This is a guest post by Sally S…
That’s a stupid statement you might think; how can a set of bands usually meant for physio exercises beat what my local gym offers? Read on…
Resistance training is the core of building lean muscles and functional strength; which, in turn, is the central to getting in shape and staying that way. There are a several types of resistance training: Yoga, Pilates, swimming and weight lifting, to name just a few.
I want to examine weight lifting and show you how it doesnít need to be about a crowded free weights area in a sweaty, expensive gym, or how you donít need to install large and expensive machines in your home. All you need is a bag of bands with varying resistances and a little knowledge about putting together a full-body routine.
Resistance bands vs Free Weights
When I received my resistance band set in the mail, it came in a small bag and consisted of eight bands, some ankle straps for leg exercises, two handles and a door anchor to secure the bands during the workout.
In the past, when I worked out with a barbell and dumbbells, form was always on my mind. As soon as I performed my first squat with resistance bands I could feel my core engaging, my back staying straight and all the tension was where it should have been: in my legs. This filled with enormous confidence because as someone who has suffered lower back injuries, form was forever on my mind, until this moment.
At the end of the workout I noticed my body felt as though it had worked harder. This is because the resistance bands put tension on the muscle, or group of muscles, throughout the entire lift. When lifting with a barbell, or dumbbell, the lowering part of the movement (the eccentric stage), doesnít engage the muscle, so youíre only working your muscle for half the movement. Using the resistance band, youíre working your muscle for the entire movement and getting a better workout.
Resistance Training vs Cardio
To get in shape you really donít need to spend hours on a treadmill, a bike, or an elliptical machine. In fact, if youíre out of shape, only working half your body – which is what these machines do – isnít going to get you results. To radically change your body, you need to work all muscle groups.
If youíre unsure about this, visit your local gym and look at the body shapes of the people on the cardio machines, versus the body shapes of those in the free weights area. Typically, those who spend their time lifting weights are much leaner than those peddling for their lives while transfixed by the wall-mounted TV screens.
Working Out at Home
Some people really benefit from going to the gym; the act of leaving the house means they will get their workout done and come home without any distractions. For others the thought of going to the gym is part of the reason for not working out; maybe they feel inhibited in a room full of sweaty strangers; maybe itís raining outside and the carís broken down. Maybe, theyíve got a ton of other stuff to do.
This used to be me. If there was an excuse I could give myself for not getting out of the house to work out, I would come up with it. Having a set of resistance bands at home means there are no excuses. I can spare 30-40 minutes a day to workout in my hall way, but I canít always spare the hour and a half to two hours I would spend going to the gym, working out and coming home again.
Vacations are no excuse either because my bands pack down to about the size of a pair of shoes and fit easily into my suitcase, or rucksack.
How Does This Save Money?
You wonít ever need gym membership again, unless you really want it. All you will need to create a full workout regime is a set of resistance bands and a couple of hours on youtube to learn how to perform the lifts correctly.
Itís worth educating yourself about how to work out correctly and what to eat in order to stay in shape and the internet is full of great information sites and forums. Youtube is also a great resource if you want to learn how to perform lifts both correctly and incorrectly. There are also a couple of channels dedicated to resistance band workouts. Bodylastics is the best one I have seen so far.
Getting in shape is not something the cost of a gym membership will do for you; you have to put in the work and while it will be a lot of physical work, it doesnít need to cost you a fortune.
How Much Should I Spend?
Prices vary, along with quality and the most expensive set may not be the right one for you. I paid $55 on Amazon for a set of eight bands totalling 200 pounds of resistance. As a woman standing at 160cms tall, I canít see me needing another set for some time. When I do, Iíll invest in a second set. 400 pounds of resistance for just over $100 is excellent value and itís all I expect to spend on my home gym.
Sally S is a very modern woman. She loves to stay fit without paying through the nose, yes, it ís possible! She writes on a variety of subjects including technology, travel and she is also currently writing about the process of volunteering for paid clinical trials and joining a volunteer panel.