Resistance bands are a type of calisthenics equipment that can be used for many different purposes. They are made out of latez and come in many shapes, sizes and resistance levels. In the following article we give you a brief overview of different resistance bands for Calisthenics.
Long resistance bands
Long resistance bands (also called pull-up bands) are perhaps the most versatile of the resistance bands. They come in various colours and thicknesses, with the thicker bands having the most resistance. The different thicknesses make the bands suitable for people of all abilities.
They are great for tying to bars and other stationary objects. Seated row, lat pull down and cable exercises can all be done with a tethered resistance band. It’s like having your own gym in your backpack!
These resistance bands can also help assist with bodyweight exercises such as pull ups and dips. Furthermore, advanced athletes can use them to train static holds like front lever and planche by offsetting some of their bodyweight.
Using long resistance bands for rows
Rows are a great exercise to help strengthen the biceps, rhomboids, lower trapezius and middle trapezius muscles. This is a fantastic corrective exercise that can not only strengthen your back and arms, but can also fix your posture. Doing this exercise will, over time, neutralize rounded shoulders and forward-facing posture which can be exacerbated by doing too many pull ups/ push ups.
- Find a vertical post or tree and tie the band around it with a basic knot
- Stand or sit directly facing the anchor point of the resistance band
- Grab the resistance band with both hands with about 20cm between your hands
- Pull the band into your body, keeping the elbows in. pretend there is a coin between your shoulder blades. Try to squeeze it together when performing the exercise. Also try to abstain from using the upper traps as this can cause neck strain
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Using long resistance bands for pull ups
Pull ups are a fantastic exercise for the biceps and lats. For beginners, however, pull ups can be a real challenge. To get maximal benefit out of doing pull ups you need to be doing 8-12 repetitions. Doing any less can make it very difficult to progress via the principle of progressive overload. Resistance bands are a great way to make the exercise easier.
- Tie the resistance band around a pull up bar with a basic knot
- Pull the band down and thread your feet through
- Grab the bar with both hands and perform pull ups with your feet in front
- Make sure to retract and depress your scapula – i.e. squeeze your shoulder blades together, while relaxing the upper traps.
Check out our video with 40 exercises with resistance bands:
Short resistance bands
The shorter resistance bands (also called loop bands) are a great way to target the glutes. Glute activation is key, especially in the modern world where we tend to sit (in hip flexion) which results in tight hip flexors and weak glutes (hip extensors). Glutes are often considered to be core muscles, and as such weaknesses in the glutes can result in poor overall performance!
Short resistance bands can help you not only pre-activate them but give you a proper calisthenicsworkout! Great exercises for this are resistance band crab walks, monster walks and tik toks. Again, you can find these bands in different thicknesses!
Using short resistance bands for crab walks
Crab walks are a great glute exercise for glute and leg warmups, glute activation and as a stand-alone leg exercise.
- Place the short resistance band just below your knees.
- Squat to 90 degrees or as close as you can get to 90 degrees.
- Externally rotate your knees for maximum glute activation
- Start shifting sideways, while making sure to take small steps as the resistance band only works when it is taught, and your feet are far enough apart.
Video: 20 exercises with loop bands:
Check out our loop bands below:
Resistance bands with handles etc.
Resistance bands with handles are another fantastic tool. They come with several attachments. Handles allow them to be more easily gripped for rows, bicep curls and shoulder press. Ankle loops are another option, allowing for leg pull backs and high knees – exercises for the glutes and hip flexors, respectively. Door ankles can be used to secure the tapes at home for various exercises, mimicking the cable machine at the gym.
The attachments make the resistance tapes a perfect substitute for many fitness machines found at the gym. Their light weight character makes them hugely convenient for versatile workouts from home or outside.
Video: 13 exercises with resistance bands
Warming up for Calisthenics with long resistance bands
Resistance bands are a fantastic way to warm up before working out. They can be used for dynamic stretching, which is the recommended way to warm up before any physical activity. The rotator cuffs are particularly prone to injury and should be the focus of this warm up.
Here is a fantastic shoulder warm up you can do anywhere with resistance bands:
25x Chest pulses
12x Shoulder press
15x Chest press
Warming up with resistance bands
Resistance bands have even more potential for warm ups. Here is an example resistance tape warm up routine that can be done at home:
Door anchor attachment:
15 x face pulls
15 x chest cross overs
15 x tricep extensions
15 x kick backs
15 x side kicks
15 x high knees
12 x front raise
12 x flies
12 x shoulder press
Resistance bands can help you improve your repetitions
When working out fatigue can set in and prevent you from finishing a set. Instead of doing negatives, which employ an alternative movement patterns, you can be specific and do the exact same exercise but with assistance.
This is a great use of resistance bands. The different thicknesses can make the exercise progressively easier, and so you can use every last bit of energy. This kind of set is called a reverse pyramid and has significant benefits.
Resistance bands for sprinting and building power
Resistance bands can also be used to build power. Short resistance bands can be attached to the ankles to resist stride length which can help build stride frequency and consequently sprint power.
Long resistance bands can also be used in a personal training setting where the coach pulls back the trainee while they run. This forces the trainee to expend a lot more energy in a shorter period of time. Great for both weight loss (you’ve just burned twice as many calories!) and training explosive power.
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