Using Resistance Bands is similar to using free weights. You need to choose enough tension so that your muscles are challenged in every set. That is how you force the muscle to adapt and change. The last three reps of every set should cause your muscles to struggle.
Bands create resistance when you stretch them. They are different than free weights because the resistance actually increases as the band is elongated (stretched) further and further.
How Are Bands Rated For Resistance?
Here at Bodylastics International we are often asked how we rate our bands for tension, and how much tension the band creates at the beginning of the exercise and at the end.
Firstly, lets explore how we come up with the ratings for the tension level on each band. In this example we will look at a green band. It is rated at 5 pounds.
The way that we determine the resistance is by using a fish scale. As far as we know, we are the ONLY band company to use an accurate system to determine our resistance levels. First we hook up the end of the band to the scale, and then stand away from the anchor point. The band is then pulled and stretched. We measure the tension at the beginning of the pull to see the lowest resistance level.
Next, we stretch the band about 4 times it’s starting length and we look at the tension at that time as well.
Then we take the two resistance levels (at the starting length, and ending length) and average the tension levels between them. Most people are going to get the middle amount of tension from the band as they do their exercises.
We're giving you this as a guide. If you're coming from free weights to bands and you’re thinking, "I used a 5 pound dumbbell. Where should I be with bands?" Our rating system will give you a great starting point.
Importance Of The Resistance Range Per Band
The ultimate truth is it doesn't matter what the rating of the band is. Your goal for each set in your workout is to make sure that the muscle is overloaded and pushed to failure (or close to it). You may have to switch between bands or combine bands to insure that you are struggling towards those last few reps of every set. Once again, the rating DOESN’T MATTER. The range of the resistance as the band stretches doesn't matter. Challenging the muscle with the right amount of resistance matters. That should be your main concern.
There you go. Hope that gives you a little insight into using resistance bands and how to get the most out of your band workouts. Have a great workout!