Resistance Band Training: The Ultimate Guide

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Did you know that fewer than 5 percent of American adults exercise for 30 minutes a day on a regular basis? When you’re busy and trying to balance a social life, work, and family obligations, finding time to get fit and stay active isn’t always easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s not essential to your health and well-being.


Exercise helps you lose weight, reduces the risk of disease as you age, and even gives you energy to help you stay on top of all those responsibilities you’re juggling each day. One of the best ways to get active and improve your fitness goals is with resistance band training.


If you’ve never looked into resistance training before, figuring out where to start can seem overwhelming. Use this guide to help you create and sustain a resistance training routine with ease.


What Is Resistance Training?

Strictly speaking, resistance training is any exercise that challenges your muscles against a specific force or resistance. The act of moving your body and challenging your muscles with resistance helps strengthen them and allows you to tone your body over time.

a woman performs resistance band training at home

The amount of resistance you use depends largely on your goals. If you want to aggressively build strength and bulk your muscles up, you’ll need to use heavier weights or stronger forms of resistance. If you want to tone your muscles and stay lean, you’ll need to use less resistance or lighter weights over longer periods of time.


What Qualifies as Resistance Training?

One of the biggest benefits of resistance training is that there are many different types of exercises that help you achieve your goals. You can lift weights at a gym, use resistance bands and systems at home, or even rely entirely on your bodyweight to strengthen different muscle groups.


This variety makes it almost impossible to get bored, which reduces your risk of plateauing or stopping your progress. All you have to do is change things up and try a new exercise to challenge your muscles in a different way.


A few easy and fun resistance training exercises include the following:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Pull-ups
  • Bench press
  • Static plank exercises

Keep in mind that these are just a few of the many types of resistance training exercises you can do in your daily life.

 

What Is the Difference Between Resistance Training and Strength Training?

Believe it or not, there is a difference between resistance and strength training. And it all comes down to your main goals.


Resistance training inherently builds strength, but bulking up and improving your ability to lift heavy objects isn’t usually the main goal. Instead, most resistance training exercises focus on toning your muscles and building what’s known as functional strength.


Functional strength allows you to perform daily tasks without taxing your body or pushing your muscles past their limit as you move.


Strength training is a type of resistance training with the goal of becoming physically stronger and building on your functional strength. To achieve this, you’ll have to consistently lift heavier items or increase resistance for your exercises. You’ll also need to review your progress and make changes to your resistance training routine to continue seeing improvements in your overall strength.


How Can I Do Resistance Training at Home?

Establishing a resistance training routine is easier than you might think. You don’t even have to join a gym. You just have to get creative and find ways to challenge your muscles at home.


The best place to start is with bodyweight exercises.


Lunges

Find a clear spot in your living room or backyard and run through a series of lunges. These exercises challenge your core and your lower body, building strength naturally. To start, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Then, take a step forward with one leg.

a man pairs lunges with resistance band training

Once you’ve extended your leg, lower yourself toward the ground without bending at your hips or rounding your shoulders. You should keep going down until your front knee sits directly over your ankle. When done correctly, your leg should form a 90-degree angle.


Planks

Planks target your core and your stabilizer muscles while also giving your arms, shoulders, and glutes a workout. You’ll be on the ground for this one, so avoid doing this on hard flooring or rough terrain.

Assume a pushup position but instead of supporting your weight on your hands with your arms extended, rest on your forearms. Tighten your abs and your glutes to help you hold the position. If you can, hold the plank for at least 15 seconds, take a 20-second break, and hold it for 15 seconds again.

woman holds a plank for resistance training

Invest in Some Equipment As You Progress

Though bodyweight exercises are a great place to start when practicing resistance training at home, you’ll eventually want to progress to other exercises. This will be easier to do if you have the right equipment on hand.

Incorporate items like medicine balls, free weights, and resistance bands into your at-home resistance training routine. These tools take up minimal space and can help you strengthen and tone your body without the use of cumbersome free weights or expensive machines. Just make sure you’re watching your form and be sure to change your workouts regularly to keep things interesting.

Check out the Gorilla Bow resistance bar with bands for an easy way to incorporate resistance training into your fitness regimen!


How Often Should I Do Resistance Training?

Repetition is the only way you’ll start to see results with resistance training of any kind. But the amount you work out largely depends on the types of results you’re looking for and your overall fitness level.


To Lose Weight

For weight loss, it’s best to do a combination of exercises several times a week. You’ll want to do at least 25 minutes of cardio two to three times each week and strength training two to three times each week.

You can even combine both into short but intense interval workouts. Combining your cardio with the Gorilla Bow is a great way to get your heart pumping while also strengthening your entire body.


To Build Muscle

If you’re trying to build muscle and see a dramatic improvement in your physical strength, you’ll still need to do at least two to three cardio workouts each week.

But you’ll also need to focus on more targeted strength workouts throughout the week.

For those just starting out, take your time. Stick with two to three strength workouts until you build up your stamina. Pay attention to the way your body responds to the workouts and adjust the resistance levels you’re using appropriately.

As your overall fitness improves, you can increase the frequency of your training sessions. Add a fourth day of strength training to your routine to further tone your muscles and maintain your progress. If you stop seeing the results you’re looking for with that schedule, start strength or resistance band training five days a week, targeting different muscle groups each day.


Is It Safe to Do Resistance Training Every Day?

When you start seeing progress, it’s easy to think that doing more resistance training sessions will help you progress faster. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

Doing resistance training sessions every day is a great way to increase your risk of injuries. Even mild muscle strains can take as long as two weeks to heal. Instead of running through resistance training exercises every day, take some time off.

Stagger your strength workouts or alternate them with your cardio workouts. This way, your muscles will have a chance to recover between sessions.

Your muscles won’t lose strength, and you won’t derail your progress by letting them rest every other day or so.


What Are Some of the Benefits of Resistance Training?

Resistance band training is one of the best things you can do for your body and the benefits of resistance training have a direct impact on your overall health and well-being. After a few weeks of consistent training, you’ll notice long-term changes that will impact your quality of life for years to come.

When you strengthen and tone your muscles, you’re effectively protecting yourself from future injuries. Your muscles will be strong enough to adapt to changing movements and different strain levels without forcing you to experience any long-term discomfort. You’ll even improve your range of motion, further reducing your risk of injury—especially as you age.

Though the physical benefits of resistance band training are numerous, building strength can also improve your mental health and well-being. Since this sort of training helps tone your muscles and reduces the buildup of fat, you’ll feel better about the way you look. When you’re confident in your body, you’ll be more confident in other aspects of your life.


How Effective Is Resistance Training?

man does bicep curls with resistance bands using the gorillla bow

If you’re looking to build strength and tone your muscles, nothing will work quite as well as resistance training. Even training with lighter levels of resistance or lighter weights can help you develop your muscles quickly.

But toning and building strength aren’t the only things resistance band training is great for. It also helps speed you along your weight loss journey.

Not only do resistance exercises help get your heart rate up, but they also help burn fat and power through the calories you consume each day. When you build muscle, your body will be able to better use the calories you eat, converting them to energy instead of storing them as fat for later use.

Even better, your muscles will be able to use the fat you already have for energy as long as you do enough cardio during the week. It doesn’t matter what your current fitness level is or what your goals are. Resistance training can help you lose weight and keep it off for years to come as part of a healthy lifestyle.


What Are the 7 Principles of Resistance Training?

To be successful with your resistance band training routine and to see long-term changes in your health and appearance, you need to be consistent in your efforts. When you’re dealing with other challenges in your life, it can be tough to keep yourself on track. The seven principles of resistance training as outlined by the U.S. Army Fitness Training Handbook can help provide some guidance. These principles are commonly referred to as PROVRBS.


1. Progression

The principle of progression refers to the need to continually review your performance and increase the intensity of your exercises as your fitness improves. Without progression, you won’t see lasting improvements.


2. Regularity

The principle of regularity serves to help you be consistent in your workouts. When you exercise regularly and mix in a combination of cardio and strength training exercises, you’ll start to see improvements. However, the principle does go one step further—it strongly recommends you pursue regularity in all aspects of your life. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods often, and do what you can to do what makes you feel great.


3. Overload

Physical improvement doesn’t happen when you go through the motions. You need to push yourself beyond your normal activity level when you’re working out. Think of it as overloading your muscles, pushing them to work against higher levels of resistance each time you work out.


4. Variety

Doing the same resistance training routine over and over again will only work certain muscle groups, rather than giving you the comprehensive, whole-body workout you’re looking for. You need to change things up once in a while and target different muscles with different exercises. When you do, you’ll be able to stay more motivated to continue reaching and exceeding your personal fitness goals.


5. Recovery

Working out harder and more often doesn’t mean you’ll see results faster. In fact, it can derail your progress in the long run. Recovery is essential if you want to avoid injuring yourself. Give yourself permission to take time off. Rest after each resistance training session and let your muscles recover.


6. Balance

The principle of balance refers to the way you should structure your workouts. You should take care to work each part of your body equally. When you do, you’ll avoid overdeveloping certain muscle groups.


7. Specificity

It’s easier to stay motivated and keep your workouts on track when you set specific goals. Try to do this as soon as you commit to starting a resistance band training routine. As you reach your goals, continue to set new ones so you can continue improving on your fitness journey.


Start Your Resistance Training Workout Routine

Starting a resistance training workout routine is one of the best things you can do for your body. Keep this guide in mind as you develop your routine, and you’ll set yourself up for success from the very beginning.


If you’re looking to take your workout to the next level or want to simplify your resistance training efforts without having to head to the gym, check out our Gorilla Bow workout videos for fun, safe, and effective routines you can do anywhere.

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