Does the idea of using resistance bands make you well up with anxiety and not look forward to your workout?  Do you find your bands constantly rolling up, slipping, sliding, or pinching?  Never fear, I have a few tips for you!

I have used resistance bands in my gym, and with my clients for years and I do like to joke that using them is part of the workout.  Getting the bands on and off and into the correct position can be a bit of a challenge and it does take a bit of practice.  That, along with my tips below I hope you can find more use and joy out of the useful tool.

2) Resistance.  Yes, they are called resistance bands, and that is their job, to provide resistance.  Working out with resistance has been shown to have a myriad of benefits and bands are one of the many ways to challenge yourself in your workouts.  They come in many resistances, and in my experience there is no general consensus among band manufacturers as to what colors or resistance terms mean.  So you could have a blue “medium” band and a blue “light” band from different manufacturers.  The best way to tell how much resistance the band will provide is to pull on it and see how it feels.  Put your ego aside if you are new to using bands or new to a specific exercise, choose the appropriate resistance to execute the exercise well, and that may just be “extra light.

2) Position.  When I say position I mean where on your body are the bands?  For the sake of this article I am going to talk specifically about using the bands for lower body exercises.   I like to use landmarks when choosing position and your bones are the best landmarks you’ve got.  Bones never change or move, no matter your body composition, they are always the same.  Notice your hip bones, your knees and your ankles, these are your landmarks.  Bands should never go on the knee, don’t mess with your knees y’all.  But, they can go anywhere between the hips and the knees, and the knees and the ankles.  Play around with different parts of the leg, as long as the band is horizontal.  I find that the more firm the body parts the more likely the band is to stay so sometimes lower on the leg is better.  You also might want to consider your clothing, shorts that allow for skin connection may be a better choice than slipper leggings or baggy sweatpants.

3)  Tension.  How far apart are your body parts from each other?  You may need to have a wider or more narrow stance to make the bands work for your body type, this might not be your preferred way of performing an exercise but think of it as a necessary evil of band work.  If the band is falling down in between every rep then you are not providing enough tension and you are making more work for yourself.  Keeping your legs far enough a part in between reps and changes of exercises is in your best interest here, every time you have to readjust the bands there is more risk of rolling, slipping, and just plain funny stuff.

4) Body Awareness.  This is the most important tip.  Are you paying attention?  No matter what exercise you are doing whether it’s from Booty Bootcamp or it’s an Burn at Home, you likely have visual photos and/or videos to refer to.  How do you size up the the form demonstrated?  We look in the mirror while we workout, not to be vain, but to pay attention to our form.  If you have wonky form, malalignment, muscular imbalance,  or any other issues and your band tension is being generated in a twisting or uneven fashion because of it during the exercise you are setting yourself up for rolling.  If you do not have access to a mirror, take a video of yourself on your phone and see how you compare.  Or have a knowledgeable person (like a coach, wink, wink) watch you and assess your form.  There are so many things that can go wrong with exercise form and you want to be safe and effective.  Slow down a bit, and put the time in to pay attention to your body and you will see those gains.

I hope these tips gave you a few ideas to take the pain out of using resistance bands.  Don’t be afraid to try different techniques, positions, and resistances till you find what works for you.  Most importantly don’t hesitate to ask for help from someone who knows exercise to watch you and assess your form, soon you’ll be cruising through your band workouts without a second thought.  If you need an eye on your form consider coaching, I’d love to see those squat videos!

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