27aWhen we think of exercising, images of dumbbells or exercise machines may come to mind. This is not the only type of equipment used for muscle toning and fitness training. There are a variety of resistance bands and versa tubing at all levels of strength resistance to obtain benefits.

A prime example of an athlete that uses resistance bands is Tom Brady. It is reported that he gave up weights years ago in favor of resistance bands for training. When he started struggling with injuries, he decided to forgo the traditional training methods and worked with his trainer to develop a resistance band training program. He must have the right approach to training because he continues to dominate on the football field.

Resistance bands conform to your body’s natural movement and allow people of all ages and fitness levels to obtain a full low-impact workout. They enable the user to get a workout without overstraining muscles, irritating joints and are great for helping to keep good form.

The major difference between bands and weights is that they allow you to work at a resistance level that is beneficial to your muscle groups and can target isolated muscles. If you attend my classes, you will often see me carrying bands, balls and gliders. I use them in various ways to help with strength, balance and flexibility.

Let’s look at some of my favorites and what they do. Versa Tubes are a long stretch band with a handle, and they come in a range of colors related to strength. They are a versatile band in a full range of workout options, from bicep curls to squats targeting all muscle groups. You can work muscle groups in various directions, seated in a chair, standing, wrapped around a barre or during floor work.

The intensity is up to the participant by selecting a color or increasing tension by shortening the band. They can also be used with balance exercises and multiplanar movements.
Versa Loops are a band that looks much like a large rubber band. They come in a variety of colors, indicating their strength levels.

The band fits comfortably around the upper and lower legs, mid-thigh or mid-calf. They are used in shorter movements and target the glutes, calves, thighs and core.

A Bender Ball, created by Leslee Bender, is about nine inches in diameter and can support weight up to 300 pounds. The ball aids in a greater range of motion and provides an effective abdominal workout. Placing the ball behind the small of the back helps eliminate excess strain during abdominal work. The ball can be used for balance, strength training exercises, functional workouts and rehabilitation movements.

Gliders are discs that look like a Frisbee and come in materials that can be used on carpet or hardwood. They are used in balance, strength and flexibility training. The disc’s fluid movement assists in a greater range of motion for various lunges. They are an excellent tool in making planks and burpees more challenging and used for increased cardio in high-intensity interval training classes and circuit training.

All the items above are easily used in the home, gym or on vacation, take up minimal space, and are easy to use, with an average cost of about $15 per item. How-to videos can be found on the internet, seated or standing for many levels. Live and love life with a gym in the bag.

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