Updated: Apr 18
The resistance band is a pretty common and familiar piece of equipment.
They are a particular favourite of Physio's for prescriptive exercises especially when trying to target smaller or weaker muscles.
I find though that when something is more readily available there are often a lot more options and it makes it a tad difficult to understand which is best and what exactly to do with it.
So let me tell you more...
The resistance band is possibly one of the most versatile pieces of mat based Pilates equipment. It can be used in many different ways and can be used for resistance and assistance which always makes a piece of equipment more appealing to me especially for group classes.
The resistance band has so may different styles and uses that the possibilities are endless and may possibly require another blog post.
I don't currently use resistance bands in class very often simply because they are expensive to buy in bulk and that is the only reason they are so far down my list. They are small and easy to transport and store which is a big bonus. They do need more care than other pieces of equipment, depending on the brand and strength it is essential you pull them apart before storage. You also might need to regularly talc them to prevent any sticking together as this can lead to the band degrading and ultimately snapping, which is unfortunately something that happened with my last batch of bands and I have yet to replace them, hence why I don't use them in class as much at the moment.
When I do use them in class I use them in a number of different ways.
The first is holding one end of the band in each hand. Depending on the exercise being performed the middle of the band can be either under the feet when standing, under then bum when seated, round the back for chest and arms exercises or even over the hips when supine for shoulder bridge style exercises. In most of these positions you will add arm movements to the exercises such as squat with front raise. You can increase the resistance in all these positions, without purchasing a second stronger band, by simply winding the band round the hands more. You can also stand with the feet further apart.
Next I use it as a loop and tie the band round the thighs, ankles, feet, upper arms or hands, you can use a looped band specifically for this. When using the band in this way you usually perform the exercise in the normal way and the band provides extra resistance. A cut band can actually looped round more than once, before being tied, for more resistance especially if it is on the longer side.
Next I like to use the band to wrap the body. Specifically I like to use it round the upper torso in a way that helps bring the shoulder blades together, opens the chest and brings the rib cage from flaring. Once wrapped you then perform the exercises in the normal way and the band, rather than providing resistance, now gives assistance and keeps your posture correct. I particularly like to this with my dancers during their Pilates classes especially those taking ballet.
Lastly I also like to use it to assist in other ways such as aiding seated and supine leg stretches and supine leg circles. The band helps take some weight off the lifted leg and helps you hold the leg further in than you normally would.
Buying them for use at home is very easy and simple. They don't really have another name and are usually called resistance bands unless branded, such as the Thera band. There's nothing to be really careful of either other than, for obvious reasons, a circular or looped band will most likely change what exercises you will be doing.
Most bands come pre-cut in a pack of three or four different strengths which, for me, helps take away some of the guess work as you then don't need to decide on anything and you always then have options during your workout. A few years ago I even bought a pack that contained two cut bands and two circular bands from Aldi, which is even better, as you then have a band for all exercises and eventualities.
Length can be an issue to consider especially if you are taller or performing exercises such as round the world or body wrapping. Longer bands are harder to find so you may need to buy in bulk on a roll and cut your own.
You can also buy bands that are round similar to a rope often with handles and these work just as well as all other versions except for maybe the body wrapping as a flat band wraps better and will be more comfortable.
You can buy resistance bands almost any where, Amazon has many, many different options and I have regularly seen them on the aisles of various supermarkets such as ASDA, Tesco and Aldi. Plus pretty much anyone who has ever been to see a physio quite often has one already lurking somewhere in the house so check before you buy! I've mainly just seen these called resistance bands unless they are branded like a Thera band. There are also fabric resistance bands sometimes called booty bands or activation bands whilst these are a different piece of equipment they are used in a very similar way as a looped band.
Which is your favourite resistance band exercise?
Be careful of your nose when passing the band close to your face because if you let go they have a tendency to ping back like an elastic band.
#pilatesornottopilates #pilatesequipment #pilatessmallequipment #topfivepilatesequipment #resistanceband #everythingyouneedtoknow #pilatesclasses #pilatesinstructor #fitnesspilates #fitnesspilatesinstructor #icanhelp