Image of woman working out at home with a resistance band
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Everything you need to know about resistance bands

What are the types of resistance band? Which is best for what? 

Power – big, thick bands for compound exercises mainly for the lower body
Tube (with handles) – more for the upper body. They also mimic gym machines
Mini bands – smaller and easier to hold against the body
Therapy – rehabilitation, physios use these a lot

Can you tell me in detail the best moves to work your bum that incorporate a band?

Single leg kick backs or single leg donkey kicks as they’re sometimes known. Band around both of your ankles, holding on to something in front of you and then kick one leg back to activate the glutes and build tension in the glutes.

Squats with the (mini) band just above your knees or just below your knees, have your feet shoulder width apart and then either squat all the way down and up or into a position and pulse. 

Jumping squats or wide squats where you have the band in the same place as above but this adds a bit more intensity and will increase the heart rate at the same time.

Low crab walks – down in a squat moving side to side, gets your glute med (smaller muscles in your bum) to work.

Lying down on the floor, band around thighs and do a glute bridge  – to activate the glutes its best to keep your knees externally rotated (forced out).

Are there any moves at the gym that are weighted that we could add a band to? 

Squats with a dumbbell
Glute bridge with a dumbbell on your hip
Deadlifts with a band around your thighs
Kettlebell swing with the band round the kettlebell instead rather than on your body. Loop it through the handle of the kettlebell and then stand on the resistance band – so when you swing the kettlebell back and forth the band is creating resistance.

Where do we place the band and why?

You can place it in many places around the body and they’re used mainly to make sure it’s comfortable for the exercise you’re doing and so you get the most from the exercise.

Do resistance bands become looser in time?

A good quality resistance band should have a typical life span of up to 2/3years at its best quality, although overuse and general wear and tear can occur. It’s always best to inspect your resistance band before every use. To keep them their best don’t get them wet, keep an eye on their colours, don’t store in direct sunlight and go for thickness as they’re usually a higher quality.

How many reps should we do of each move?

If you’re looking to build muscle in your bum you should be looking at 8-12 reps. For the majority of people this would work perfectly.  Ideally 3 to 4 sets of each exercise is a great workout.

How can we make sure our glutes are active before we workout? 

We want to do things like glute activation exercises – all the above exercises will help. You can use the banded exercises before going onto a leg workout. Some lower intensity before the band exercises, including clams, bodyweight glute bridges, using the stairmaster or walking on a treadmill on an incline will also get the glutes fired up.

And what’s the importance of working our glute muscles?

Glutes are the strongest muscle in the body – if that one is working and performing like it should the rest will follow. Pelvic alignment affects most exercises we do so this needs to be strong. It also reduces the risk of injury and helps support the lower back during heavy lifting.

7 of the best resistance band exercises that work different areas of the body

Tricep Pushdown 

Attach a power band to a stable anchor point up high. Hold the outside of the band with your elbows narrow & extend your arm all the way down. On the return keep arms in to the ribs and bring up just higher then a right angle at your elbow.

Wood Chops (CORE)

Attach a power band to a stable anchor point in line with your sternum. Facing sideways on to the band take hold and side step out so there is tension in the band. Pull the band across the body (arms straightened) and brace your core as you do so. Keeping the head and hips facing forward as best as possible. Afterwards face the other direction and repeat.

Upright Row (Shoulders) 

Stand on a band with your feet shoulder width apart (slightly wider to increase intensity). Hold the power band overhand with a gap between both hands. Pull elbows up towards the ceiling keeping the hands close to the body to work the shoulders and in to the upper back. Slowly release back down.

Assisted Pull Ups

Loop the power band through a pull up station to create a loop to place your foot or knee in to depending on the size of the band. The resistance from the band will provide support whilst your completing the pull up movement and therefore help you get better at pull ups. 

Bicep Curl

For this banded exercise you’ll use one with the handles. Either stand on the middle or loop round a stable anchor point down low. Keep the elbows tight to the ribs(narrow) and bend your arms to bring the hands up towards the shoulders and squeeze the bicep. Release slow and controlled. 

Chest Flys 

Use the band with handles to loop round a stable anchor point in line with your sternum. Take hold of the handles and face away from the anchor point. Take 2/3 steps in front of you and bring the band around the body, bringing hand to hand and squeezing the chest together. Release slowly keeping the shoulder blades down and the neck retracted. Don’t release to far and then go hands together again, squeezing the chest all the way through.

Bent Over Row

Stand on a handled resistance band in the middle, for this exercise ensure the power band isn’t too long. You want to hinge your hips backwards in a deadlift like movement, retracting your shoulder blades and keeping your core engaged. Pull the handles back and up towards the ceiling (palms want to be facing inwards) keeping the elbows narrow and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep the tension in the shoulder blades as you release the band and ensure your strictly staying in the same position. Repeat the reps from there.

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