Another week passes and we still find ourselves in isolation and unable to exercise or play sport with others. If you are looking for something different, try picking up a resistance mini band. There is a misconception that resistance bands, and particularly the mini band are only used for basic stretching. Some think that resistance bands are only used for beginners in lieu of actual weights. Well, let me tell you, nothing could be farther from the truth. There are huge benefits of using bands for stretching, low resistance work and rehabilitation for injuries. Why don’t you complete a band workout and find out how it works the body.
While doing these columns to give athletes some different ideas for exercise circuits they can do by themselves, I tried to source these mini bands and everywhere I looked either were sold out they were on backorder. Then when I went to ‘Sporty’s Warehouse” at Bundall to buy some new running shoes I found them. Thank you Sporty’s.
Resistance bands are inexpensive, portable pieces of strength training equipment. Some bands are thick and flat while others are thin and tubular. They come in different colours which indicate the resistance strength, so please don’t buy one because you like the colour. Purchase the band which best suits your purpose – so if you are a beginner you need to get the less resistant band and work up from there. You might even like to buy a set of different colours so you can gradually progress from one to the other as you improve doing the exercises. The thing is, they are convenient and portable, they exercise every single part of your body and are cheap.
They are a great warm up tool to do before a workout as they help to stabilise various body parts. One of the benefits of using mini bands is that you can make your workouts progressively harder and improve your strength while also protecting your joints and muscles. If you are just starting off or coming back from injury, then obviously use a band with less resistance. You can then build to a heavier resistant band as you improve over time.
The mini resistance bands are a great idea for those, young and old, who want to exercise at home, or who like to take their workouts along when they travel. Once you use them for a period of time you will find that they are surprisingly effective and offer many benefits over traditional free weights.
Research has proven that resistance band exercises will improve muscle strength and tone. You can also do these resistance exercises everyday if you wish. With over 600 muscles in the human body there is an extensive list of exercises that you can do so you will never get bored. Please keep in mind though, if you do exercise every day you need to be sensible and use the exercises at the right intensity and frequency. The body, no matter what exercise you do, needs time to heal the muscles you worked. Resistance training, and that is exactly what mini bands is, for beginners should be done three times a week.
There are many benefits of mini bands which include:
- Cheap – vary from $6 – $15 depending on the resistance and length.
- Build strength and can be used for the entire body.
- Improve mobility.
- Great for rehabilitation.
- One-person weight training equipment.
- Mimic well known exercises.
- Everyone can use them.
- Convenient, mobile and lightweight.
- Can improve the quality of the exercise as you need to control the tension as you stretch and relax the band.
- Focus control – need to control the movement and the tension particularly on releasing the tension.
- Stabilise muscles and builds core strength – fantastic fundamental training exercises.
- Mini bands are a great alternative to machines or weights.
- Huge variety of exercises that can be performed with them.
- You control the movement and tend to promote better form.
- As the person exercising, you control the positioning, angle and movement – need to focus on working the muscle and squeezing them right until the end to make sure there is complete control of the contraction.
I will take you through a simple exercise program now which will cover most parts of the body but please know that there are many, many more exercises that you can do.
You can go to the Gold Coast Academy of Sport website to see the exercises I explain here. As a warm up I did some basic mobility movements with the mini band around my ankles which included walking sideways and then forward and backwards. I then moved the band to my knees to perform some basic squats, lunges to the side and then some gentle knee lifts to the front.
To the exercises now (perform the exercises 10 times each).
- Stand with band at elbows and arms straight out in front. Start with band just tight, then open arms to stretch band and slowly return.
- With the band behind your back now, 1 arm behind holding the bottom of band and the other arm bent, elbow high in front to grab the other end of band. While holding onto the band behind back, pull band to straighten the front arm. Repeat both sides.
- Lat pull down. With band in hands, pull the band apart and move hands behind head, pulling your scapula together.
- Lying on your side with the band around your knees and legs bent. Keeping feet together, lift knees apart stretching the band. Repeat both sides.
- Lying on side with band around ankles – lift top leg up and down slowly, controlling the movement. Repeat both sides.
- Lying on back, band at ankles. Lift one leg at a time slowly and controlled.
- Standing with band around ankles. Bring foot towards gluts (bum), which is called a ‘hamstring curl’. Repeat both legs.
- In push up position with band around wrists. While in a plank, move one hand to the side and back, then move other hand to side and back.
- Sitting with back leaning slightly back, band in hands. Move from side to side stretching band towards the ground (Russian twist). To make it a little hard you can lift your feet off the ground.
- Lying on your stomach with band in your hands. As you lift the feet and upper body up, stretch the hands apart.
- On back with band around ankles. Slightly elevate the upper body and take legs apart while low just off the ground. Then move the legs to a higher position and move apart. Continue this, moving from low to high.
- On back with band around the soles of the feet. Alternate feet forward and back to imitate cycling the feet. To make this a little harder, raise the upper body off the ground.
- THIS IS A CHALLENGE EXERCISE. With the band in your hands, lift band over feet to get the band behind the legs. This means you have to raise upper body towards feet. Move upper body backwards, and then pull up again to move band back over the feet to original starting position.
As you can see there are many different exercises that you can do in various positions to exercise different muscles. Using bands is a super, simple resistance workout. The benefits of resistance mini bands will make you a happier, healthier, and stronger person, not to mention that they are cheap and extremely convenient too. I hope you enjoyed the challenge.