This is a guest post from our friend Kodjo Hounnake. We know you’ll enjoy it.
When it comes to strength training, most people typically go for free weights and machines. But if you work out at home, you probably know how expensive free weights are; let alone full-blown workout machines. So if you get most of your workout done at home, one piece of equipment you may want to get is the resistance tube.
Resistance tubes are long rubber bands with handles on them, and are used to perform strength training exercise routines. The resistance depends on its elasticity. This means that the thicker the tube, the higher its resistance. Keep that in mind when choosing one. You certainly don’t want it to be too elastic or not elastic enough. In other words, find your sweet spot.
The different uses of the resistance tube are only limited by your creativity. For example, you can step on the tube and use its resistance to perform biceps curls and lateral raises. Also, make sure your resistance tube comes with a door attachment, as it helps hook the tube to a door or window. This further increases the breadth of exercises you can perform. For instance, when attached to a door, the resistance tube can be used to perform triceps extensions, chest fly, rows, etc.
Unlike dumbbells that have a set weight, the great thing about resistance tubes is that you can increase or decrease your level of difficulty by modifying your position. Specifically, if you attach the band to a door, the farther you move away from the door, the higher the intensity of each pull. The closer you are to the door, the easier your workout.
There are many reasons everyone should own a resistance tube:
Resistance tubes are travel-friendly: If you travel often, it is very easy to skip a workout, especially if your travel location doesn’t have a gym in close proximity. In this case, the resistance tube can come to your rescue, as it is very easy to pack, and can be used in your hotel room or strapped around a tree.
Resistance tubes are cheap: There isn’t a lot of exercise equipment out there that is both versatile and affordable. The resistance tube is one of them. You can pick one up for less than $20, so it’s great for the budget-conscious exerciser (i.e. most of us)!
Resistance tubes add variety: With regular free weights, you are limited by the number of exercises you can perform, whereas a resistance tube allows you to modify your positioning in so many different ways, that there are endless possibilities for complexity and difficulty.
Resistance tubes are not just for the pros: Because you can control the elasticity of the tubes, they can be used by beginners and pros alike. To add intensity to your workout, step away from the attachment point. (for example, if you’re doing a chest press with the tube in the door behind you, the attachment point is where the tube is held by the door). To reduce the intensity, move closer to the center of the tube.
In the routine below, you’ll see the resistance tube being used to perform some triceps, shoulders and chest exercises
About the author: Kodjo Hounnake is a fitness enthusiast turned health blogger. When he is not tweeting or blogging about home workout sand healthy eating, he is likely eating healthfully and working out at home. His wish is to contribute as much as possible to the fight against obesity in America. He recently developed a four-week home workout program to help people exercise in the comfort of their home. Kodjo has more than a hundred thousand loyal Twitter Followers at Kodjoworkout.
Dear Readers: We encourage you to subscribe to and follow Kodjo, as he’s a very sociable person.
For those of you who are new to tubes or have shoulder issues, we recommend you hold your arms lower than shoulder height for the chest press, with the tube coming under the arms rather than over.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly: The short answer is that both yoga and Pilates DO improve strength and are fantastic activities. And both are low resistance workouts. Depending on your fitness or health goals, you may also want to add some heavier resistance training to your weekly workouts. Think: free weights, machines, elastic tubing, medicine balls, kettlebells, barbells, teen progeny who hold still when you hug and squeeze them. Lots of choices!
Alexandra: I just went over to Gaiam TV to see what kind of yoga and Pilates videos they have for strength training and I got 3 pages of titles just for the “beginner” category. I think my mouse-clicking finger just got stronger! That was surprising – not that my finger has superhuman strength, but that there were so many “alternative” strength DVDs – because in our Yoga For Flexibility and Weight Loss post we talk about yoga’s more relaxing aspects. In this Ab Strengthening post, we talk about some of the benefits of Pilates (and share some great ab moves).
And my sister gave you the short answer above, so I’ll give you the strong answer. If you only enjoy yoga and Pilates, do them, knowing it will take you longer to show your Wonder Woman toned up muscles. But if you also enjoy free weights, add them to your workout. The combination of activities will be your quickest path to Dee-lightful, Blissful muscles. I shall now go practice my “I got into the Pretzel and can’t get out” move. It’s sort of like the saying for New Orleans (I’ve fallen down and can’t get up), except the Pretzel doesn’t involve drinking. Or cartilage as far as I can tell!
K: Huh? Were you talking? I was working out to Gaiam TV videos that had the words “powerhouse,” “pumping,” “squeeze stronger,” and “Budokon” in them. Apparently I will be invincible!! after I try Budokon. Heck, I’ll be smarter just figuring out what that means. Here’s to being strong and invincible!
Dear Readers: What are your favorite yoga or Pilates moves for gaining muscle definition and strength?
Also, we want to let you know that Gaiam TV is offering a 10 Day Free Trial, which means you’ll get free access to over 2000 healthy living streaming videos. Yup, free access for you all because that’s how we work the magic on your behalf! If you can’t watch them all in 10 days (you can’t), put a subscription on your wish list. Just sayin’.
Bonus tip: They have videos on everything from the environment, metaphysics, art & culture, science & technology, travel, fitness, documentaries, and dinosaurs to food & nutrition, TV shows, family and even (can you believe it?) yoga and Pilates! We’re off to check out the self-help because if we don’t help ourselves, who will?
Disclosure: Gaiam TV compensated us for the links in this post. All opinions and suggestions are our own.