you have some creeps living with you!). You can wake up, keep your bed-head and dirty underwear on, and get a great workout, minus the distractions. You can even watch the morning news or your favorite morning TV show when you are working out. Think about it....if it takes you 15 minutes to get to the gym, and 15 minutes back...that's 130 hours per year of your time. What else could you do with those 130 hours? For an average lifetime, that's 422.5 days. Wouldn't you rather spend 422.5 days with people who make you laugh, cry and love....instead of behind the wheel yelling at the idiot stopped at the green light? I guess you get my point.
So how what kind of exercises can we do with exercise bands? Well, nearly all exercises in the gym can be replicated with exercise bands. Some need a bit more ingenuity than others, but for the most part, can be done fairly simply. Bench-Press, shoulder-press, bicep curl, tricep pushdowns, lunges, squats, calf raises and a host of other exercises can all be replicated using the exercise bands.
Are they enough resistance for guys too? You bet. The exercise bands recently have been popularized, so there are many companies making stronger bands. The Bowflex is based on this concept, but has "resistance rods" and is pretty expensive. Also, the exercise bands work in such a way that the more it is stretched, the more resistance is applied. So at the peak of each repetition, the resistance increases exponentially.
The exercise bands are also very versatile. They can be used for strength training, and for circuit training. Circuit training has been found to burn an extremely high amount of calories per time exercising. Also, circuit training leaves your body burning more calories after the workout is already done for longer periods of time than other workout regimens. The exercise bands are excellent for circuit training because you can move from one exercise to another quickly and easily. There is no changing weights or equipment. Just change position, and you're set for the next circuit!
If you haven't used exercise bands before, pick up a set at your local sporting goods store and try them out....I think you'll be pleasantly surprised that they may be tougher than you think!
About the Author
Dr. Parker is a surgical resident with an interest in preventative health, and fitness who has helped many of his family, friends and patients get in the best shape of their lives. For more about Exercise Bands go to