• Michael Chen

My First Time: Resistance Band Training

Updated: Aug 10

Even before the pandemic hit the world, I was constantly trying to figure out ways to workout effectively with less.

Right after my first time training with the bands.

Half the battle to a healthier & fitter you is getting into a habit to exercise regularly. #HabitsAreHarderToBreak


I was always into developing routines with limited equipment that I could do at home. I already have a pair of 15kg dumbbells which are a lot of fun.


But what to do if I want more of a challenge besides buying more plates? Which takes up space and can be sometimes more expensive?


So, I've expanded my home arsenal to include resistance bands as well. This is entirely new to me and I thought I'd put down some of the things that I think would be helpful for anyone who may be thinking of picking this up too!


Check out this video:

James Grage came up in all of my online searches for resistance band training. I find his explanation of 'linear variable resistance' ie the more that you stretch a band, the harder it gets, very useful. Before I went shopping for bands, this was the most informative video I watched by far.


Here are some quick tips:

  1. Thickness = Resistance | The thicker it is, the harder it will be to workout with it. And you can adjust where you grip the band, when doing a particular exercise to create more resistance when necessary. Which creates a lot more range of weight that you can give yourself with lesser equipment VS getting a whole bunch of dumbbells, plates or kettlebells like you would have at a typical gym.

  2. Rule of thumb, for the smaller muscles, like biceps or triceps, use thinner bands.

  3. Rule of thumb, when engaging bigger muscle groups/movements, use the thicker bands.

  4. Get full fingered gloves. Something like James Grage is wearing in most of his videos. Unless you are comfortable getting blisters or calluses, in which case, knock yourself out!

  5. Lastly, get yourself at least 2 or 3 different sizes, ranging from thin to thicker. This is so that you can experiment for a full range of exercises using the various bands which provide different levels of resistance. You can see at the picture at the top of this post, that I have gotten 2. I regret not buying one more heavier/thicker band!


FYI:

  • Both my bands are roughly 6ft (2080mm) in length and 3mm in thickness.

  • Where they differ is in the width. The Green is 3.2cm in width and the Black is 2.1cm in width.

  • According to the seller that I bought this from, the black band can create anywhere between 25 to 50 lbs of resistance (ie 11 to 22 kg) and the green band between 75 to 100 lbs of resistance (ie 34 to 45 kg). Since I normally lift this sort of weight at the gym, I used this as a barometer of which band I should purchase.

  • *Personally, I feel that there's no way to be absolutely sure what weight you're pulling on the bands, so doing some form of regular routine where the last 2 to 3 reps become super tough, then you're putting yourself through a decent challenge. For example, if you're targeting to do 10 reps of a particular movement, the last 2 to 3 reps should feel close to impossible to do, but you just have enough to finish it!


My plan is to focus on full body routines when working with the bands and master a few variations of movement first before experimenting with other movements. For now, I'm following this particular routine (video below) which I've really enjoyed doing. I actually did it three times back to back at my first attempt. It's a cool combination of resistance training with very short periods of rest ie HIIT training.


That's it for my first time with the Resistance Bands. Hope you've found this little post useful. If you're taking it up and would like to ask any more questions or just share your own experience, just drop me a message. I would love to hear from you. Learning is a life-long process.


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UPDATE: Here's my own 'follow-along' video -



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