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Using Resistance Bands for exercise
Old 07-26-2010, 09:16 PM   #1
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Using Resistance Bands for exercise

I was wondering if anyone had strong opinions or extra practical information on using resistance bands for exercise? Here is a link with information:

Choosing and Using Resistance Bands

I am considering taking one of these on my travels so that I can exercise more easily without access to a gym. They are inexpensive, like $15 range, and weigh less than a pound, including attachments.

ALSO, I am thinking that for the limited times I am in the USA, usually a 6 week stretch, I would use Resistance Bands plus a used weight set plus bench, which I can get used on the cheap, for like $60. It is hard to join a gym for short periods like that.

Can't I get most of the exercises out of this (resistance band plus basic weight set) that I would get at a gym with their equipment? I am not a bodybuilder, just a guy who tries to stay in firm shape. I also run regularly, so I don't need a gym for cardio. I only recently got more serious about lifting weights, thus my interest. Did anyone need to buy multiple bands to get the exercises they wanted?

Kramer

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Old 07-26-2010, 10:18 PM   #2
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They can be effective, but personally I prefer hand weights, even for the same exercises. Had weights are more versatile anyway.

Audrey
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kramer View Post
Did anyone need to buy multiple bands to get the exercises they wanted?
Oh, boy, good ol' submarine memories.

You don't need multiple bands. You don't really even need one band unless it helps make you feel that the exercise is more interesting.

It's amazing what can be accomplished with calisthenics and running in place. One-legged squats are far more challenging than most of the weights on the squat rack. The same goes for pullups and inverted pushups.

You could consult Stew Smith's columns for more low-tech and resistance-band ideas:
Top Five Workout Questions - Military Fitness - Military.com

I don't want to get into how I learned this, but keep a firm grip on both ends of the band until all tension has been released...
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:49 AM   #4
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Yes, if you are using bands instead of weights, you will want multiple bands of differing resistance. You can get a great workout doing bodyweight exercises and resistance band exercises.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:01 AM   #5
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Or you could stand in a doorway and do tension exercises.
Ex:
1. stand in the doorway, try to push the top lintel upwards.
2. " " , hands at your sides, then with back of
hands try to push doorjambs apart.


Do each for a minute or so. Um, if you not used to it you might only able to do about 30 secs. And do exhale while exerting power.

No equipment needed.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:10 AM   #6
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Heh, a thread for a $15 expenditure.

The best exercise equipment is what you actually use. I don't think I'd stick with an exercise regimen of pushing doorframes. Buy a couple, they are cheap. I've got a couple of different thicknesses. But you could mimic most of it by how stretched they are to begin with.

For example, you can do curls by stepping on the band. But it is harder/easier depending on where you step. So you can get variety with just one band.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:50 AM   #7
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You can vary by increasing/decreasing the starting tension, yes, but you'll still want a variety of bands. I need to use all of my bands if I am doing overhead shoulder presses because my heaviest band is insufficient resistance by itself, and if I start if off really stretched, it doesn't increase the difficulty substantially, it just increases the odds that I will snap the band. Likewise, the heaviest bands are far too much resistance to use for doing rotator cuff work (you have to use really light resistance or else other muscles start activating to help out and you aren't working your rotator cuffs anymore).

Get a variety of bands if you like them, they are small, light and portable. I'd get some free weights as well, and yes, bodyweight exercises are great too (don't go straight to handstand pushups, wait till you have built up your shoulders to the point of being able to do that without injury!).
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:22 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. Just to be clear, my post is not about whether a resistance band(s) is worth the money. I plan to have one or two of them ordered in the mail and waiting for me when I get back to the USA. My question is more about whether resistance band plus some basic free weights replaces those complicated machines at the fitness center. I think the answer is yes, for those of us who are not body builders. In fact, I don't think I even plan to get a weight bench for home, just some basic free weights. Until I had thought of this I was just going to join a gym, but it not easy to do so for short periods of time.

I also need to figure out a good place to do pull-ups. This has always been hard to find both when I travel and even when home. Usually, I find a park somewhere with a Jungle Jim or something like that. Here in Medellin, I have a luxurious outside workout area at the park, complete with free weights, Jungle Jims, some workout machines, sit-up benches, special pull-up bars, and a 400 meter running track, so I guess I have gotten spoiled.

I also now always carry around a light padded set of weight gloves, I bought a pair here. They have finger holes (only) on top, besides that nothing covers the top of your hand, the only part of your hand that is covered is from under the palm and most of your fingers, so they are very light and good for hot weather. Before I had these I had gotten major calluses and it was limiting my workouts due to pain in my hands.
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:52 PM   #9
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The complicated machines are junk, in general. Bands + Free Weights + Bodyweight Exercises are more than sufficient for getting into incredible shape.

You can get doorframe pullup bars, but I've never seen one that I felt excited by (not that I've looked too hard since I just keep a gym membership at the climbing gym these days).
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:54 PM   #10
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I've found that bands are less satisfying than weights. I tried a Bowflex, and just didn't get the same rewarding feeling as I do lifting weights. Hard to describe.
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Old 07-27-2010, 04:17 PM   #11
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I've found that bands are less satisfying than weights. I tried a Bowflex, and just didn't get the same rewarding feeling as I do lifting weights. Hard to describe.
For on the road, resistance bands and bodyweight stuff would be sufficient.

Free weights are a "better" workout, due to the fact that you work your "core" more, by just having to maintain balance while holding the weights.

Having said that, I mostly use weight machines, supplemented by free weights. Lifting heavier weights, which induces a stronger physiological response than lighter weights, without a spotter, is risky for any old fart like me... Not trying to be a bodybuilder, anyway. Just trying to stay in shape.

As an aside, I have a universal in my garage. $45 on Craigslist...
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