I first learned about flexbands back in 2005. I learned about them from Louie Simmons from Westside Barbell in Columbus, who has used them to earn the reputation of the “strongest gym in the world”. Flexbands are basically giant rubber bands.
They are a layered band and are 41 inches in length and come in different sizes and strengths. They can give you as little as 5 pounds of resistance or as much as 200 pounds of resistance.
Now today I want to talk about what they can do for the general/average person in terms of fitness.
For starters, the band can pretty much replicate any exercise you can do with a dumbbell or barbell. The main difference between the band and those two implements are the band gets harder towards the end of the movement (when the band is stretched out the most). With a dumbbell or barbell it is hardest at the bottom of the movement.
Bands are the ultimate portable gym. With each one weighing less than two pounds and can easily fold or bend into any bag. If you travel a lot for pleasure and business the bands are a must.
They can easily attach to other objects, like a post, fence, or chin up bar. Or they can attach to another band. Attaching bands to something sturdy will give you the opportunity to train with a band in each hand. This will enable you to perform an abundance more of exercise, increase the level of difficulty, and increase your recruitment of the surrounding stabilizing musculature.
You can also attach bands to each other. Doing this and attaching them to something sturdy will allow you to perform resisted running/walking, animal walking, power jumping. It is also a great way to train with a partner by attaching each band around the waist of each other.
You can also attach flexbands to other implements to make normal everyday exercises even more challenging. This was the original use I had found out about when I first discovered bands. Adding them to a barbell, dumbbell, or even a kettlebell. This can either be a super advanced method or a beginner’s method depending on the amount of weight you use and the amount of band tension you select. But it changes the feel of the movement dramatically, which is excellent for muscle confusion and constant progress as you stay away from those dreaded plateaus.
For example, one of the most common gym exercises that are performed with bands is the squat. Performing this with a barbell and attaching a band on each side of the barbell is what is called ‘accommodating resistance’. The reason being is that when you squat without the bands the weight is hardest to lift in the bottom position, as you rise up closer to the top it gets increasingly easier. With bands attached, as the band stretches out more it gets progressively harder. Plus the band is actually trying to pull you back down, so it’s an extreme exercise. You really have to put everything into the up portion, or you’ll usually get stuck somewhere in the middle.
They also really support people that can’t do chin-ups or pull-ups on their on. Attaching a band to a chin up bar and putting your knee in through the loop will take off up to 100 pounds of bodyweight depending on the band strength.
One other thing you can do with them is stretching. It increases flexibility like no other implement. The majority of people see dramatic changes after only one session. But that’s a whole other article.
Give bands a try. They are probably the easiest and cheapest way to start your own home gym.
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