Their portability, array of usage, and powerful punch in a small package make them ideal for on the go workouts of almost any intensity and target, and all without any additional equipment necessary.
However, what you might not realize is that these little rubber wonders can also be used in conjunction with weights to better target specific muscles or when heavier weights and/or a spotting partner isn’t available.
The Many Types Of Resistance Bands And Which To Use With Weights
Before stretching out into how to use a resistance band with weights, you first need to understand that there are several different categories of resistance bands available. Brands, labels, and strength aside, you will generally find two different types of bands:
1. Tubular Resistance Bands – Also called tube bands, these resemble a colored version of medical tubing you’d see attached to an oxygen machine. At the ends of both sides, you’ll find some type of apparatus for grip or security. Some come with handles. Some come with door attachments. Some come with leg attachments. Some can even be changed back and forth from these various attachment accessories. As great as the accessories are, this is not the right fit for weights.
2. Loop Resistance Bands – these can be tubular or flat, but the distinguishing feature is that they don’t have open ends. They’re shaped like a thicker version of a rubber band.
Now, tubular resistance bands are great when used as a replacement for weights, but it’s best to use a loop resistance band with weights. The attachments on tubular bands can get in the way and become a safety hazard; if removed, then they don’t offer any means to attach securely to weights. Looped bands anchor securely to stretch safely with the weights.
How To Use Resistance Bands With Your Dumbbell Exercises
If your dumbbell exercise involves you being in a standing position, then you can add a resistance band to the exercise.
So, say your hotel gym doesn’t have a heavy enough dumbbell or you don’t want to house the huge weights at home, then you’ll just pull out your resistance band to create the weight you desire through resistance.
Here are some specific dumbbell exercise ideas:
• Upright row – Grab your dumbbell and place the band over the center of the weight’s grip so that the opposite end of the band is hanging from the dumbbell toward your feet. Step on the end of the band, using the center of your foot to act as an anchor. Repeat the process for the weight in your other hand. The band should securely stretch and add resistance as you simultaneously pull the dumbbells up to perform upright rows.
• Curls – Follow the same steps as in the upright row to get your band and weights in position, but perform curls one hand to shoulder at a time instead.
• Overhead Press – Using the same weight and band setup as above, you’ll position the dumbbells at a shoulder-height starting point and push the dumbbells all the way up. You may need a lesser resistance band to achieve a full stretch if your tall.
• Double Dumbbell Row – You’ll stand on a single band here. Your stance should be narrow. With a dumbbell and band in one hand, you’ll assume a position similar to a bent over barbell row. The band stretches as you row the dumbbell to your torso.
How To Use Resistance Bands With Your Barbell Exercises
Just as the dumbbell exercises depicted above, you can use your resistance band in conjunction with barbell upright rows, bent over barbell rows, and barbell upright curls. Other ideas for barbell exercises with your resistance band include:
• Bench Press – You’ll begin by holding one end of the band and sliding the loop of the band around the end of the right side of the bar. Continue to bring the band, now attached to the end of the bar, underneath the weight bench itself. Secure that looped end around the left side’s end of the bar. Each side of the resistance band is now secure with the weight bench acting as the anchor.
• Deadlift – Slide the loop of two bands over the bar so that they encircle the bar and you can step on each band with the coordinating foot. Make sure to step on the band with the center of your foot, not your heel or toes. Clearly, short bands work best. There should already be tension on the bands between your feet and the bar. As you lift, the band provides increasingly taught tension and resistance. Mind your balance.
Squat – Use two bands. One end of a band such be cinched to the squat rack. Continue to bring the band around to the corresponding end of the bar. Repeat the process for the other side with band number two.
• Triceps Extensions (Laying) – You’ll need a free standing bench, one band, and and EZ curl bar. Load it up to your desired weight, keeping in mind the extra tension from the band. You may need a partner to hand you off the bar if your weights are heavy. The band should be looped on each end of the bar and under the bench. It’ll look similar to the instructions from a bench press.
Now that you have some ideas, let your imagination roam. Safely, of course. Your main safety concern is in properly securing the exercise band to your weights and under the center of your foot. Remember that safety rule and the sky is the limit for weighted exercises with resistance bands. Some trainers are only utilizing resistance bands on deadlifts and other big strength movements. In reality, resistance bands are great to build muscle quickly and add spice, difficulty, or access to any exercise portfolio.
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