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Resistance bands: The most versatile piece of equipment you’ve never thought to use?

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For many years, there was a widespread misconception that resistance bands were only good for rehabilitation and gentle exercises for those fearful of weights. However, far from being ineffective, training with resistance bands actually has multiple benefits to athletes of all levels. They are a reliable piece of equipment that bring variety to your workouts and enhance overall performance. Interest piqued? Freeletics Training Expert, Florian Nock, is here to explain why you should consider incorporating resistances bands into your training routine and what benefits they offer when used correctly.

Resistance bands: Gear on the go

Being a Free Athlete means pushing yourself to your limits no matter where you train. Whether you have access to a gym, you're in a park or a hotel room, we strive to help you become the greatest version of yourself by offering comprehensive and effective workouts and sometimes, just sometimes, these require resistance bands.

Whether you use your own bodyweight, weights or resistance bands, your muscles need some stress and progressive overload to get stronger. Progressive overload is one of the most crucial factors for progressing and continuously advancing in your journey toward a stronger body. Resistance bands effectively allow for this process; bands come in different widths, each of which offers a different level of resistance, just as different sized weights in the gym might.

We rather prefer bodyweight exercises and free weights over machines because they offer free range of motion and variety. Resistance bands offer the same benefits as free weights and bodyweight training. From thin and light to wide and though, you can use them in a large variety of movements. They also allow you to move freely in all direction forcing you to engage your core and your stabilisers.

What are the unique benefits of resistance bands?

Adding external resistance to your workouts when you don't have access to a gym can be difficult. Barbells and dumbells require some space, and often subsidiary equipment - think a bench or a rack. This makes them far from ideal for travelling. Resistance bands, on the other hand, can fit in any bag or closet. They can be set up in a few minutes and are cheap regarding what they can offer. Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean that you have to be away from your resistance training.

When training with bodyweight or free weights, you're working against gravity, meaning that there is only one plane of resistance. Depending on the anchor point, resistance bands offer resistance in all planes. Upward, downward and horizontal, they stretch in all motions. They are ideal for adding difficulty to your 3-dimensional training.

Because bands are made of strong rubbers, they offer a unique type of resistance. While your body and free weights provide the same resistance during the whole range of motion, resistance bands stretch and give a progressive resistance. It uses the length-tension relationship of your muscles. This feature therefore offers a unique way in which to train for explosive power and speed.

How complicated can it be?: Using resistance bands

Resistance bands can be used in countless ways and can contribute to many different parts of your training session.

Lighter resistance bands work well during your warm-up, allowing you to perform exercises with a complete range of motion and activating all muscle fibres without any risk of injury.

During the main body of your workout, elastic bands can add resistance to bodyweight movements such as squats or push-ups or offer assistance in pull-ups. They can also be used in place of free weights and cables in exercises such as deadlifts or pulldowns. Finally, you can seriously level up your resistance training by adding elastic bands to barbells and dumbbells when performing compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and bench presses.

Not had enough of your resistance band yet? At the end of your session or during rest-days, resistance bands are also remarkable tools for stretching, stability and working on your mobility.

Let’s be real: resistance bands are not a magical tool that will make you instantly stronger; unfortunately, this piece of equipment doesn’t yet exist. Results only come with dedication and commitments. Elastic bands are simply another great option for adding resistance to your workouts. Are you ready to sweat and stretch some rubber?