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Why use Resistance Bands?
Using resistance bands can be an excellent way to develop strength, increase flexibility, mobility and help reduce the chance of injury. Whether you are a beginner or competitive athlete, resistance bands can be a valuable addition to your workouts. Resistance bands can provide an intense and challenging workout at home or when travelling, especially useful whenever you do not get the chance to get to the gym.
Selecting a Resistance Band
Resistance bands come in many different sizes and strengths to suit a variety of uses. Let’s start by taking a look at the use of small resistance bands, also known as mini bands, resistance loop bands, glute bands, loop bands and even booty bands! For the purposes of this article we’ll stick with referring to them as mini bands.
Mini bands are a small continuous loop, usually around 12 inches in length approximately.
As they can be easily wrapped around the thighs, mini loop bands are traditionally used to work the legs, with many people preferring to use them to activate the glutes for performing squats. They are however useful for a wide variety of exercises to work the whole body. In addition to speed and agility training, they can be great for strength and conditioning too.
Crab walks, monster walks, squats, leg raises, hamstring curls, tricep extensions, front raises and external rotation exercises for the shoulders are just some of the many exercises you can do with mini resistance bands. In our resistance loop band exercise guide we demonstrate some of the best resistance band exercises to work the whole body. You can view the exercise guide here
Pull up Bands / Mobility Bands
Larger looped resistance bands with a circumference of approximately 208 cm are often used to help with building the strength required to perform unassisted pull ups / chin ups. If you are currently unable to perform pull ups with your own bodyweight, then assisted pull up bands (as they also often known as) can help give you the support needed to ultimately move on to unassisted pull ups.
Buy Pull up Bands
When used for assisted pull ups, one side of the band is looped around a pull up bar overhead, with the other end wrapped around the foot or knee of the user.
Band Assisted Pull up
It is often useful to use an exercise bench to stand on in order to get into the starting position and to step onto at the end of a set too.
Pull up bands are available in several different levels of strength to suit all users. Starwood Sports pull up bands start from 15 lbs right through to 230 lbs. If you are using these bands for assisted pull ups, then remember you will find it easier to perform a pull up the stronger the band you choose, as you will be getting a boost from the band. Therefore, depending on your current level of strength, you might want to start with a heavier band and move gradually onto the lighter bands as your strength improves. Before you know it you will be able to perform pull ups without any band at all.
How to Choose a Pull up Band
To help with selecting the appropriate band for your current level of strength and bodyweight, take a look at the guide below.
In addition to using them for assisted pull ups, these bands can also be great for mobility work and strengthening the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder. Exercises such as shoulder pull aparts can be an excellent way to build balanced strength in the shoulders and reduce the chance of shoulder injuries from occurring.
Many people neglect strengthening of the rotator cuffs in their shoulders during their workouts and this can cause problems long term. Exercises like shoulder pull aparts, involving external rotation around the shoulder joint can be an excellent way to build more robust shoulders, reduce the chance of injury and keep you training at your best.
Shoulder Pull Aparts
For more exercise ideas using pull up bands, check out our pull up band exercise guide here
Ballet bands are typically longer than pull up bands, measuring around 228 cm in circumference. The length of the band and thickness made them ideally suited to stretching. A band of 228 cm in circumference will suit all users above 4.7 feet in height.
These long resistance bands are particularly popular with dancers (hence the name) but are also great for warming up for many different types of exercise as well as stretching the whole body.
Martial artists, gymnasts and other athletes often find these sorts of bands very valuable to help warm up, increase mobility, flexibility and reduce the chance of injury.
For more exercise ideas using ballet bands, check out our ballet band exercise guide here