One of the most common questions I encounter is the difference between flat or loop power bands, as many people call them, and the tubular resistance bands with handles . In my early years with resistance bands I used the tubular variety, but over time I switched to the power bands . Let me explain why, because it has a lot to do with the fascinating concept of linear variable resistance. So let's get started right away!
Linear Variable Resistance: An Important Concept
Linear variable resistance means that the more you stretch a band, the heavier the resistance becomes. This is one of the benefits of resistance bands. Imagine you have a band of this type, with different resistance levels. Does this mean you only have five levels of resistance, equivalent to five different dumbbells? No, it isn't, and this is thanks to linear variable resistance.
Adjustment of Resistance Levels
You can increase the resistance in different ways by stretching the band more. Suppose you are doing an exercise with low resistance in your starting position. Placing your feet wider apart creates more tension and makes the exercise more difficult. You can also pre-stretch the band by placing your feet even wider.
Variability with Loop Resistance Bands
Now let's look at looped resistance bands that you can place under your feet. With these bands you have even more flexibility to adjust the resistance. If you grab the band at the top, you will have a slight resistance. If you grip the band further down, the resistance increases. This gives you almost endless options to find the right level of resistance for your workout.
Multiple Forms of Resistance
In addition to adjusting the position of your feet or hands, you can also adjust the distance between you and the anchor point. As you step further away, you stretch the band more and increase the resistance. If you're in the middle of your set and it's getting too hard, you can simply loosen the band a little to adjust the resistance.
Anchor-bound vs. Non-Anchor Tied Exercises
Now let's talk about anchoring the ties. In the beginning of my program, which I call "Train Anytime, Train Anywhere," I do no-anchor exercises, which means you attach the band to your own body. This gives you a base of exercises that you can do anywhere, without the need for a door or a pull-up bar. You only need your own body.
Anchor Bound Exercises
Now, for anchor-bound exercises, there are several ways to do this. A useful tool is a door anchor. This allows you to attach the band to the door and perform various exercises. It is important to use the door correctly to ensure safety. Another option is a pull-up bar if you have one.
Increasing Resistance with Multiple Bands
So far we've talked about adjusting the resistance within one band, but you can also combine multiple bands to increase resistance. You can simply use multiple bands together and this gives you even more flexibility in adjusting the resistance.
Training by Feeling
An important point is to train based on how you feel. It is not about the specific amount of resistance in kilos, but how you feel your muscles working. If you can get in your designated reps, push yourself to the limit. Remember that linear variable resistance and adjustment options help you tailor your training to your level.
Benefits of Resistance Bands
Finally, resistance bands offer some advantages over free weights. They are portable and do not require additional equipment such as benches. Resistance bands allow you to perform exercises in different directions, which provides a stronger base and core muscles. They also promote good form because you can't use momentum to assist with the movement.
In this guide, we've covered the basics of resistance band training, from linear variable resistance to resistance adjustments and using anchor points. Remember, it's not about the weight, it's about how you feel your muscles working and how you push yourself to the limit. Resistance bands provide a flexible and portable way to exercise effectively.
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