Resistance tubes – simple fitness equipment
Resistance tubes are also known as resistance bands and are made of strong, thin rubber tubing with handles at the end, they come in a variety of resistances depending on your fitness level. With resistance tubes, you can do just about any type of strength training exercise -- chest presses, rows, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, bicep curls, and even squats -- without the need for heavy equipment.
If you've never tried resistance tubes, or you're new to them, you may be surprised at the extent of the benefit you may get from what is essentially a reinforced rubber band, but as is often the case, you don’t need fancy equipment to improve your health.
Benefits of Adding Resistance Tubes to Your Routine
Resistance tubes are inexpensive and can be purchased for under as little as £2. Even more extensive kits, which may include DVDs and other exercise equipment, can be found for around £20, including Bodylastics resistance band sets which can be found in my online store. Link to store
Adjustable for different Fitness Levels
Whether you're a beginner or an expert, resistance tubes are for you. They come in a selection of resistances, including light, medium and heavy, and you can further adjust the intensity of your resistance-band workouts by giving the band more or less slack. You can even use several tubes at once to increase the resistance.
Used with Exercises You Already Know
You can frequently use familiar strength training moves with resistance tubes, which means you don't need to learn a complicated new routine. For example, resistance tubes can replace the weights you use for biceps curls, or can increase the intensity of your push-ups.
Resistance tubes can be used for a complete, full-body workout that challenges practically every major muscle group in your body. Check out the clip… and try to benefit from the instructional side of it too
Resistance tubes take up hardly any space to store, which means you can use them at home even if you have very little extra room. When your workout is done, simply stash them in a drawer until your next session.
Excellent for Travelling
Resistance tubes are lightweight and easily portable. You can stash them in your suitcase when travelling and use them to get a good workout right in your hotel room. But connecting them to the shower curtain rail is never a good idea.
Your muscles quickly adapt to movements you do often, which is why adding variety to your workouts is key for challenging your muscles. Resistance tubes can be alternated with free weights and exercise machines for ongoing variety.
Easy to Use Alone
It's not a good idea to lift heavy weights without an exercise buddy, but resistance tubes can be safely used on your own. They're ideal for exercising any time, at home or on the road.
Can Be Combined with Other Equipment
Resistance tubes are so versatile that you can even use them along with weights, allowing you to get the benefits of two types of exercises at the same time.
An Effective Workout
Resistance tubes are incredibly simple, but they're also very effective at working your muscles. Additionally, resistance-band training can help you boost stamina, flexibility, range of motion and more.
The video above, shows you a variety of resistance-band exercises that you can easily incorporate into your workouts. Below are more instructions for some of the more popular resistance-band exercises:
Squats: While standing with your feet at shoulder width distance, hold the handles of the tubes using both hands and stretch it up to shoulder level. Do a full squat but prevent your hands from moving. Do this gradually, then stand back up, and repeat the same routine.
Bent Over Rows: Place your left or right foot on the band while the other foot is kept at the back. Slowly bend forward until you are at 45-degree angle position. Gradually pull the band up to the level of your waist while your elbows are kept in. Proceed with the rowing motion while you are squeezing your shoulders. Go back to your starting position and do the same using the other foot.
Horizontal Chest Press: While lying with your back on the band, take both ends of it and hold it in. Slowly raise your left or right hand towards the ceiling and then bring it down slowly. Repeat the same motion using the other hand.
Biceps Curl: While standing on the band, hold both ends using your hands. Slowly curl up your hands towards your shoulders. Ensure that both elbows are bent backwards. Keep the position for a couple of minutes before going back to your starting position and repeating the same routine.
Vertical Chest Press: Get a chair, attach the band to it, and then stand on the band while your back is facing the chair. Take both ends of the band using your hands and then gradually extend both hands outwards. Bring your hands back to its starting position and repeat the same procedure.
Overhead Press: Stand over the centre of a tube band with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip each handle, positioning your hands at shoulder level with palms facing each other so your thumbs touch your shoulders. Press straight up, rotating your palms forward as you fully extend your arms. Lower back down slowly and repeat.
Overhead Triceps Extension: Sit on a chair or bench, placing the centre of a tube band beneath your glutes. Grab a handle in each hand, and stretch your arms up, bending your elbows so that your hands are positioned behind your neck. With palms toward the ceiling, press your arms straight up until they fully extend. Lower back down and repeat before switching sides.
I've explained why resistance tubes make a smart addition to practically any strength training program, but just in case you’re wondering why you would need strength training at all here’s why. Strength training will improve muscle and bone strength, which can help prevent falls and fractures, and increases your body's production of growth factors that are responsible for cellular growth, proliferation and differentiation.
Some of these growth factors also promote the growth, differentiation, and survival of neurons, which explain why working your muscles also profits your brain.
So, while weight-bearing exercise, such as resistance or strength training, can go a long way to prevent the loss of bone quality and density, and can help reverse any damage already done, strength training also has brain-boosting benefits, which can help you avoid age-related dementia.
You can use either gym equipment, resistance tubes, free weights or a combination for your workouts. Gym equipment or resistance tubes may be safer if you're a beginner, as free weights will require better form and control. Whichever you choose, I recommend having a trainer take you through each exercise to make sure you have the proper form performing the exercise, to avoid injury and to maximise benefit.
As a final point, if you want to take your strength training to the next level, try super-slow weight training, which actually produces many of the same health and fitness benefits as high-intensity interval training, which I highly recommend.
These two forms of exercise may at first sound like complete opposites—super-slow versus high-intensity—but the combination of slowing down your lifts and lifting to failure turns it into a high-intensity exercise that generates a flow of metabolic adaptations that improve your muscle strength and fitness level.