As part of your MYX Plus home gym, your mini resistance loop might look a little, um, flimsy hanging out next to an imposing dumbbell or kettlebell. But this unassuming fitness accessory is actually an amazing strength training tool.
Tiny but mighty
Just like free weights, your stretchy band provides resistance that your muscles have to work against. “One major difference between free weights and resistance bands is that bands provide resistance throughout the entire range of motion,” says MYX Trainer Jesse Barton.
“With free weights, there are actually parts of a movement when the muscles can sort of take a break due to the lack of tension—for instance, the top of a bicep curl. Whereas with a band, you’re working against resistance throughout the entire range of an exercise, not just during the portion where you’re resisting gravity. And with your muscles working harder, you’ve got better contraction which is the key to getting stronger.”
3 reasons resistance bands are awesome
They continuously challenge your muscles
Say you’re doing a squat with a mini band around your quads. You have to press your legs against the band from the moment you’re in the starting position, to when you’re lowering into the squat, and when you’re standing back up, in order to keep your knees aligned (i.e. not collapsing in toward each other).
When you use a resistance band, your muscles stay under tension for an extended period of time, which means they’re pretty much constantly working. If you’ve ever done glute bridges or lateral walks with a mini band looped around your legs, you know that you’re never really giving your muscles a rest until you actually stop doing the exercise.
They recruit your stabilizing muscles
“The constant tension from the band also means your entire body has to work to stabilize itself to maintain form during an exercise, including activating your core for balance,” says Jesse. “The stronger your stabilizers are, the lower your risk for injury.”
They go anywhere
With more (and more) people getting vaccinated, travel to see family and friends this summer is looking like a welcome option. Of course you’ll have your smartphone (with your MYX app) with you so pop this lightweight baby into your luggage.
Even if you’re staying close to home, getting outside in the fresh air will lift your mood, and working out outdoors has lots of great benefits. Whether you’re heading for the beach, the park, or just out to your backyard, your loop and MYX app can go with you.
Another reason to get looped in: studies show that athletes who trained with both resistance bands and free weights had significantly greater strength and power than those using free weights alone.
Jesse’s 3 favorite mini-band exercises
- Loop the resistance band above the knees and perform squats as you would normally: hinging at the waist and sitting back as if you were sitting into a chair.
- Think about pressing against the band as you perform this exercise; that will help keep knees from buckling inward. 12-15 reps.
- Loop the mini-band under the ball of one foot.
- Pull the band up to waist level with both hands, keeping elbows close to the body.
- Lunge back with the opposite leg while maintaining the position of the mini-band. Gently tap the knee to the floor then return to your starting position. 10-12 reps each side.
Single-arm row with mini-band
- Start from a low lunge position (half-kneeling position), knee and ankle aligned in a 90 degree angle.
- Loop the mini-band under your front foot.
- Grab hold of the band with the opposite hand, driving the elbow behind you to it’s full range of motion.
- Return to starting position. That’s one rep. 12-15 reps per side.