Home training kit should be easy to get hold of, cost effective, easy to tidy up, and also (obviously) effective in your training. In my opinion, if I were to pick one piece of equipment, it would be resistance bands.
Covered in this blog:
- What are resistance bands
- Why are resistance bands so useful
- What type of resistance bands should I buy
- Examples of resistance band exercises
- Lower body
- Upper body
What are resistance bands?
Resistance bands come in all shapes and sizes, however, they are all essentially the same; a stretchy band that when pulled forms resistance, simulating the weight training element of typical gym equipment.
They come in a range of shapes, sizes and weight levels. Some literally resemble big elastic bands, some have clips that you can attach handles too. They all perform the same function and have been used in rehabilitation and corrective exercise for years.
As well as being regularly used as a tool for recovering from injuries, and activating unused muscle fibres, they can also be used in a number of different additional ways:
- Muscle isolation and strength
- Strength and conditioning
- Functional training
- Muscle activation
- Cardiovascular training
In my opinion, there is no more versatile piece of equipment for the general public than a resistance band.
Why are resistance bands so useful?
Asides from everything I mention above, resistance bands are also, by far, the most versatile piece of kit you can own. Bands are great for simulating the movements you can do with a barbell, dumbbell, cable machine, lat pull down, and more, without actually having to own those pieces of equipment. Resistance bands are a fantastic tool for any kind of training and, even if you go back to the gym after lockdown, it won't hurt to have these with you.
What kind of bands should I buy?
My favourite types of resistance bands are the ones you see pictured in this blog, for me they are the most versatile and have the most uses, but it really depends on your aim for using them.
For muscle activation of the hips and glutes the bands that are literally big elastic bands are brilliant, they are also the perfect warm up and activation tool.
For mimicking gym-based movements and overcoming injuries, the handled ones you see pictured work incredibly well as the handles give you something to hold onto and maximise exercise variety.
Try to consider the goal you have set yourself as to what type of band suits you best. Also understand that they are relatively cheap compared to kettlebells, dumbbells, and other bits of equipment so you could probably buy a few different sets for varied uses. Typically, a set of bands might only cost around £30.00.
Ultimately, what equipment you want to buy and how you want to train is fully up to you. But this is a question I am being asked a lot recently and I thought I would share the answer with you.
I have long talked about the benefits a good lower body strength programme can have on your cycling. Resistance bands can make squatting fantastic at home as they can be fastened together to ramp the weight up, the total weight of some resistance bands can be 66kg when they are all clipped together. If you had two sets, you could ultimately have 132kg to use, making heavy leg exercises very possible.
Resistance band squats
Simply standing on the resistance bands and holding the handles by your shoulders can make the bands feel heavy, they give you plenty of room to focus on depth, and allow you to tailor the weight completely how you want it for the reps you are doing. No need for a squat rack, or any heavy equipment, literally just your hands and feet.
Resistance band leg press
Slightly more obscure than the squat, but still a simple movement. All you have to do here is hold the handles of the bands and wrap the actual band around your legs, you will now lay on your back and extend the legs; mimicking a leg press movement in the gym. This is a great leg exercise for isolating the quads and building up your power muscles.
Having a strong upper body can make cycling more comfortable and safe.
Resistance band row
Using a door stop, you could make one of these with a zip tie and a tennis ball. However, using a resistance band, wrap the band around the midpoint of a door, take a step back and slightly squat down. Keep the hands vertical row the bands towards you.
Resistance band press up
If you want to make the press up more difficult resistance bands can be great for that. Simply wrap it around your back and hold the bands to keep some tension in them. The tighter the band, the harder this is. Then complete the regular press up movement.
Resistance bands can open up a whole heap of exercises, some regular, and some not so regular, and Google and YouTub offer an infinite amount of options!
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