In a perfect world, you would be able to bring your whole gym along with you on vacation. In the real world, however, many exercise enthusiasts feel like they are without options when they are on the road. This couldn’t be further from the truth. From hotel gyms to bodyweight exercises, there are plenty of ways to get your workout in while you’re away from home. One of our favorites? Resistance bands.
Here’s a closer look at why resistance bands are a smart solution for when you’re on-the-go, along with tips aimed at helping you get the most out of your band strength training workout.
All About Resistance Bands
Available in a variety of strengths and lengths, resistance bands are strong, thin rubber cords, often with handles on the end. They join bodyweight, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and many other pieces of equipment which fall into the category of “resistance exercise equipment. “ What is resistance exercise?
Explains FitDay, “Resistance exercise is any form of exercise that forces your skeletal muscles (not the involuntary muscles of your heart, lungs, etc.) to contract. An external resistance (such as heavy weights) is used to cause the contractions, and those contractions lead to increases in muscular mass, strength, endurance, and tone.”
If you’re looking for a dynamic full body workout when you’re away from the gym, resistance bands offer an affordable, portable way to amp up your workout while enjoying complete control over intensity and the degree to which you challenge your body. Plus, they can be used to perform hundreds of different exercises, from chest presses to tricep extensions to squats, allowing you to replicate the circuit training experience outside of the health club. Improved strength, muscle tone, and flexibility are three major benefits of training with resistance bands. If you’re traveling without your usual spotting partner, resistance bands are also safe for solo use.
All this and they take up hardly any room in your suitcase!
Tips for Using Resistance Bands
If you’ve never used resistance bands before, you may be wondering where to begin. These four tips can help you start reaping the benefits of resistance band training.
- Band strength training is only as effective as long as your approach is correct. So while resistance bands are appropriate for anyone of any fitness level, proper form and technique, including using compound movements, finding the balance between push and pull, incorporating adequate rest, and training at the correct frequency, are essential. A personal trainer can offer invaluable advice when it comes to working out with resistance bands. (Sign up for a personal trainer session at Brick Bodies for some resistance band pointers.)
- The thinner resistance bands are, the more likely they will need to be replaced with frequent use. Seek out high-quality bands to avoid frustrating breaks, delays, and replacement costs. Your personal trainer should be able to recommend preferred brands.
- Most resistance bands are color-coded according to tension level. Invest in a minimum of three bands (light, medium, and heavy) to ensure that you’re prepared to adequately train the different muscle groups of both your upper and lower body.
- Because resistance band training can be intense, starting slow and building your intensity is important for injury prevention. As your confidence and strength grow, so can your resistance. On a related note, resistance bands do have a lower risk of injury than free weights because they generate less momentum. (If you’ve ever hit yourself in the face with a kettlebell, you’re likely aware of why this lands squarely in the “pro” column.)
Isn’t it time you stopped wishing you could work out while on vacation and started embracing fitness as part of your healthy lifestyle wherever you are?