Not long ago, numerous fitness enthusiasts, both beginners and seasoned gymgoers began recognizing resistance bands as essential tools for their workouts. However, before these flexible marvels could dominate the fitness world, how they started might be far from their modern form.
Before multi-colored resistance bands, there existed chest expanders and strand pullers, whose concept laid the groundwork for modern resistance bands. In the 1851 Great Exhibition in Victorian England, sporting and medical equipment was known as the expander. The expander was promoted as a pseudo-medical device specially designed for Victorian individuals with weak chests. In 1895, Gustav Gossweiler, a Swiss inventor, patented a “gym apparatus” featuring a stretch rope and clip handles, closely resembling today’s resistance bands. Gossweiler also secured a patent for the same product in the United States in 1896. However, the attribution of the device’s discovery is unclear, as the English company Whitely and Eugen Sandow were concurrently promoting a similar tool.
By the 1890s, chest expanders and strand pullers transitioned from being exclusively marketed for medical use to becoming tools for the general public. While pinpointing the individual who first bought elastic bands to market is challenging, Raymond E. Nilson was granted a patent for the first resistance bands in 1940.
Types of Resistance Bands
As resistance or exercise bands become a fitness essential for many, various types have emerged to cater to diverse needs and preferences. These variations present a range of resistance levels, materials, and designs, amplifying their adaptability for a broad spectrum of exercises and muscle groups. This diversity ensures that individuals can choose bands that suit their particular fitness goals, whether, focused on building strength, enhancing flexibility, or rehabilitating muscles.
Here are the most common types of resistance bands.
Therapy or rehabilitation bands are designed to assist patients in recovering from injuries. These bands come with a flat design, stretch out to four feet in length, lack handles, and provide a gentle method for enhancing overall body conditioning. They contribute to muscle toning and strengthening, as well as fostering increased flexibility.
Resistance Tube Bands
Commonly known as tube bands of fit tubes, these bands come equipped with two plastic handles and measure no more than four feet in length. They are employed to specifically target the upper body, arms, and lower body. Utilized for exercises like chest presses, shoulder presses, curls, and back rows, resistance tube bands aim to enhance the range of motion, bolster muscle endurance, and facilitate fat burning.
Mini Loop Bands
Known as mini loop bands or fit loop bands, these flat bands form a seamless loop, usually measuring around 10 to 12 inches in length. Primarily employed for lower body training, they play a vital role in improving flexibility and strength. These bands are instrumental in stabilizing and activating core, glute, and hip muscles, ensuring correct foam, and increasing tension during exercises such as squats and hip thrusts.
Figure 8 Bands
Figure 8 bands, characterized by their tubular structure resembling the shape of a figure-eight, feature plastic handles at both ends. Extending around 20 inches in length, they are predominantly used for upper-body training, specifically targeting the arms. These bands are instrumental in performing exercises like leg raises, shoulder presses, and bicep curls.
Lateral Tube Bands
Measuring one foot in length, lateral tube bands feature Velcro cuffs at both ends in lieu of the usual plastic handles. Their common application is to focus on muscles engaged in lateral movements, including hip abductors and adductors. The use of these bands can be advantageous for enhancing hip strength and overall lower body functionality.
Superbands, alternatively labeled as power resistance bands or heavy-duty resistance bands boast exceptional strength and versatility. Crafted to deliver substantial resistance across a range of exercises, these bands typically exhibit greater width and thickness compared to standard resistance bands, resulting in heightened tension and increased resistance. Their application often extends to strength training, powerlifting, and functional fitness exercises.
Most Common Uses of Resistance Bands
Considering the different types of resistance bands, you may already have an idea of how and what types of exercises resistance or workout bands are used for. Here are the creative and non-traditional methods to unlock these bands' potential. However, prior to incorporating them into your routine, ensure that you are using the right resistance band level and seek supervision from health care professionals, especially if you’re in recovery or adhering to a strict exercise regimen.
Strength training is a type of exercise focused on improving muscular strength, often incorporating workout resistance bands to challenge and develop muscles. These bands can be included in a variety of strength training exercises like squats, lunges, chest presses, and rows, delivering consistent resistance throughout the entire range of motion. Moreover, resistance bands prove beneficial for accommodating resistance, where the resistance amplifies as the band is stretched, aligning with the muscle’s natural strength curve, This results in a demanding workout that targets various muscle groups and boosts overall strength.
Resistance bands can be incorporated into bodyweight exercises to elevate the difficulty and intensity of movements through the addition of external resistance. For instance, during exercises like squats or lunges, one can loop resistance bands around the legs or shoulders to introduce resistance, intensifying muscle engagement. Further, incorporating resistance bands into exercises like push-ups, or pull-ups enhances resistance, prompting muscles to work in new ways. The flexibility of resistance bands in bodyweight routines empowers individuals to tailor their workouts, creating a more demanding and efficient approach to muscle strengthening and toning.
Mobility and Flexibility
There are a multitude of ways to incorporate resistance bands for the purpose of improving mobility and flexibility. They can be included in dynamic stretching routines, such as leg swings or arm circles, effectively engaging muscles and enhancing range of motion. The bands may also be wrapped around the things or ankles in lateral leg raises to activate and stretch key muscle groups. Additionally, resistance bands prove valuable for shoulder stretches like shoulder dislocations. Various exercises including hip flexor stretches, hamstring stretches, chest openers, and more, contribute to a comprehensive approach to enhancing mobility and flexibility.
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
Originally employed for medical purposes, it makes sense that modern resistance bands, also known as physical therapy bands, continue to be utilized for therapeutic purposes and rehabilitation. These bands can be incorporated into gentle motion exercises to enhance joint flexibility and mobility. Moreover, they are effective tools for gradually strengthening muscle groups, with the resistance level customized to align with the patient’s capabilities. Resistance bands also find application in isometric exercise, functional movement, balance, and stability training, post-surgery rehabilitation, and posture correction.
Core activation involves purposely engaging and strengthening the muscles in the central area of the body, including the abdominal muscles, lower back, and pelvis. Exercises utilizing resistance bands like a palloff press, anti-rotation exercises, and planks contribute to effective core activation. These exercises play a pivotal role in sustaining balance, promoting good posture, and preventing injuries.
Yoga and Pilates
In both yoga and Pilates, resistance bands are introduced to add a dynamic dimension to the practice. In yoga, the inclusion of resistance bands amplifies muscle engagement, facilitates deeper stretches, offers support in challenging poses, and cultivates a more profound mind-body connection throughout the practice.
Conversely, in Pilates, exercises incorporating resistance bands present additional challenges. These exercises isolate and focus on specific muscle groups, contribute to improved posture, and provide assistance in particular movements, enhancing the overall effectiveness of the workout.
In contrast to cumbersome gym equipment and weights, resistance bands are both compact and lightweight, facilitating effortless packing for travel, Their adaptability to various environments, be it a hotel room, park, or beach, enables travelers to maintain their fitness routines even in limited spaces. Additionally, certain resistance bands come with accessories like a pouch, simplifying storage and ensuring convenient portability,
Resistance Bands for Different Purposes
Proven effective across a range of exercises, resistance bands have found their place in routines spanning from warm-ups to rehabilitation. They offer long-term cost-effectiveness, with some providing the option to purchase beginner kits. While inherently versatile, these bands can be further customized with accessories like door anchors or handles.
The journey of resistance bands through history highlights their effectiveness over the years. It's crucial to note that their efficacy is contingent on appropriateness. Color-coded to denote resistance levels, selecting the right band is paramount to avoid injuries and ensure effective workouts. The choice of band and its application depends on the specific strength requirements, whether for physical therapy or agility training.
Scouring various shops every time you need to upgrade your resistance bands is not the most efficient approach. Opt for bulk resistance bands from Super Exercise Band to have one ready for use anytime, anywhere, catering to any purpose. Secure a resistance band that precisely aligns with your needs today!