Exercise resistance bands, fitness band, exercise band– this prop is known by lots of different names. But, regardless of what you call it, the stretchy exercise resistance bands have many great properties making it the perfect addition to any Pilates workout. Muscle toning, strength, flexibility improvement and physical therapy are just a few benefits of the perfect Pilates training.
So here are the many benefits and uses of this brilliant exercise resistance bands: read on and enjoy!
From the perspective of a Pilates teacher, one of the best things about exercise resistance bands is that they are a lightweight and portable alternative to the equipment. This makes getting your reformer fix at home or on holiday easy.
Another plus: the tension created by resistance bands can be easily adjusted. Different bands can be used to suit different needs and abilities. And the tension can be altered even further in various way.
For those wanting to increase the challenge of an exercise and build strength, multiple bands can be used together. If less tension is needed, slacking your hold on a band is always an option.
Another big benefit of the exercise resistance bands is that they help to make many mat exercises more enjoyable and effective. This is because they can be used like the pulleys and springs of the equipment to support the body.
Case study: roll down
Take the mat exercise “roll down”. When the two ends of the band are held on to like the loops handles on the reformer, the movement becomes supported by the band. Through this, bad habits can be avoided.
A common mistake in mat “roll down” is gripping through the front of the hips. With the addition of the prop, however, the hips can relax and the spine is able to flow fluidly down to the mat.
The addition of the band here allows the right muscles to engage and prevents other muscles from being over recruited – a win-win.
Case study: leg circles
Have you ever tried the “leg circle” exercise without the support of the equipment? If you have then you’ll know how difficult it is to keep your leg suspended above you.
But there is another way.
Try placing a resistance band around the sole of the foot in use and holding onto its two ends. In doing so, this prop (like the reformer straps) supports the leg and takes the tension out of the body. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of this swirling hip motion.
Try it at home
Feel the benefits of the resistance band yourself and use it during a mat exercise. A simple one for starters is the basic bridge.
For this exercise, use a looped band – or a standard band tied to make a loop – around your thighs. Press into the band as you bridge up to engage your outer legs and side glutes.
To increase the challenge, stay up in your bridge and pulse into your band for 5 – 10 reps, focusing on keeping good form throughout. Bridge down and repeat once or twice.
Want more? Keep your eyes peeled for our future posts on small props exercises. They’ll be coming soon. In the meantime, check out the introduction to the pilates small props on the Complete blog.