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Tiny but Mighty – The Strength Band

By Abby Eastman

As new trends emerge in fitness, sadly, we often forget about staple equipment.  Strength Bands were made famous in rehabilitation settings and are often seen in group exercise classes, but they also deserve a prominent gym spot. With results much the same as traditional weight training, they are small and inexpensive yet mighty useful.

Off-hand, you might recall quickly some exercises that can be incorporated into a client’s training routine using bands.  From squats to bicep curls, the band provides versatile options for clients of all ages and training levels. When we dig deeper, you will find they provide even more innovative ways to diversify your client’s routine. Including but not limited to:

  • Sport-specific conditioning drills like throwing, swinging, and multi-joint movements
  • Pre and Post rehabilitation exercises
  • Core stabilization exercises
  • Functional workouts
  • Posture correction exercises
  • Retraining healthy movement patterns
  • PNF flexibility training
  • Muscle and joint isolation exercises
  • Combining strength bands with free weights
  • Perfect for those new to strength training like older adults
  • Circuit training
  • Group exercise classes of all levels
  • Advanced fitness and sports performance training

As a trainer who has worked in many settings from private clubs to big gyms and now going into people’s homes or home gyms, I have found the resistance band to be the easiest way always to have what I need in my bag of tricks.  It feels great to offer my clients an alternative strength training method that is gentle on their joints.  When injuries pop up from full body workouts, I know I can help clients get back to their optimal training level by leading them through common rehabilitation exercises.

You can purchase them in rolls and give them to clients as an incentive. Not to mention having individualized equipment is a bonus for hygienic purposes in a carry bag.  They come in packs with several resistance levels like light medium for easy progression.  Another bonus comes from the various attachments you can now purchase to make the strength band even more versatile.  Door anchors, resistance loop bands, ankle straps, and handles create another level of fun and practical training.

Clients are quickly come on board and get excited about purchasing equipment that won’t take up a lot of space or cost a lot of money.  Some quickly realize the benefits of traveling with a band while others discover they can easily provide a whole-body workout that is easy to follow but tough to finish.

Do:

  • Be sure to purchase a pack with a variety of resistance band strengths. Since bands are not equitable to poundage, there is a bit of experimentation on which band resistance to start with.
  • Practice the exercises yourself before prescribing them with clients to ensure safety.
  • Keep your strength bands out of the direct sunlight so they don’t dry out and crack prematurely.

Don’t:

  • Program a whole resistance band workout for a client straight out of the gate. Since bands incorporate more stability muscles, clients can fatigue more quickly. Allow room to progress.
  • Assume all bands are equal. Different companies produce different colors and resistances. If you can always stick to the same brand and if not practice a bit to ensure you have the right fit for the client’s abilities.
  • Be shy! Have fun and be creative!

Let’s look at some ways you can create programs with the strength band to work out at home.

Client “A”, a newer exerciser, has been working with you for the last three months to learn how to use the weight machine circuit at your gym. They inquire about trying some new exercises besides the machines but are unsure.  You could replace two to three exercises from the machine circuit and replace them with strength band exercises.  As the client feels more comfortable with the bands the circuit could be done completely with the band.  To start with, the leg press machine can be replaced with the strength band mini squat, the back row machine with the strength band bent over row, and the chest press machine with the strength band dynamic hug.

Client “B” enjoys training for strength and hypertrophy, especially back and chest.  They have reported some shoulder pain. After being cleared by their physical therapist, you can continue to aid in their recovery by adding shoulder stability exercises with the strength band. Be sure to include internal and external rotation with the strength band, bilateral extension with the strength band, and wall walks with the looped band.

Client “C” is a serious runner, but you notice as they walk, their right hip drops, and want to help them prevent injuries.  You quickly note the need for hip stabilization exercises and add clam exercises with the looped band, monster walks, and looped band bridges.

So what are your client’s needs?  No doubt the strength band can s t r e t c h to the occasion.

Ready to learn more? Check out Strength Band Training Part 1, where you can tap into a thorough overview of resistance band benefits and applications.  Buy Abby’s course Strength Band Training

Strength Band training, also known as resistance band training, is a versatile and impeccable way for clients of all ages to build strength, flexibility, and core stability. This course will explore the basics applications of resistance band training and its benefits while learning how to create an exercise program using resistance bands.

Coming soon:

Strength Band Training Part 2: Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Older Adults

And

Strength Band Training Part 3: Advanced Fitness and Sports Performance

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