Including top picks for squats and bodybuilding.
Lightweight and portable, resistance bands are a completely understated piece of exercise equipment that can totally transform your workout. Even just a short 10 minute resistance band workout can fire up your glutes and create strength throughout the entire body. By optimizing both those small supportive muscles and major muscle groups, you can build some serious power and stamina without having to lift heavy weights.
"The beauty of resistance bands is that they increase the time in which your muscles are under tension, and that force of contraction that your muscles are under fatigues the muscle tissue," says Kira Stokes, founder of the Stoked Method and celebrity personal trainer to stars including Candace Cameron Bure, Ashley Graham, and Shay Mitchell. Since resistance bands require a ton of control and focus, they can help enhance both the eccentric and concentric portions of each exercise movement. Stokes also adds, "You can't just go through the movements with resistance bands; you really need to have control throughout the entire movement, slow down, and connect. They are a great tool for enhancing the mind-muscle connection."
Since many resistance bands are sold in sets, you may be tempted to go for the hardest band. But Stokes herself often grabs the lightest band, as she feels it's imperative to do the move properly, be able to use your muscles to stretch the band and be aware of the range you are getting. She reserves the hardest resistance bands for moves like glute bridges, and uses lighter bands for things like lateral squat walks. Now that you know the basics, here are our top picks for resistance bands to enhance your full-body workout.