Why do resistance bands have a range of resistance | How to Deal

All resistance bands come with their range from minimum to maximum resistance. How do you know the resistance level at which you want to train?

Here, we have provided a detailed explanation behind their range of resistance along with our practical tips on dealing with the variable resistance of exercise bands during the workout routine.

Why do resistance bands have a range of resistance? The resistance bands are made from latex rubber and behave similarly to rubber bands. The more you stretch, the more is the resistance offered by the exercise bands. Therefore, resistance bands always provide a range of resistance from minimum to maximum value.

? FACT

If you read somewhere that a particular set of resistance bands provides 25lb of resistance. That means that 25 lb is the value of maximum resistance offered by the resistance bands when stretched to a point where no further expansion of the workout band is possible.

Did you find the complete answer to your query? ‘NO‘, there are many more questions in relation to the variable nature of resistance which must be coming in your mind.

Here is a similar set of questions asked by a member of a forum i found during casual browsing, which forced me to write this article.

The screenshot of the above questionnaire is as under-

Let me summarise the question asked by this member in most simple words.

  • How do i know the resistance level being offered at any point during any resistance band exercise?
  • How do I use the same resistance band at different resistance levels?
  • Should I rely on the minimum and maximum resistance levels specified in resistance band manuals?
  • Do lower resistance offered by resistance bands during the initial phase of stretching leave my muscles underutilized?

Based on my own experience of many years with resistance bands and research into this field, I have brought out some of the best ways to deal with variable resistance along with some interesting facts worth reading.

Let us start

How do I know the resistance level being offered during any resistance band exercise?

Let me give you an example before I offer you a direct answer to this question. Here is an interesting picture showing an athlete doing a biceps curl with resistance bands.

As you can observe, when the hands are at the lowest most position of a biceps curl, the resistance bands are least stretched and provides negligible resistance to the athlete.

However, during the concentric phase of the biceps curl, when hands are at uppermost position, resistance bands are offering 20kg of resistance.

During the entire range of motion of biceps curl exercise, the resistance keeps varying between 0 to 20kg maximum.

As you can observe, is there any way you can say with certainty about any fixed value of resistance offered during the range of motion? The answer is definitely ‘NO.’

CONCLUSION

The only parameter you can ascertain during the resistance band exercises with some assurance is the maximum resistance you feel during the range of motion.

? PRO TIP

As per prevailing standards, maximum resistance of resistance bands is calculated when the exercise bands are stretched to 2.5 times the resting length (though standards vary from brand to brand).

If you are stretching resistance bands 2.5 times the resting length during any exercise, you can conclude that the maximum resistance offered is equal to the maximum resistance specified by the manufacturer.


I agree that resistance bands provide variable resistance, but then how do I plan my workout intensity?

Well, the best way to approach resistance bands for workouts is to use your gut feeling while doing exercise. Check your fitness progress with the kind of resistance bands you have progressed into based on the maximum load offered by the bands.

For Example –

If you are a complete beginner, you may have initially trained with only yellow and sky-blue resistance bands with a maximum resistance of upto 10 KG.

However, you may soon find yourself doing exercises with darker resistance bands of higher resistance. That’s how you may count your fitness progress and workout intensity. This is similar to the gym, where people count the number of weighing plates they can lift as a sign of their improvement.

? PRO TIP

If you want to be accurate about the exact values of resistance offered by bands during exercises while preparing professionally for competitions, you may purchase a weighing calliper. And check the resistance levels of workout bands at different lengths.


How do I use the same resistance band at different resistance levels?

I have seen people shortening the resistance bands for producing even higher resistance from the same resistance bands. This is typically done to avoid the next purchase of higher resistance exercise bands to save some bucks.

However, such cost-saving measures may cost you dearly in terms of severe injuries due to stretching of resistance bands beyond the permissible limits.

You can check this worth reading article – how far resistance bands can be stretched? To know more about permissible limits and the right method for setting the stretching limits for resistance bands.

Further, increasing or decreasing the stretching length of resistance bands according to your fitness level while remaining within permissible limits can be helpful.

CONCLUSION

Instead of shortening the workout bands, it is always recommended to buy higher resistance exercise bands or double up the existing bands in your possession.


Should I rely on the minimum and maximum resistance levels specified in resistance band manuals?

Every resistance band you purchase includes the specifications of maximum resistance in pounds or kilograms.

The reason I thought about addressing the above query is the research published by NCBI (National Center For Biotechnology Information).

Here is the abstract of the findings –

“For practical application purposes, resistance training professionals and clinicians should be aware that RBR bands of similar reported dimensions might vary in mean resistance……
Nonetheless, likely, a collection of bands seemingly identical in the distributor, color, and thickness will produce predictable and notable inconsistencies in loading patterns when used in applied settings.

It is evident from here that the similar color resistance bands with the same dimensions may differ considerably in the maximum resistance offered by these bands.

Further, the resistance provided by new resistance bands and after usage of 1 year won’t be the same considering the ageing of resistance bands.

CONCLUSION

The best way to approach resistance bands training is to hear your inner voice to decide when you reach the maximum threshold of your fitness during exercise rather than just relying on manual.


Do lower resistance offered by the resistance bands during the initial phase of exercises is counterproductive?

The variability of resistance, along with the lower resistance offered during the initial phase of the exercise, has its benefits.

In short, it helps you recover the sticking point, which is the weakest phase of exercise when muscle are vulnerable to injury. Resistance bands actually increase maximum power as also proved through several research papers.

You can find a detailed visual explanation of the above fact in simple layman language in this article – Do resistance bands really work?


FINAL WORDS

The resistance bands are unlike free weight, such as dumbbells. They don’t have fixed resistance as the free weights. However, this fact doesn’t restrict its benefits.

Read this fantastic battle to know the potential of resistance bands- Resistance bands vs. free weights- which one to choose?

It is challenging to track the fitness progress with resistance training given the variable resistance. However, the methods suggested, such as considering the maximum resistance of bands rather than exact values, can help you continue with the resistance band regime.

Don’t forget to hear you inner voice while following any workout regime, including resistance band workouts, to be safe than sorry later.

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