Resistance Bands for Muscle Mass and Weight Loss Resistance bands, often referred to as resistance tubes or exercise bands, are the most underrated form of exercise in the fitness world. Whether your goal is to build lean muscle or shed off that excess body fat, a good set of elastic bands, when used properly, will help you accomplish your goals from the comfort of your own home. Why pay for expensive gym memberships or bulky, overpriced home gym equipment such as Bowflex, when you could do all the same exercises at home with a good set of ultra-cheap and ultraportable resistance bands? As a personal trainer, I encourage my clients to shell out $30-$40 on quality set of resistance band, less than what I charge for a one hour training session. When it comes to choosing a set of resistance bands, my personal favorite is the Aylio Resistance Training Set. It includes a door attachment (very important) and storage pouch. I’ve chosen this set because it features a unique clipping system, giving users the advantage of choosing to work with one, two, three, or four bands simultaneously. This is crucial because different muscle groups require various levels of resistance and the clipping system allows for easy adjustment to accommodate all exercises and fitness levels. Everyone from beginners to professional athletes and bodybuilders can enjoy and benefit from these bands. Aylio resistance bands are also the most durable and comfortable bands I have ever tried and for these reasons I highly recommend the set. Now, that you’ve got your bands and door attachment, the fun can begin. First thing you must do is assess exactly what your workout goals are. Those trying to build muscle mass will need to perform workouts with heavy resistance and low repetitions. Choose the heaviest resistance level that will allow you to pump out 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise without sacrificing form. Take a 60-90 second breather between sets. Make it your goal to add more resistance to your workouts each week. Also, make sure to performing your reps very slowly to take advantage of hypertrophy, which is the term for increasing the density of muscle fibers. Hypertrophy occurs when a set is performed for between 30 seconds to one minute so make sure you spend at least 5 seconds per repetition or else you will be increasing strength but not muscle size. Ideally, you will do two to three different exercises per muscle group. With the door attachment, you can create over 100 different exercises targeting all muscle groups. I would recommend the following routine: For those looking to lower body fat, get rid of that gut, loose those love handles, or tone their bodies will need to perform workouts with low resistance and high reps. I recommend my clients to choose a resistance levels that allow them to perform 3 sets of 40 repetitions for each exercise. If it is too easy for you to do 40 reps, you will need to up your resistance. Weight loss is a simple formula: more calories expended than consumed. That means your daily goal should be to break a sweat and get your heart rate up. High rep workouts will get your heart pumping but make sure not to rest for more than 20 seconds between exercises!! Throwing in a few crunches, pushups or jumping jacks would improve your workout. The routine I recommend for both muscle mass and weight loss is as follows: Mondays – Chest & triceps Tuesdays – Back & biceps Wednesdays – For toning, run for 45-60 minutes. If you’re only looking for mass, take a rest day and give your muscles time to recover. Thursdays – Shoulders & Legs Fridays – Abs (Yes, you can work your abs with resistance bands) Saturdays – Rest Sundays – Rest Now, you’re probably asking yourself what exercises you should be doing for each body part. For information on how to target different muscle groups with various resistance band exercises, I would recommend you to go to YouTube and do a few searches on the topic. There is a wealth of information on how to work each body part and you could follow right along with the videos. If this doesn’t float your boat, you can always search eBay for a cheap resistance training DVD and follow right along. Also try incorporating cardio, pushups, crunches or dumbbells, into your resistance training workouts. In my experience as a personal trainer, my clients that take advantage of resistance training usually begin seeing significant improvements in their physique within just two to three weeks and also report higher levels of energy and explosiveness throughout the day. As with any exercises, do not forget to warm up and stretch for 5-10 minutes before workouts. It is important to take precaution by loosening up joints and muscles to avoid injury. Lastly, never forget that dieting is a crucial part of exercise. If you’re looking for muscle mass, stay on a high protein/low carb diet. If you’re looking to lose weight, stick to a low fat low calorie diet. Good luck!