There is a lot of confusion around adjusting the length of resistance bands. Many people are worried about the safety of themselves as well as about damaging their bands while shortening and lengthening the resistance band.
Here I am going to provide you the step-by-step instructions for adjusting the length of resistance bands for different purposes. Further, there are several precautions that you may need to take while adjusting the length to prevent the snapping of resistance bands abruptly during the workout. Do wait for bonus tips at the end.
So how do you adjust the length of the resistance band? You can adjust the length of the resistance band in following ways depending upon the several purposes –
- To shorten the length of resistance band you may step over the resistance band with both feet.
- You may also loop resistance bands multiple times over the feet to shorten the length of the band.
- Further resistance bands of the same or different color can be attached in parallel to achieve higher resistance with the same length of bands
- To lengthen the resistance band you may step with only one foot over the resistance band or use ankle cuffs.
There are several other ways to adjust the length of resistance band which highly depends upon the purpose you want to achieve.
Here is the index of what you will learn by the end of this article –
All sections in the index are extremely important to understand and I do recommend going through all the content for a positive experience with resistance bands.
❝ Hi, I am Ravi, your companion and a passionate fitness athlete, cyclist, runner, gym enthusiast who just loves the concept of resistance bands for their extreme flexibility. I have been using resistance bands as one of my primary fitness equipment for the last many years ❞
Let us quickly discuss the above headlines one by one –
1. Why would you need to adjust the length of the resistance band?
Adjusting the length of the resistance band is a very generic term. There may be different types of goals behind the adjustment of the length of resistance bands.
In any case, you will need to do two kinds of activities with the resistance bands.
- Shorten the length of the resistance band.
- Lengthen the resistance band.
Let us discuss the purposes behind the above two adjustments in the length of resistance bands
Possible Reasons behind shortening the length of resistance bands –
a. To increase the resistance of the workout bands –
This is one of the most common and foremost reasons that you may want to adjust the length of the resistance band.
You may have gained muscle mass while training with resistance bands and now the existing resistance level from bands is not enough for you.
b. The resistance band is lengthier than you need for a particular exercise –
This normally happens when the exercise you need to perform, requires a much shorter length of the resistance band.
Take an example of a deadlift exercise as shown in the picture below.
As above, when the dumbbells are near the shin bone of legs in the bottom-most position of the deadlift exercise, the resistance band should be of such length that there is no slack/looseness at the initial position.
The purpose in the above case is not to increase the resistance but to ensure that there is no slack during the entire range of motion of the exercise.
c. You may be a short person –
If you are a short person with a height of less than 5 foot 3 inches or so, then the purpose of shortening the length of the resistance band maybe only to ensure that the band doesn’t get loosened up during the range of exercise and prevent the lifting of the tension from the muscles.
Possible reasons behind the lengthening the resistance band
a. To decrease the resistance of the resistance band –
You may be having a resistance band which provides a resistance which is much higher than you actually need as per your current fitness level. So, you may need to increase the length of a resistance band to decrease its resistance.
b. The length of resistance band is shorter than you require for a particular exercise –
The reason might be that you are interested in doing the shoulder press in a standing position whereas the resistance band is of comparatively shorter length. Hence, you may be worried about damaging the resistance band by overstretching it.
So you may need to lengthen the resistance band to achieve the range of motion for that particular exercise.
c. You may be a tall person –
Just in case, you are a very tall person with a height of 6 feet and 5 inches and above, the resistance bands available in the market may not be able to stretch to a level you need.
In such cases, the purpose of lengthening the resistance band is not to decrease the resistance but only to match the length of the band according to the height so that you may get optimal tension during the entire range of motion of the exercises.
Methods to adjust the length of the resistance band by shortening the band
Here are some of the ways you can use to shorten the resistance band –
a. Step over the resistance band with both feet –
There are several exercises where you may need to step over the resistance band to anchor them like biceps curl, triceps curl, squat, deadlift, etc.
Here is an example of the biceps curl exercise where the athlete is stepping over the tube resistance band with both feet shoulder-width apart.
As above, the portion of the resistance band between the feet is not used for stretching. In short, the resistance band is now shortened.
b. Loop resistance band multiple times over the foot –
If you are doing a bent-over triceps extension exercise where you need to step only one foot over the resistance band, then the only way left to shorten the resistance band (to avoid any slack) during exercise is to wrap tube band or power loop band multiple times over that foot as shown in the picture
In the case of biceps curl exercise, as discussed in the previous method where you step over the bands with both the feet, you can further reduce the length of the resistance band by looping them multiple times over one foot or both the feet.
c. Tie a knot near the handles of tube resistance band –
This method is pretty simple. As shown in the picture, just tie a knot near one or both handles of the resistance band. Alternatively, you can wrap the ball joint of the tube resistance band multiple times over the handle of the band itself.
This method can cause resistance bands to crack due to persistent stress in the resistance band near knots.
Just in case, you really want to use knots to decrease the length of resistance bands, I would suggest you read this article with the best tips on tying knots – how to tie two resistance bands together
d. Double up the resistance bands –
Here you loop the resistance band by folding over its own length to shorten the band.
The only issue with this method is that it drastically reduces the length of the resistance band by half as compared to other methods. As such, doubling the band may not work well for many exercises.
Further, there is an increased risk of overstretching the bands.
Methods to adjust the length of the resistance band by lengthening the band
Here are some of the innovative ways you can lengthen the workout bands –
a. Tie two resistance bands together –
This method sounds pretty obvious.
If you possess tube resistance bands, this method works great where you can simply hook ends of tube resistance bands together making a big loop for doing the squat, shoulder press, triceps curl and several other exercises as shown in the picture-
NOTE – The only issue with above picture is that I am using two different color bands to make a loop which is not recommended.
This method may not work efficiently for flat loop bands where you risk damaging the bands due to sharp bends near the knots as shown in the picture below.
Always tie resistance bands of the same color and resistance together. If you join two resistance bands of two different resistance levels, then the resistance band with lower resistance will get overstretched while the heavy resistance band gets underutilized.
b. Attach ankle cuffs with resistance bands –
In case, tying the knot doesn’t sound like a good idea to you, then this method is for you.
Here you can make use of the pair of ankle cuffs that you may have received in the kit of tube resistance bands. Just attach the ankle cuffs at both the ends of tube bands as shown the picture –
In a similar fashion, you can also improvise the power loop resistance band by attaching the ankle cuffs on both sides of power loop bands. Thereafter, just attach the handles on both of the ankle cuffs.
Bonus tips for changing the resistance of exercise bands without adjusting the length of the band
If the purpose of shortening the length of resistance bands is only to get higher stimulation or the resistance, then this is the most recommended method to use.
In normal cases, we reduce the length of the exercise band so that we may be able to stretch them further during the same range of motion to increase resistance.
However, there are higher chances of over-stretching the resistance bands in a bid to get higher resistance.
Here are some unique ways –
a. Combine resistance bands in parallel –
What if, we combine our resistance bands of different colors together in parallel!
We shall be able to get much higher resistance without changing the length of the exercise band as also shown in the picture below –
? FACT –
|One of the major benefits of combining different color resistance bands together is that the same resistance band needs to be stretched to a much lower percentage to achieve the value of resistance which we used to get by stretching it by 2 to 3 times the resting length when used standalone.|
b. Choose another variation of the same resistance band exercise –
Here the focus is shifted from the resistance band to the exercise. A Tricky method!
You must have been practicing this method subconsciously in your workouts. What I mean here is to choose a different variation of the exercise instead of changing the length of the resistance band to match with the exercise.
Take an example of the overhead triceps extension exercise using a tube resistance band having a typical length of 3 feet.
If you try to perform the above exercise in standing position, you will have to look for ways to lengthen the band by tying with another tube band as can be seen on the left side of the picture.
However, if you sit on your knees and anchor the tube band under your shin bones, the same length of tube resistance bands shall work for you as shown on the right side of the picture –
Taking another example of rowing exercise while sitting on the floor and anchoring the tube band with feet. There is slight slack in the resistance band when arms are fully extended.
However, if the same exercise is performed in a standing position, you can easily move away from the door anchor and maintain adequate tension at all phases of the range of motion as shown in the picture.
Precautions required while adjusting the length of resistance bands
The whole idea of adjusting the length of resistance bands to achieve something you can’t do in ordinary cases looks fantastic. However, it may also make the whole experience with resistance bands horrible if not done properly.
Several instances of severe eye injuries have been reported due to the snapping of bands and slipping from the hands and feet under full tension.
Here are some of the precautions you need to take while doing adjustments in the length of resistance bands –
a. Never stretch resistance bands beyond specified limits –
While the concept of shortening the resistance bands by stepping over the bands, tying the knot at the handles works amazingly well, however, people often forget that the natural rubber used in the resistance bands has its own elastic limits.
So, as a thumb rule, it is always recommended not to stretch elastic bands more than 2.5 times the resting length, no matter what manufacturer has allowed their bands to be stretched even up to 4 times the resting length.
▶ Check this article to explore the stretching limits for resistance bands – how far resistance bands can be stretched – our research.
Alternatively, buy tube resistance bands with protection sleeves to be on a safer side. These protection sleeves don’t let the bands stretch beyond limits and also prevent broken ends from hitting on your face.
Here is one such example of cloth-covered resistance bands kit worth
buying from Amazon.com –
b. Focus more on adjusting the exercise than the length of resistance band –
Resistance bands are extremely versatile pieces of equipment where the same body part exercise can be performed in infinite ways. Then, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be trying to use an alternative variation of exercise where the same length resistance bands fit in instead of experimenting with the length of the bands.
c. It is a better idea to buy a new resistance band set to match increasing resistance needs –
I always advise customers to treat resistance bands like dumbbells when it comes to upgrading them and treat resistance bands like a piece of fragile glass while handling them.
The flexibility of rubber material forces people to stretch them to their extreme to avoid the next purchase of a darker resistance band.
So, just treat bands like a dumbbell and use them only up to the resistance level, they are designed to work for.
However, combining the resistance bands in parallel for increasing the resistance of bands is a proven and recommended method.
d. Use smooth floor and flat sole shoes while anchoring resistance bands-
While anchoring resistance bands around feet for exercise and shortening of resistance bands, always make sure that the floor is perfectly smooth & flat sole shoes are used.
Final Words –
The weak looks of resistance bands should not be mistaken for their lower potential and lower risk of injury. Their extreme flexibility and versatility come with an increased risk of injury.
No matter, how safe you play with the resistance bands, there is always a chance of malfunctioning. Always try to keep your face away from the reach of resistance bands and if possible buy a pair of protective glasses with all-round protection from all angles.
? Here are one such safety glasses sold at Amazon.com (link is here)
▶ Check this amazing article – Best tips to prevent resistance bands from snapping.
Take due precautions as suggested in this article while handling the resistance bands.
Safety Always Come First.
DO CONTRIBUTE THE COMMUNITY BY SUGGESTING YOUR OWN UNIQUE WAYS OF ADJUSTING THE LENGTH OF RESISTANCE BANDS.
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