Let’s face it, as we age our bodies don’t always feel the way we want them to.
We take longer to recover and some of the exercises and movements we did years ago just don’t work the same for us now.
When considering strength training, most people’s minds go straight to the typical “gym” equipment – big machines, dumbbells, bars, etc.
Some people feel great when using this type of equipment and that’s fantastic, but others experience joint and muscle pain that says we need to look for an alternative way to get the same job done.
Throughout my career, resistance bands (you know, the stretchy elastic things that look like giant rubber bands) have been my go to for people suffering from joint pain or having other issues when lifting weights.
Why? I’m so glad you asked.
With the elasticity of the bands, your muscles and joints receive neuromuscular feedback throughout the entirety of the motion of the exercise. This tells the body to add more stability with those muscles to the joints affected by the exercise which in turn decreases the level of stress placed on each joint.
So in other words, bands help your body to work together to create support and stability in ways that occur less often with dumbbells.
Another one of my favorite things about these bands is that pretty much everything you do with them is going to compound your activity to involve the core at a higher level.
And if there’s one thing we know it’s that everyone needs help with their core these days.
So are weights out completely?
No! If bands make you feel better now, go ahead and use them. As I said you’ll be getting an enhanced core workout at the same time and your joints won’t ache which is great.
But, once you’ve trained with them for a bit and gotten stronger, it might be a good opportunity to start experimenting with some regular weights again to challenge your body to create the same level of stability and support with less “outside direction.”