Resistance bands may be a great alternative to weights, but only if we use them the right way. Unfortunately, they often don’t come with many instructions, so maybe we’ve all been using them wrong? Using them incorrectly can lead to injury, sure, but it can also prevent us from getting all of the benefits we're hoping for. Let’s take a closer look at how to use resistance bands correctly.
One of the most common exercises a lot of people get wrong is the lat pulldown. It’s a vertical pull, which targets the upper back. Usually, it’s performed on a gym machine. When using a resistance band, a couple of adjustments are necessary to do it right.
Using the bands the right way on this exercise leaves one arm in the air while pulling with the other one. It’s also possible to attach the center of the band to something overhead, which will mimic the machine’s movement. We should stabilize our shoulder blades by keeping our arms back and down. We need to draw the elbows back and down and maintain tension on the band when returning to the starting position.
When adding a band to the inchworm, the shoulder muscles will really be in use. To compensate for that unexpected extra effort, people often dip their hips when they’re in the high plank. That doesn’t provide as much value, though, and it isn’t going to give optimum results.
To avoid arching the back, it’s important to squeeze the glutes and pull in the belly. That will add stability, so the back doesn’t arch as easily. Stacking wrists under the shoulders will also add benefit and make it easier to press the weight back toward the heels instead of letting it get too far forward and off-balance.
The monster walk just sounds like a lot of fun, and with resistance bands, it may be more fun and a better overall exercise. Using bands with the monster walk targets the smaller muscles in the glutes and helps increase lower body stabilization. That’s a good reason to keep them strong, as they reduce hip, knee, and ankle injuries.
A common mistake with this exercise is not pushing the hips back as far as they should go when in the seated position. Think of it like sitting down in a chair. Stepping out without engaging the glutes is another common issue, and it’s essential to squeeze the glutes when stepping. Feet shouldn’t touch, either, and that means always keeping tension on the band.
A lot of people do the clamshell incorrectly. To make sure we’re not among them, it’s important to keep the hips forward and the heels together. Movement shouldn’t come from the knees but should come from the glutes. When done correctly, we should feel the burn in the glutes, and we shouldn’t notice tension or fatigue in other areas.
No matter how much exercise we get, there are always opportunities to improve the movements we make and the types of exercise we complete. While resistance bands may absolutely help us meet our goals, we have to use them the right way to be successful and to avoid injury. With some coaching, practice, and patience, we may be able to get the maximum benefit from our resistance band workout routine, skip the gym, and spend less time commuting and more time getting fit.
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