Resistance bands, or cords, let you create a variety of workouts using the elastic properties of the bands to create resistance. They are lightweight, easy to use, inexpensive and easy to transport. Depending on how you use them, you may create workouts that emphasize muscle building or calorie burning. Used incorrectly, resistance bands may lead to injuries.
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Resistance bands help you perform a wide variety of exercises, targeting specific muscle groups. With these bands, you may perform many of the exercises you perform with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and weight machines. The tighter you wrap them, the more resistance you create during an exercise. This allows you to use one set of bands to perform different exercises, because you may use different amounts of resistance for each exercise. If you only have a pair of 10-lb. dumbbells, you must use 10 lbs. of resistance for each exercise you perform. Weights and machines restrict your movements, while resistance bands let you move up, down, sideways and on angles that simulate sport-specific movements.
You may use resistance bands to create muscle-building exercises, cardio workouts and muscular endurance routines. Wrapping the bands tightly and performing slow repetitions helps build muscle. Decreasing the resistance about halfway and performing more repetitions of exercises at a higher speed helps you create muscular endurance routines. Using little resistance helps you create cardio workouts and continue exercising without muscle fatigue.
One of the disadvantages of exercise bands is that they do not provide as much resistance as heavy free weights and weight machines. If you are a serious bodybuilder, resistance bands may not be a good choice for achieving your strength-training goals.
Potential for Injury
Depending on the quality of resistance band you use, it can snap, causing an eye injury, a skin scar or sudden movement during an exercise that strains your body. If the band is attached to a pole or other piece of equipment, the connection may break, causing injury.
Resistance bands are more affordable than free weights or weight machines. You can use one set for multiple exercises and workouts. Also, more than one person can use them, regardless of the strength of the user.
As you stretch elastic bands, they provide more resistance -- unlike free weights, which provide the same amount of resistance the entire rep and no resistance between reps. For example, after you perform the uplift on a biceps curl, there is no resistance during the pause.