Resistance bands are a great way to add more resistance to any exercise, which will mean making the exercise more of a challenge. How this works is the resistance caused by the band means both the concentric and eccentric part of the exercise holds tension. So throughout the movement all the muscle groups have to work much harder than normal.This of course has many pros as you can imagine, but also should be used wisely. For example you would not choose to use a resistance band when attempting to lift your heaviest weights.
Resistance bands are also extremely beneficial for regressing body weight exercises such as pull ups and dips. The band will act as a ‘spotter’ making it easier to do the exercise and giving you time to focus on the form before progressing further.
Stretching/ Mobilizing and Activating Muscle Groups
Not only are resistance bands good for your actual training but also for mobilizing, stretching and activating muscles before training. The extra resistance they provide can help to switch on more underactive muscle groups such as the glutes and scapular. Adding the band to upper body mobility and all over stretches again provides the muscle with more resistance to stretch and mobilize further.
Burn outs/ Finishers
If you are hoping to add some more volume to a certain muscle group, either because it is weak or generally lacking you can do some isolation work at the end of your session.
Where you do not want to completely burn out your muscle groups at the beginning of your session and your muscles may be tired towards the end the resistance bands can be used to burn out your muscles in the safest form.
Here are some examples of isolation work you can do for higher reps at the end of a session.
Band Pull apart's for the upper back
Hold a Lights resistance band horizontally in front of you. Hold either sides of the band keeping your elbows locked out and shoulder blades depressed. Pull the band apart until the band hits the chest again keep shoulders depressed and elbows straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard as you can once the band hits your chest. Then return to the starting position for one rep.
Face Pulls for the upper back
Attach the band to any bean like object and set at about chest level. Hold both ends of the rope with a pronated (overhand) grip. Step back so you're supporting the weight with arms completely outstretched and with a staggered (one foot forward) stance. Bend the knees slightly for extra stability. Retract the scapulae and pull the center of the rope slightly up towards the face. A good cue is to think about pulling the ends of the rope apart, not just pulling back. As your near your face, externally rotate so your knuckles are facing the ceiling and squeeze as hard as you can.
Monster walks for the glutes
Choose a moderate to high resistance band. Place it just under the knees. Sink into a low squat and keep your back straight and chest up high. While keep still and pushing your glutes back take 10-15 steps to one side. Push through the heel and out side of the foot. A good cue is to think big step then little step with the other foot. (big step, little step, big step little step.) Then repeat in the opposite directions.
Band Kick backs for the glutes
Loop a longer resistance band around a beam like object. Insert one foot into the band while in an all fores position. Keep the foot flexed and make sure the resistance band is looped around the middle of the foot. Keep your body as still as possible slowly bring your knee in towards the chest and then leading with the heel push the leg back so the knee becomes straight and squeeze the working glute as hard as you can at the top.
Article by Nicole Aristides - @nicolearistides