This article is part of a series of tips from our physical therapy clinic in Upland, CA.
Definition: Resistance band strength training is using rubber, stretchy bands or tubes to increase muscle strength.
History: Resistance bands originated in the early 1900’s when a piece of surgical tubing was cut and used to produce a resistance force. Their first usage was for exercise and shortly thereafter, as a rehabilitation tool for injured muscles and joints. Prior to the 1990’s, bands were primarily used for rehabilitation. They became very popular in the early 1990’s outside of therapy clinics due to their convenience and affordability. A great work-out can be attained and offers an alternative to expensive, bulky equipment and/or gym memberships.
One of the first companies to produce resistance bands was The Hygenic Corporation of Ohio in 1976. They called their product “Thera-Band”. Today, there are several other companies that manufacture the elastic bands and tubes. For our discussion, the Thera-Band products will be used.
Types: Elastic bands and tubing are color coordinated. Each company has a chart of the color and the corresponding resistance levels. Generally speaking, the lighter and thinner the color, the less resistance intensity. Other than pieces that are cut 3-4 feet for usage, there are loops and figure- eights. There are also handles and grips and anchors that are available to make the exercises more comfortable.
Resistance: The force produced by bands and tubing is directly related to elongation. Below is a chart that describes how much force is produced based on color.
Color: Most rehab exercises begin with the lightest color (yellow) and progress through the color schemes as strength increases. Higher levels of resistance (black, silver) are for more advanced exercisers needing more resistance. Your therapist will choose your beginning color and advance you as you get stronger.
Benefits: Benefits are very similar to weight training: increased muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. Increased strength and endurance improve athletic performance. Increased activity burns calories, and combined with proper nutrition, help to reduce body weight/fat. Better strength makes normal daily activities easier. Increased strength also improves balance and agility.
If your therapist is not suggesting a “holistic” (emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of all the parts) approach to your problem, then ask about all the other things you might consider doing to better improve your health. Things such as cardio exercise, food management, weight control, and stress reduction are examples of programs that are designed to look at all of you and not just the injured area.
If you would like more information, please call EDGE PT at 909-204-2894.
To Your Health,
Dee Tipton, PT, MPH, D.Div, DHT
Physical Therapist, Master of Public Health, Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Holistic Theology