Stretch Your Limits with Resistance Band Training

One of the hottest fitness trends for 2013 is the idea of simplicity and using our own bodies rather than expensive machinery for fitness. Resistance bands are excellent tools that enhance exercises, stretches and calories burned. Furthermore, resistance bands are easily packed when traveling or on vacation and add an element of fun to your workout.

Why use resistance bands?
Resistance bands can target isolated muscle groups, work major muscle groups and aid in proper stretching and regeneration of the body. You can purchase resistance bands for under $100 and they are built to last years.

Get the right band for you:
Resistance bands come in different colours depending on their tension. The heavier the tension of the resistance band, the more difficult your stretches or workout will be. It is important to build up to a higher tension band depending on your personal strength and flexibility.
Yellow – thin
Red – medium

Green – heavy

Blue – extra heavy

Black – special heavy

Silver – super heavy

How to incorporate resistance bands into your workout:
Similar to all exercises, a proper 5-10 minute light aerobic exercise is recommended to warm up muscles. To incorporate lower tension resistance bands into your exercises, complete fewer sets and more repetitions. Just like all workouts that target less weight with more repetitions, you will be targeting toning and muscle shape. When increasing the tension of the bands to target strength training, use more sets and lower repetitions.

How to incorporate resistance bands for stretching:
Use the thin or medium tension band for basic stretching and to enhance yoga poses and stretches. Resistance bands not only increase stretching capabilities, but allow for a proper stretch to be completed. For example, if you have difficulties straightening your leg, a band can be place around the bottom of your foot and held in both hands to straighten a leg.

Try something fun:
Grab a friend and a resistance band – have a friend stand behind you and wrap a resistance band around your waist as they hold both ends behind you. Then try running as your friend applies tension to the band. Although this sounds simple, it will greatly increase your cardio workout as you run against tension, but also provide a great laugh!

If you are looking for an inexpensive piece of equipment to revitalize your workouts this summer, buy yourself a few resistance bands. Whether it is yoga, strength training or simple stretching, they are sure to bring you to a new level.

www.exercise.about.com
www.goodhousekeeping.com

By Sarah Bamber

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