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Resistance bands: great supplement to weightlifting and cardio training

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Resistance bands are a great supplement to your regimen

Resistance bands have been around for nearly a century, yet recently have been gaining increasing popularity in the fitness industry.

History

Originally used as a fitness device, but eventually progressed to be used as in rehabilitation for injured athletes.  At the turn of this century, resistance bands have made a resurgence in popularity among the fitness enthusiasts. 

Benefits

One of the most important benefits of elastic resistance is that, unlike free weights, it does not rely on gravity to provide resistance.  By applying constant tension to the body area worked, the movement  patterns mimic both everyday activities and sport-specific activities. Because free weights rely on gravity to provide resistance, they can only provide resistance in a vertical plane —the direction of gravity.  With elastic tubing, on the other hand, you can have resistance when doing exercises in a horizontal plane. This means you can perform exercises such as twisting your body from side to side, side kicks and punches, as well as movements that mimic a baseball swing or basketball pass with elastic resistance. Consequently, doing exercises with resistance in a horizontal plane better prepares the individual for performing every day tasks—such as body turns, picking up boxes, etc—much easier and with less risk for injury. Moreover, resistance band movements prepare athletes for competitive movements that take place in a horizontal plane, such as swinging a tennis racket or baseball bat, swatting a volleyball, or throwing a ball.  Studies have also confirmed a therapeutic  benefit to prevent sports related injuries.  Furthermore, as an added benefit, as the range of motion increases, the resistance provided by the band increases.  That benefit can't be achieved during weightlifting.  Resistance bands are a great addition to your weekly training program.  By adding them to sprints, plyometrics, weightlifting, boxing, or other form of high intensity exercise, you will have a regimen that will keep you from growing stagnant in your training.

The versatile band

Elastic bands are inexpensive, lightweight and easily stored and transported.   Therefore, if you are ever traveling and don't have time to hit the gym, your bands can be used in your hotel room to supply the needed workout benefit.  And if you need more strength and size, you can double, triple or quadruple the bands to create the extra resistance. 

There are a host of exercises that you can do with elastic bands to hit virtually every body part.

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