The science of the resistance band
Resistance bandsare versatile, easy to use and inexpensive. They provide the ability to take a simple exercise and make it challenging – as our CXWORX and BODYVIVE instructors can attest (Woodchop anyone?).
What makes a resistance band irresistible?
Point of maximum resistance
With the dumbbell curl we have a small arc of maximum resistance in the middle of the curl. With a resistance band, the load is quite different as it occurs at a different point, depending on the line of pull, and continues to increase as you move through the range.
Direction of resistance
Tubing always pulls toward the point to which it is anchored. For example by fixing the tube under one foot you have a line of pull directly against the action of the Woodchop (see a Woodchop tuition video here).
The tubing allows us to stand and bear weight while providing different angles of pull to challenge the core which enables us to produce a training stimulus in the position we need it most. For example, glutes. Normally we lie down on our side to work the side hip stabilisers, however we can use the tubing by wrapping it in the direction needed to resist the movement and perform the same exercise whilst standing.
In exercises such as Woodchops which are performed through a large range with quite a quick tempo, momentum is a key safety issue. When using free weights our muscles accelerate at the start of the movement and decelerate at the end. The deceleration phase can be very stressful on muscles and joints as the muscles need to contract eccentrically in a lengthened position. With the resistance band there is no momentum effect because the resistance keeps increasing as it moves further through the range without needing a deceleration phase. This makes the resistance band safer to use during wide-range faster movements.
- Try to keep the load on the band at all times – in most exercises we can adjust the start length to keep load on the tube throughout the movement.
- Always anchor the band firmly on its fixation point. This will help avoid the slingshot effect and make the exercise safer for you and the people around you.
- The resistance band is graded from light to Extreme (coming soon) so always try a new exercise with a lighter grade of resistance until you are comfortable with technique.
- Always keep the wrist in a strong functional position with a firm grip around the handle and the wrist slightly extended.