Resistance tubing workouts are a great way to get toned and fit at home or when you are on the road. It also is a great tool to use at the gym when you are looking for variety and a new challenge.
People tend to think resistance tubes are only for girls and that you can’t get results using them, but this statement is just false. Many athletes use them to stay in shape and challenge their bodies in the off season. Other fitness enthusiasts turn to resistance tubes to challenge their bodies in new ways and to get never-before-seen definition. Resistance tubes can be used to mimic exercises used with dumbbells or to bring your workouts to a whole new, full body challenge.
The difference between resistance tubes as opposed to free weights is that the tension is constant throughout the whole movement with the band. Free weights differ because gravity decides where the resistance is coming from. For example, when a bicep curl is performed the weight is heavier on the upward movement than when you release it back down.
This makes the resistance tube act very similar to the cable machine, which I discussed in a previous article. Not only are you working your muscles through the whole movement, but your stabilizers are working as well! This will also increase your heart rate and help you burn more calories throughout the day.
Reasons to Use Resistance Tubing
Here are some great reasons why you should start using resistance tubing:
• Inexpensive – They cost anywhere from $5 to $25. It depends on how many you get and where you purchase the bands.
• Challenging – These bands can mimic the same exercises you do with dumbbells but they make you work harder through the whole movement. They also allow you to create resistance from different directions. You can also do full body exercises with bands.
• Store Easily – Talk about easy storage! They can go in a drawer, under the sink, behind the couch, or wherever else you would like to store them. If you are traveling, they fit well in a suitcase.
• Endless Amounts of Exercises – The possibilities are endless when it comes to exercises variation. The position of the band can change a normal exercise into something new and challenging. Resistance bands attach to doors, walls, wrap around poles, and can be positioned under your feet.
Which Band Should You Purchase?
Since resistance tubes do not have weights, they use colors to relate to stiffness or resistance. Here is the basic color guide but can vary slightly with different companies:
• Yellow (thin)
• Red (medium)
• Green (heavy)
• Blue (extra heavy)
• Silver (heaviest)
When you are purchasing resistance tubes, it is recommended to buy two or three. This allows you to have a variety to work with and the ability to do many different exercises. Also, look at the bands and make sure that the handles are non-transferable. Some brands allow you to switch handles, but this is unnecessary and can cause problems down the road.
Accessories are completely optional. If resistance tubes are going to be your workout when traveling, then you do not need any attachments. Keep it simple. If you are training at home and have a wall you would like to designate for an attachment, then it might be worth the investment. The assist strap is a low-cost, handy attachment to have that opens the tubing to a lot of different exercises. Either way you can get an amazing workout.
When training with the resistance tube, you should aim to complete 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. If you are using the lighter tube then complete up to 25 repetitions per set.
As always, make sure you properly warm up before starting any exercise. Always maintain good form and keep breathing throughout the exercise.
- Bicep Curls –– Standing with both feet hip distance apart inside the tube, grasp the handles in each hand. With palms facing up, slowly raise your hands to your shoulders, keeping elbows down at your waist. Slowly return to your starting position and repeat. You can vary this exercise by change your hand placement and by turning your palms in or bringing your forearms out to the side.
- Hip Abduction– Attach the tubing to an ankle-high hook or under a door. Standing sideways, place your outside foot (the leg farthest from the door) through the handle of the tubing. Standing up tall and holding your abdominals in tight, take the leg attached to the tube and move out as far as you can toward the side, pause, then slowly return to your starting position. You want to be careful not to bend from the waist during this exercise. You can hold on to a chair or the wall for additional support, if needed.
- Hip Adduction– Attach the tubing to an ankle-high hook or under a door. Standing sideways, place your inside foot (the leg closest to the door) through the handle of the tubing. Standing up tall and holding your abdominals in tight, take the leg attached to the tube and move it across the midline of your body as far as you can toward the other side, pause, then slowly return to your starting position. As with Hip Abduction, you want to be careful not to bend from the waist during this exercise. You can hold on to a chair or the wall for additional support, if needed.
- Squats — Stand on the band with feet shoulder width apart. To keep tension on the tube, hold the handles in a half bicep curl position. If you need more resistance bring your hands up higher. Make sure your elbows are close to your sides. Bend at the knees and hips until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pull the band upward as you squat. Then release and repeat.
- Front Raises — Standing with both feet hip distance apart inside the tube, grasp the handles in each hand. With palms facing down and elbows slightly bent, slowly lift one arm at a time to shoulder height and lower back to starting position.
- Lunge with the Tube – In a lunge position, place the tube under the arch of your front foot and hold the handles of the tube at shoulder height. Keeping your abs in and your weight over your front heel, slowly lower into your lunge being careful not to let your front knee come over your toe. Pushing through the front heel, lift back up to your starting position and repeat. Switch sides.
- Triceps Extension – Step on the tubing leaving enough slack to pull one handle up behind your head. Bring your (bent) elbow up close to your ear, and slowly extend your arm straight. You may use your other arm to hold your elbow in close to your head. Slowly lower back to the starting position and switch arms.
- Chest Fly – Place the tube around a stable fixture or close the assist strap in the doorway. Face away from the tube with one handle in each hand. Step one foot forward and bend your knee. Keep your elbows slightly lower than your shoulders and maintain a rounded arm position as you close your arms towards each other. Pause, then open your arms until your elbows are even with your shoulders. Repeat.
Get the Most Out of Your Workouts
The resistance tube is an excellent tool for home or on the road. Not only is the workout very safe, but also it is extremely effective. These tubes can transform simple workouts into something challenging.
You mimic the exercises you perform with dumbbells; try picking 10 exercises and performing 30 repetitions of each. Perform all 10 exercises, continuously, to form your own “300” workout. Try to take no breaks and finish as fast as you can without jeopardizing form.
No matter how you use them, you will soon understand why fitness enthusiasts are incorporating them into their workouts. They are portable so you can take them on a run; use them at home, or work out in your hotel room when you travel. They allow a lot of variety and will lead to muscle definition you’ve never seen before!