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Five great resistance band exercises

Resistance bands are excellent for muscle building and conditioning. Here are five great band exercises for your daily workout needs

Resistance bands are extremely versatile.
Resistance bands are extremely versatile. (Istockphoto)

Apart from being used for muscle building, resistance training, and being used for aiding pull-ups for beginners, bands (long or short bands) are excellent for corrective exercises. In fact, a lot of rehabilitation programmes are entirely based on bands, progressing from lighter to heavier weights. 

There are few kinds of bands, but they more or less do the same job with slight differences in utility, resistance, and material. The most popular ones are the flat short bands, and the longer, thicker pull-up bands. You might also find resistance tubes or figure-8 bands, but my favourites are the pull-up bands because of how much you can do with them. 

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My suggestion would be to buy light and medium weight pull-up bands, which when put together, will become a heavy. Apart from providing a range of difficulties in resistance, they can mostly do the job of the flatter short bands as well. 

A systematic review and meta-analysis in a study called Effects Of Training With Elastic Resistance Versus Conventional Resistance On Muscular Strength says that “resistance training with elastic devices provides similar strength gains when compared to resistance training performed from conventional devices. These findings allow coaches, physiotherapists, and even patients to opt to use devices with low costs, ease of handling, and which can be used in different places, such as elastic devices, for maintenance and gain in muscular strength.” Having used them for extensive rehab and posture correction, here are five standout resistance band corrective exercises.

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Lunges with lateral resistance: This exercise is probably the king of lower body corrective training. It will fix your knee tracking while bending, add pelvic and hip stability, and even work your glutes and core to keep the body from giving in to the resistance. The exercises are explained very well by Tim Keeley in the video above, and includes a single leg modification which is used as part of the treatment for anterior cruciate ligament injuries.

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The banded tear or the band pull apart: One of the easiest ones to do, banded tears provide multiple benefits, helping you build a stronger back and rectifying postural issues. Hold the band in front of you, either with palms facing each other or facing up, and extend both ends away from each other as far as your mobility allows. Start light and do three sets of 8-20 reps. This will help your posterior shoulder strength and is a must for all age groups.

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Banded bird-dog: Spinal stability is important for any workout routine you’re following. And even if you’re not. The bird-dog is done by getting down on all fours and extending one arm and the opposite leg together, and bringing it back for one rep. Adding a resistance band, clasped to your palm and the opposite foot, will increase the engagement of the core, glutes, and shoulders. Try using it as a warm-up to activate your muscles and get its corrective benefits as well. Three sets of 6-10 reps on each side would be perfect.

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Banded rotator cuff exercises: You must have seen a lot of people do this in the gym: go to the cable machine and do external rotation exercises for the shoulder. You can do that with resistance bands too, and it provides much better resistance than the cable. There are a few mistakes that people do though, which is flaring their elbows when the weight is too much for them, and starting at the wrong points to begin the exercises. This video by Tone & Tighten explains the mistakes and how to correctly do an exercise that will keep those rotator cuffs healthy.

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Lunge, rotate, lift: Exercises involving rotations are very few, especially if you are using a gym for your workouts. Adding some rotation work will help increasing your range of motion. The lunge, rotate, lift is a combination corrective move in which you lunge, rotate to one side while holding the band (which will be attached to something), and then lift the band in front of you (optional). Just doing a lunge and rotating with resistance is a great start before you add the lift. The video above has the best options of this corrective move.

Pulasta Dhar is a football commentator and writer.

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