A friend was asking me about exercise bands and my take on them. I think this was sparked by Harry Reid’s accident where they said an exercise band snapped on him and he landed in the hospital. Anyway, my take on exercise bands…they’re really not all that bad, but they’re not the most optimal way to train, maybe….
Free weights are better than Exercise Bands, so, there will be companies that say they’re better, well, I put that under the advice of hype but at the same time Exercise Bands have some points that do make them practical to use.
First, I’m not sponsored or get any money from this company, but I’ve used Bodylastics for awhile now, good solid company, that makes some of the best exercise bands. You can go on youtube and they have endless amounts of videos on how to use the bands. If you’re worried about which band to buy, spend a little extra, get a bodylastics set, and go with it.
Okay, so you all saw that “maybe” I put in the first paragraph. Here’s the deal, I personally think free weights are the way to go when it comes to strength training, however, I think there are circumstances where exercise bands are *gasp* superior.
1. Traveling…you can carry a set of dumbbells with you I suppose, but honestly here is where the exercise band wins out. As traveling exercise equipment it’s hands down the best option when free weights aren’t available. You can get a great workout with just bodyweight exercises, but when you’re in a hotel room and just want to get a quick 30 minute full body routine, and maybe you’re not the most inshape person and can’t do handstand pushups, this is a nice option.
2. Bodyweight exercises can easily be enhanced with bands. I personally love doing pushups, but it’s basically gotten to the point where pushups are too easy or I have to do too many before I feel anything. Wrap an exercise band around your back, get into pushup position, and feel the extra tension. It’s a quick way to increase a bodyweight activity. Or, you can also use exercise bands to make a bodyweight exercise easier. Pullups for example, you can do some easier assisted pullups using exercise bands.
Or you can use exercise bands with free weights for a different experience. Do curls with free weights and then incorporate exercise bands to increase the load at the top of the exercise.
3. Limited space. Living in NY, I know that some apartments here barely fit a bed let alone a weight set. Now, ideally you would find a way to use an adjustable set of dumbbells and find a spot for them, but if you can’t for whatever reason or you have neighbors that will bitch about the occasional clang of weights…exercise bands, make no noise, take up no space.
4. Less intimidating than free weights. Women especially think free weights will do any number of horrible things to them. From making them look muscle bound (myth) or killing them somehow. I think you have all those idiots that do the bench press, at home, with no spotter, rack, or any safety…then someone posts the video of them getting injured under the bar. There is a stigma with free weights that just don’t exist with Exercise Bands. If you know someone very stubborn that doesn’t want to lift weights, well, exercise bands is a good middle ground to strength training. It’s just a more friendly device and between no strength training or a slightly imperfect exercise band strength training, you have to say exercise bands work well.
5. The person just likes to use exercise bands. You’ve seen me say that free weights are better, but if you don’t use the free weights but will use the bands, well, the bands are superior then, at least for that one person. In the end a person that likes doing an exercise, will continue to do the exercise, and even if it’s not perfect, at least it’s something.
Anyway, I know I’m going to get some weight lifting purist pissed, but I think exercise bands do have their place in strength training.