Mini-band crab walk

Mini-band crab walk

You may be wondering what they are, what the difference is between them,  and how you can incorporate them into your next workout?  You may have used them in the past and, now a convert, love the fact they can majorly blast your glutes and increase the intensity of an exercise.

Light and easy to pack for travel, bands allow you to perform numerous exercises without any other equipment.

Power band fire hydrant

Power band fire hydrant

They come in a range of different strengths, and depending on the brand will come in different colours to identify the lightest through to the heaviest strength.

All the bands stretch and provide resistance or assistance to a movement, depending on what the goal of the exercise is. This can then improve your muscular strength.

 

Resistance band dead bug

Resistance band dead bug

 

Mini-band fire hydrant

Mini-band fire hydrant

Power/Strength Bands

Due to the nature of power bands, each level of band can be used in varying ways. In recent years, power bands have been popularised by various fitness experts for use as a mobility tool.

Power bands are generally a thicker material and are much firmer than resistance and mini-bands. They are also longer, which allows for use of resistance bands in different ways.

Mini-band lat pulldown

Mini-band lat pulldown

The mid to heavy strength power bands are useful as tools to improve hip and shoulder mobility (please see photos of mobility for hips), however they can also be used for resistance exercises such as banded push ups (pictured), sumo or crabs walks (please see photo with mini-band) or assisted chin ups.

Choose the resistance or thickness of power band you need based on what you want to achieve and what the exercise is that you are going to perform.

If you were doing a crab walk as a beginner, you may want to use the lightest power band or perform them with a mini-band (pictured), however if you had access to a resistance band or loop band, this would also be an option.

Mini-band squat

Mini-band squat

Resistance/Thera-Band Bands

Resistance bands are excellent rehabilitation tools as they are cheap, easy to transport and you can do countless exercises for various parts of the body.

Resistance bands are a single, thin, long piece of material which can be held in both hands for exercises, tied in a knot or tied to an anchored piece of equipment.

Mini-band squat

Mini-band squat

If you want to improvise with these bands, try tying it around your foot or knee while you do a dead bug or fire hydrant exercise (pictured) and it will add extra resistance.

These exercises are easily done with just body weight, however adding the band will help you feel the extra resistance.

Using bands in this way stops you from plateauing in your fitness journey and allows you to continue to build strength.

 

Power band push up

Power band push up

 

Mini-band tricep pushdown

Mini-band tricep pushdown

Mini/Loop Bands

Mini-bands are comparable to resistance bands in that they are often made out of material akin to that of resistance bands, however they are one continuous loop.

People like using mini-bands because you don’t need to tie them.

Power band hip mobility hip flexor

Power band hip mobility
hip flexor

You can pull them over the feet and place them anywhere from the ankle to the upper thigh and perform various movements from squats (pictured), lunges, clams, or four point kneeling exercises.

Tricep pushdowns and a modified lat pulldown are easily performed using the loop band (see photos).

Using bands in the gym is a fantastic way of adding variety, increasing resistance to a body weight exercise, help you to get more from the exercise you are currently doing and to improve your mobility.

Add a few of these ideas to your programme and have a play with the various bands available to you.

Power band hip mobility

Power band hip mobility

Whether it’s a thera-band or a power band, once you have a few exercises under your belt you will be able to see ways of using them in exercises you already do.

To source any bands, discuss with your local exercise professional or pop into your local physiotherapy clinic or sports store.

If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely you’re interested in learning about resistance bands, loop bands/mini bands and power bands.