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Resistance bands were described by NASA as "the most efficient and effective exercise yet devised by man". They are certainly one of the most flexible and offer a cheap way to take your workout with you, wherever you go. In fact because resistance bands ensure you maintain the resistance part throughout the motion, you get a workout on both the concentric and the eccentric part of the exercise you're doing.
A resistance band, also called a tube or exercise band is probably the cheapest way to tone your muscles. In addition it allows you to add variety to your workouts so your body doesn’t get complacent.
Essentially they are lightweight flexible tubes that stretch like a rubber band but are more durable. They were first used by physical therapists but now are used widely by people for strength training.
You do need to use co-ordination and balance when using a resistance band so you will work out more muscle groups than you think you will. You can also target muscle groups and also some of those smaller muscle groups that can be hard to reach with conventional weights. You can create resistance in all directions and many of the designs come in different tension levels so you can increase the difficulty as you develop.
You can also combine resistance bands with your more conventional exercises like push ups and squats and they can be used alongside other equipment like stability balls and steps. And finally, they’re small, so you can take them with you wherever you go!
Resistance bands are colour coded by their degree of difficulty. The more stretchable the band the lighter resistance, so the easier it is. Conversely, the harder the band is to stretch the more resistance it will give you. It is also often the case with different bands that the thicker the band the more resistance there will be.
It is worth noting that you can buy latex free varieties for those with latex allergies.
Every part of your body can be worked out from your chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, quads, calves and abs.
Unlike free weights, resistance bands provide you with constant tension on the muscle, something you won’t achieve with a dumbbell or barbell. It provides a different challenge for the muscle, forcing it to adapt. It is this need to adapt that is so good for muscles, if you just do the same strength work over and over your muscles and body will get complacent.