Monday, March 1, 2010

Exercise Bands: Safe? Effective?

 This blog post was inspired by a Friend on The Body Beautiful by Allegra fan page on Facebook who asked:  "What do you think about using the exercise bands? Safe? Good workout?"

A Good Alternative:   Exercise bands can be a good alternative to weight machines or free weights. The greatest thing about them is that just about every exercise you can do with the machines and free weights, you can perform with the bands. Bands allow you both a wider and more controlled range of movement which is why they... See more’re a great tool to use during muscle rehabilitation and are often seen in physical therapy locations.

Safety:  The use of elastic bands rather than conventional weights actually minimizes the pressure on your joints and reduces the risk of injury. In addition, you won’t have to worry about running the risk of having a heavy weight fall on you, but of course as with anything, it’s all in the execution of the movement. Proper form is essential.

Effectiveness:  Are they effective? Absolutely! You have more control with the bands and the resistance is constant on both the up and the down as compared to weights. With machines and dumbbells, you’re working against gravity so the loss of control is typically on the down phase. With the elastic bands, that is not an issue. With the bands you control completely the up and the down phase of the movement thereby making the muscles work a little harder since they are completely engaged.
 The Pilates Frog is demonstrated here with the use of the exercise band to add resistance and maintain form.

Cost of Convenience:  And finally, the best thing is that bands offer convenience as they travel well and are generally very reasonable in cost usually ranging from $6.00 - $20.00 depending on where you get them and the quality. I’ve used my bands to train clients at their home, and I often take mine with me when travelling on business to work out in my hotel room. They pack well in my suitcase and generally take up as much space as a belt or scarf. For that reason I often recommend their use to my clients who travel frequently and even for those who just want to maximize their home gym toolbox. They’re also very easy to store so they won’t take up a lot of space in your home.

The Body Beautiful's verdict:  Exercise bands make for a very safe and excellent workout!