Bands, A Simple Tool with a Huge Return

by Kerry Taylor

I was walking through Dick’s Sporting Goods recently and overheard a conversation between two people saying, “using bands are useless” as they scanned the fitness equipment. Well, contrary to their thoughts, I love the usage of bands in training. This simple tool doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It’s not a weight, but it can surely pack a punch if used properly. I mean, it is another one of those Swiss Army knives of a tool for fitness like the kettlebell. Bands like Superbands, Travel Bands, mini bands are some of my favorites. They bring great variety to the table, they can act as a simple way to add resistance, it can be its own workout tool, a tool for assistance, a corrective tool and a muscle activation tool. That’s a huge bang for your buck!  Check some of these examples out:


Aids in Resistance 
The nature of a band allows you to increase resistance as you go through movement. The further you stretch it, the more resistance it will give you. If a band is used in combination with a push up or say a goblet squat, you will get the most resistance at the top of the drill. It’s an easy way to make something simple more challenging and allow you to break through plateaus. Do a couple of these bad boys and you will be asking to get rid of the band quickly.

Aids in Assistance
Going with the same theme of the stretch reflex of a band, the exact opposite is true. It can assist you to get better at a movement over time. Two major ones we use them with are push ups, pull ups or chin ups. The band allows you to take away some body weight as you move through these patterns. Over time, simply start using a thinner band so that you start to use just your bodyweight. Applying this function will help you become a pull up and push up ninja.

A workout tool that can go anywhere 
Travel a lot or can’t make it into the gym? Get frustrated with the hotel gyms? Here is a tool you could literally carry in your pocket or bag. Check out this simple circuit just using a band you can do on the road.

Muscle Activation
Before you start your workout it would be to your benefit to activate your muscles. Two major areas we like to focus on with muscle activation is our glutes and our shoulders. Those two areas must be primed and ready to go before a workout. A simple way to wake up the shoulders are by performing band pull aparts, and to get the glutes to wake up we want to perform lateral band walks and monster walks. 

Corrective Tool
A trick I learned many years ago was in order to fix a poor pattern, encourage that poor pattern by pulling the client into it and tell them to resist it. Voila, it will fix itself. A main one you will see is when people squat and their knee or knees have a tendency to cave in or go into valgus. Pull the knee into it and it will self correct.

Remember a tool is only as good as the information you have to use it with. Try to apply some of these strategies in your training and you will see huge benefits. Until next time, continue to live a life one degree above the rest.