A resistance band may seem like nothing more than an oversized stretchy band, but it's so much more. These bands are versatile, and can be used in a number of ways. For instance, tie the two ends of the band together or stick one end into a door, and instantly you've created a new exercise tool. Use it as a pulley or to intensify the resistance of your stretches. Heck, resistance bands can even replace your weights in your strength-training program. The number of ways you can effectively use this tool are numerous.
Use it as a pulley. Shut one end of a resistance band into a door. Now, you have an instant pulley system. Use it for all types of exercises, such as lat pull downs and chest presses. Position the band high at the top of the door frame to do lat pull downs. Position it at chest level to do chest presses.
Stretch with the band. You won’t be using it effectively if you don’t stretch with it. It’s especially useful for stretching the hamstrings and quadriceps. To stretch the quads, sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Then, place the center of the band around the top of your foot. Place the ends of band in each hand, and pull. To stretch the glutes and hamstrings, lie on your back. Bend your right knee. Place the center of the band around the arch of your left foot and criss-cross each side under the arch. With the ends of the band in each hand, pull to stretch the hams. Resist the pulling for a greater stretch.
Replace your dumbbells with a resistance band. Many exercises that call for dumbbells can be swapped for a band. Biceps curls, triceps curls and the squat with the overhead press are good examples. For instance, instead of using dumbbells to complete a biceps curl, lay the band on ground and stand in the center of it. Hold one end of the resistance band in your left hand, and bend your elbow at 90 degrees. Then, slowly raise your forearm toward your shoulder.
Tie the two ends of the band together. Using the band in this way -- like a rubber band -- allows you to stretch in even more creative ways. For example, use the band to work the outer-thigh muscles. After tying the band together, lie down on your back and place the band around your ankles. Then, lift your legs in the air and pull outward -- sideways. You should feel a stretch in the outer thighs.
- To increase the resistance of the stretches, use a less elastic band. According to to the Mayo Clinic, resistance bands are usually color coded by resistance levels. Generally, the darker the color of the band, the more resistance it offers. Conversely, the lighter the band, the less resistance it offers.
- Contact a physician to ensure that your workout program is consistent with your physical capabilities before your begin your program.
Based in Atlanta, Mya Passmore has been writing since 2010, covering health and business topics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from George Washington University.