Lightweight, portable, convenient and priced at just $15, the True Purple Resistance Band is an affordable piece of kit well worth adding to your gym bag.
Essentially a giant elastic band, resistance bands come in many shapes, sizes and strengths each providing differing resistance values and uses. Whatever size you choose, resistance bands are versatile strength training tools and offer a highly effective way of firing up your muscles or assisting with injury rehabilitation. The premise is simple: the more you stretch the band the more it will resist and the harder the exercise becomes.
You can choose to use resistance bands in a number of ways, depending on which part of your body you want to target. From glute bridges and bicep curls to squats and lateral band walks, there’s an almost unlimited number of exercises you can perform with a single band, perfect if you can’t make it to the gym.
For this ‘how-to‘ guide we’re going to focus on using the True 13mm band, our thinnest and lightest band ideal for aerobic resistance, activating muscle groups, stretching, warming up, Pilates, bodyweight movements, mobility and physical therapy exercises.
What is it?
Offering between 5kg and 15kg resistance value, the purple band is perfect for home workouts. Made from 100% latex, it can be used for a wide variety of motions utilising the entire body and provides a good alternative to weights. Resistance bands will work your muscles in different ways to traditional gym equipment, allowing you to keep constant tension in your muscles whilst trying out different exercises and movements.
What can it do?
Stand on it, sit on it, attach it to a door, wrap it around your body, pack it in your suitcase, pop it in the car, use it in a hotel or even at work… the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re a complete novice or seasoned gym-goer, anyone can use resistance bands to work out or stretch.
Pick a few of our recommended exercises below, or ask your PT for further advice, and put together a circuit you can complete 3-5 days per week. Three sets of up to 15 reps is a good target to aim for in each session, depending on your individual goals. Reduce this for physio and rehabilitation exercises.
How does it work?
Essentially, training with resistance increases muscle strength over time by making the muscles work against a weight or force. Working your muscles in much the same way as weights do, the resistance causes your muscles to contract, in turn generating force and helping to control the exercise without relying on gravity. Over time this will improve strength, movement and coordination. A resistance band workout should involve a variety of push and pull moves for maximum benefits.
Due to its lighter weight and lower resistance, the thin purple band is better suited to beginners and can be used for a variety of low-impact movements for rehab conditioning as well as high-rep exercises to build strength.
What’s the benefit?
There are a lot of benefits to using resistance bands, namely the low cost! No gym membership or expensive equipment is required for a workout with these brilliant bands. Not only do they target every part of the body, but they also offer serious versatility, particularly for those wishing to practise more low-intensity exercises less likely to cause injury.
A recent study reviewing muscle activity in upper body resistance exercises with a band compared to free weights found that elastic resistance bands offered a good alternative to dumbbells, with little to no difference in muscle activation levels recorded. In addition, a major benefit of a band compared to a dumbbell is that resistance bands don’t rely on gravity to provide the resistance, allowing the body to move and expand the range of motion more freely.
With a band, you can choose the variety and intensity of the exercises and opt to work any or all of the muscle groups in one session, without the need to change equipment. What could be better?!
Exercises to try at home
This exercise is designed to target your chest area. First, assume the correct position: lower into a push-up stance, legs extended behind you, hands shoulder-width apart, elbows bent and the band doubled over your shoulder blades with both hands on the bottom loops, to hold it in place. Ensure the band is tight enough to feel the tension. Use your upper body to lower your chest towards the ground, in between your hands, as low as possible, then push back up, feeling the band resist against you. Repeat 10-15 times per set.
Band side-lying leg raise
This strength exercise targets the interior hip flexors, glutes, outer thigh and abdominal muscles. To begin, loop the resistance band around your ankles, doubling up as much as necessary for it to feel taut. Lie on your side with one leg on top of the other. Lean on your arm closest to the floor, with your elbow bent at a 90° angle, placing your other hand close by. Tense your core to stabilise your body as you slowly lift your top leg, pushing against the resistance of the band, keeping your lower leg rooted to the floor. Lift your leg as high as possible, keeping your hips stacked at all times. Try to avoid twisting your body as you move. Slowly bring the band back down, maintaining the tension. Repeat 10-15 times for each leg.
A glute bridge is one of the most effective exercises you can do to activate and tone the glutes and hamstrings whilst strengthening your core stabiliser muscles and improving hip flexibility. To begin, lie with your back to the floor. Loop the resistance band around your lower thighs, just above the knees. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the ground, close to your bottom and use your feet to hold the lower band securely in place, you can loop it around your feet to create more tension if you wish. Your feet should be hip distance apart and your knees open, resisting against the band. Lay your arms straight down by your sides and keep your head resting on the floor. With the band taut around you, slowly lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Avoid pushing from your heels. Squeeze your glutes as you rise up, keeping your core engaged, your abs drawn in and your knees pushing against the band. Hold for a few seconds then slowly ease back down. Repeat up to 10 times. You should feel resistance from the band making this exercise harder.
An effective exercise for toning up the glutes, outer thighs and quads. First, stand on the band, feet together, and hold the top section of the band with an underhand grip, elbows tucked into your sides and your forearms extended, keeping tension on the band in this half bicep-curl position. To perform the side-step squat, take a wide step to your left or right, whichever you prefer, keeping your foot within the band, and lower into a squat as you do so. Step the opposite foot in and continue stepping to the side with a squat for the length of the room, or the desired number of reps, before switching to work the other side. Continue pulling upwards on the band all the while to keep the tension.
This is a great rehab exercise to stretch and strengthen your back and shoulders and open up your chest. Stand up straight, shoulders down, feet hip-width apart and hold the looped band at either end in front of you, elbows slightly bent. Ensure the band is taut. Slowly start stretching the band out widthways in a straight horizontal plane. You can try this with an underhand or overhand grip to work the muscles in different ways. Continue squeezing and retracting the band for as many reps as you like, holding to keep the tension for a few seconds at the point where you feel sore.
Seated calf press
This is another excellent rehab and muscle strengthening exercise that can be done as part of your workout or during downtime. Sit on a chair or flat surface with your back straight. Hook the band around your foot, holding the top of the band as taut as necessary. Straighten your leg out in front of you, pulling the band towards you until you feel a nice stretch in your calf. Point your toes towards the ceiling then forwards towards the ground, ensuring there is resistance. Continue repeating this for as many reps as you like, swapping to work the other leg for the same number of counts when you’re done. You can take the exercise further by using the band in much the same way to perform a leg press. Your position will remain the same but instead of keeping the leg straight you will bend your knee towards you then straighten it out again in front of you, returning to the starting position and repeating, working out both legs equally. The band should provide resistance as you try to stretch your leg out.
If you want to increase the resistance and intensity of your exercises you can select a different size band and/or up your reps. Thicker bands will provide maximum resistance. At True we sell four different sizes: Purple 13mm, Orange 22mm, Teal 29mm and Black 45mm, or all four can be purchased in a set. NB If you are suffering from any injuries, ensure you seek advice from a healthcare professional before undertaking any strenuous physical activity.