Resistance bands may look like unassuming strips of rubber, but they could be the tools you need to prevent exercise injuries. If your body feels like it’s coming loose at the seams, these bands can tie you back together and iron out the knots.
Resistance bands offer a number of advantages, from improving your strength and posture, to increasing your mobility and giving your joints a boost. This makes them ideal for helping you to reduce the chances of injury when exercising. Whether you’re a runner, swimmer, or heavy lifter, these bands are a convenient way of keeping the pain at bay. No gym or other equipment required.
Ready to find out more? Find out why you need to join the resistance.
How Do Resistance Bands Help Prevent Injuries?
One of the main benefits of using resistance bands in your fitness routine is that they make your core rock solid. Strong core muscles are vital to prevent injuries. A wobbly, weak core can place extra pressure on other parts of your body, which ultimately leads to strains, sprains, and worse injuries.
The great thing about bands is that anyone can use them, no matter how strong, fit or supple you are. When you lift a dumbbell, there is no give or take—you either push through the rep or fail, which can often result in injuries like muscle tears or other acute injuries. In contrast, our 41” loop bands range in resistance from 5-200lbs (2-90kg), making them safe for every fitness level.
You can use resistance bands when performing exercises like assisted pull ups before completing a full rep. On the other hand, you can use bands for standalone moves, which brings variety to workouts—an important factor that prevents muscles from overworking.
Using resistance bands like our 41” loop bands can push your fitness up a notch without risking sprains and strains that come with pushing beyond your capabilities.
The 41” loop band allows you to concentrate on isolated muscles, which play a big part in preventing injuries. If some of your muscles are weaker than others, you can be sure that an injury is on the way. Smaller muscles provide assistance when you’re lifting heavy weights—and one thing you don’t want is a muscle imbalance that destabilizes you and throws off your form.
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Why Are Resistance Bands the Best Option For Injury Prevention And Recovery?
You can replicate many strength training moves—more or less—using resistance bands. While doing deadlifts and bench presses build a lot of strength, the unforgiving nature of weights can make small errors very costly. Dropping the bar when your muscles suddenly give out is potentially extremely dangerous, whether it results in a torn meniscus, ruptured tendon, or something even worse.
Resistance bands are the opposite of unforgiving. While they come in various strengths, each band is flexible to ensure that the person using them doesn’t hit a metaphorical brick wall in the middle of a rep.
If you’re dealing with an injury, it’s vital to avoid overloading your body, especially the muscles and tendons surrounding the afflicted area. Resistance bands are extremely useful when dealing with this issue, as you can adjust exercises to target isolated muscles without putting strain on other parts of the body.
What Types of Injuries Can Be Avoided/Treated With Resistance Bands?
Training properly with resistance bands boosts your overall strength, as well as targeting isolated muscles. Improving your form (whether you’re lifting weights or running) is the best way of preventing injuries—acute injuries as well as those caused by overuse.
Using resistance bands can help protect you from a wide variety of injuries, such as:
- Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)—pain on the outside of your elbow that can radiate down your forearm that is often caused by overuse.
- Hip bursitis—inflammation of the bursa (a small pouch of fluid) that causes hip pain that radiates to the outside thigh. Causes include overuse through running, cycling, or just being on your feet for too long.
- Rotator cuff injuries—tears in the muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint that can get caused by repetitive overhead movements, including strength training.
What Are The Benefits Of Targeting Specific Muscles In Your Resistance Band Training?
One problem with traditional or conventional strength training is that you can’t target specific muscles as much as you’d like. Building strength with compound exercises (ie exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time) like deadlifts and squats is very effective, but neglecting your smaller muscles can result in weakness and injury.
Targeting one specific muscle or muscle group is something all of us should incorporate into our workouts. Performing a compound move like a lunge with resistance bands is an excellent movement for building overall strength, as it uses many muscle groups. If you have a muscle imbalance, however, pulling off a complex move like a squat can overload your stronger muscles as they attempt to compensate for the weaker ones.
Resistance bands are perfect for strengthening and stretching isolated muscles. Some weight machines in gyms profess to zone in on specific muscles, but when it comes to working isolated muscles, form is everything. The typical weight machine is basically a “one size fits all”, which can lead to injuries if you push yourself to lift heavier with poor form.
What Are Some Exercises That Help To Prevent Injuries?
First off, it’s vital to remember that exercises you’re performing to prevent or treat an injury need to be done slowly and in a controlled manner. Having an injury doesn't necessarily mean you need to stop exercising, but it does mean you need to adjust the way you workout.
A few resistance band exercises to help prevent injuries include:
1. Banded anti-rotational press
Stand in front of a sturdy pole and loop a resistance band around it. Holding it with both hands, move backwards until it is moderately taut, then turn 90 degrees, keeping your feet just over a shoulder-length apart. Hold the band at chest height with your arms straight, then engage your core muscles and move your hands to your chest by bending your elbows, maintaining the same tension in the band, and not turning at all.
2. Weighted dips with a chain
Weighted dips are a great compound exercise that targets the triceps, shoulders and chest while also engaging all your core muscles. They build strength that can carry over to other exercises, like the bench press and push ups.
How-to: Wrapping a weighted dip belt around your waist with the chain in front, load a weight plate onto the chain so that it is stable. Lift yourself onto the dip bars facing outwards. Your arms should be straight, with locked elbows, and your body should be vertical with head, trunk, and wrists aligned. Breathe in and lower your body by bending the elbows and allowing your torso to move forward a fraction. Lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel with the floor before lifting yourself to the starting position.
It’s important to build up slowly to avoid straining muscles and joints, and you should pay attention to your form so that your wrists, elbows and shoulders reach the full range of motion. You can also use resistance bands to add some variety to dips and build up strength in a gentler manner.
3. Weighted pull ups
To do a weighted pullup you need to secure a weighted dip belt around your waist, similar to weighted dips. Hang from a bar with your hands placed just wider than your shoulders and pull yourself up so your chin just clears the bar. Reps should be controlled in order to maintain good form.
4. Resistance exercises for isolating muscles
Many traditional strength training exercises can be modified to use resistance bands, including bicep curls (standing on a band and pulling it up with one arm), which are great for preventing conditions like tennis elbow.
One very effective exercise that targets the glutes is the lateral walk. To do this, get into a squat position and place a 12” booty loop band around your thighs. The band should stretch taut. Lower yourself into a half-squat position, making sure to engage the muscles around your hips.
Take a step to the right with your right leg so that you have to work against the band’s tension, then step to the right with your left leg so that the tension returns to the initial level. All this should be completed in a half-squat position. You can raise or lower the glute band on your thighs and/or walk up stairs for varying degrees of difficulty.
The Key Takeaway: Keep Engaged, Maintain Control, and Boost Recovery
The most important part of any exercise is maintaining control rather than using momentum to push you too far out of your comfort zone.
Using resistance bands is a great way to do just that while keeping all your muscles engaged. You can also use compression bands after working out to boost recovery and speed up muscle tissue healing times. Additionally, these bands help to reduce inflammation, so they’ve become hugely popular as a way to keep swelling down.
As with many things in life, with injuries from working out, prevention is better than cure. Resistance and compression bands may just be the answer you’re looking for to stop sports injuries in their tracks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Megan started her writing career specializing in educational copy in the fitness industry, covering a wide range of topics. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking the outdoors or signing up to run a 5K.