How to Determine What Size Resistance Bands to Buy

Resistance training involves the use of hydraulic tension, free weights, weight machines or elastic bands to provide resistance while you perform upper-body, core or lower-body exercises. Resistance training with resistance bands can be beneficial for individuals of all ages and activity levels. To get the most out of your training, purchase the right size and type of band. If you are using the bands for physical therapy or rehabilitation, consult your doctor or a fitness professional for specific guidance.

Strength training using resistance band. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are sold under a variety of different names, including exercise bands, therapy bands and fitness tubing. These bands are generally any rubber tubing or flat band that can be used in strengthening your body. Resistance bands are portable, which particularly makes for a good workout for those who travel regularly. They can also be used in rehabilitation programs. Resistance bands also have the potential to increase the effectiveness of a workout and are considerably less expensive than exercise machines and free weights.

Know Your Fitness Level

When purchasing a resistance band, you should known your current strength and fitness level. Go by your current level, not by what level you would like to reach. Exercise bands come in a variety of different resistances. Purchasing the proper resistance can help increase the effectiveness of your workout and prevent you from injuring yourself. Extra-light resistance bands are recommended for frail individuals as well as those rehabilitating from an injury. Light resistance bands are used in rehab and by women. If you are of average fitness level, an older man or an untrained women, consider a medium resistance band. Heavy bands can be used for untrained men who are active as well as active women. Extra-heavy bands are recommended for active men and women who are strong. Ultra-heavy resistance bands should be used by female bodybuilders and strong men.

Purchase Different Levels

The Equipagym website recommends purchasing at least two different levels of resistance bands. By purchasing two different resistances, you will have a backup in case you have purchased a resistance band that is too easy or too difficult for you to use. By purchasing two different resistance levels, you also have the option of making your workout more challenging when one band becomes too easy for you do use. Having two bands can also help make your workout more efficient. You can use a heavier resistance band for large muscle groups and a lighter resistance band for smaller muscle groups.

Consider Your Workout

Determine what types of exercises you want to use resistance bands for before purchasing any. Fit tubes are 4 feet long with plastic handles, enabling you to perform arm, abdominal and lower-back workouts. Figure-8 bands are approximately 18 inches long with soft handles are in the shape of an 8. This type of band is recommended for chest presses, rowing and arm exercises. Clip-tube resistance bands typically come in 16-, 24- and 48-inch lengths with attachments for clipping to a door or a cuff for your ankle. These can be used to perform exercises as if you were using a cable machine. A fit loop is a flat, circular band typically 8 inches in diameter. This band can help exercise your legs, hips and buttocks. A ring resistance band is also 8 inches in diameter but has soft handles to enable you to work your hips, legs and buttock while seated, standing or lying down. A therapy band is normally 4 feet long and 5 1/2 inches wide. You can perform upper- and lower-body exercises with a therapy band.

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