Have you been at the gym lately and observed people using resistance bands or even chains on their barbells and wondering what all the hype is about or how those tools help improve workouts? Well, there is a good reason for the hype as they are using the science behind variable resistance training to improve their efficiency and effectiveness with strength training and their general workout routine.
Variable resistance training uses knowledge gained by physics and biology. It works by increasing resistance as you complete a movement. When completing a lift, there is a part of the lift where you are at your strongest and a part where you are at your weakest.
Using variable resistance training such as resistance bands or chains, this allows you to take the part of the lift where you are strongest and add in even more resistance with those tools. Over time, this means more strength gains than ever before and more lean muscle growth. Besides strength gains as one of the main benefits of variable resistance training, there are also numerous physical and mental benefits that occur as well with this technique.
Benefit #1: Break Out of Plateaus
If you have been doing strength training exercises for awhile, then you are likely familiar with the dreaded plateau where no matter what you do you just don’t seem to be making any progress. Plateaus can happen for a variety of different reasons, but the good news is that using variable resistance training allows you to get back to making the progress you are hoping for during your workouts. Mixing up your exercise routine while also adding in resistance helps avoid getting stuck in your progress.
Have you ever heard a trainer talk about a sticking point? That is when a lifter maxes out their lift and gets stuck in the bottom of a lift before making it back to the starting position. When you add in more resistance to your lifts, you will be gaining strength in those lifts. Once that strength increases, sticking points are less likely to happen which helps you break out of plateaus you may be getting stuck in.
Benefit #2: Make Both Physical and Cognitive Improvements
As you work to add more resistance to your workout, you will find that over time not only are you gaining strength, you will also notice both numerous physical and cognitive changes as well. When the body is pushed in exercise using techniques such as variable resistance training, there are beneficial impacts that occur long after the training session is over. Because gaining strength means gaining muscle, increased muscle mass means an improvement in metabolism and cardiovascular health too.
Some of the other many benefits from variable resistance training include better balance and posture which in turn impacts your core strength and flexibility as well. Using this technique also helps in building your self-confidence from recognizing that your body can do hard things as well as the natural physical improvements that will occur from building muscle tone. All of these benefits can also cause an increase in mood as well as an increase in the quality of your sleep.
Benefit #3: Increases Both Stability and Mobility
No matter your age, stability and mobility are important components to focus and improve both at the gym and in your everyday life. As you gain more muscle from variable resistance training, you will notice that your core muscles are gaining strength as well.
Because using resistance during a workout allows your muscles to reach their maximum capacity, muscle groups you may not have been activating are now increasing in strength. This in turn means that your balance and mobility is increased as well due to more muscles being used and strengthened. An increase in balance transfers to being more stable on your feet, helping you to feel more confident both in and out of the gym.
Benefit #4: Prevents and Protects Injury
Strength training is a great form of exercise, however it can also come with setbacks due to injuries both in and out of the gym. Whether you have overloaded a barbell and caused a muscle strain or simply sprained your ankle on a hike and cannot lift weights for awhile, injuries can put a damper on your workout routine. This is where resistance training can be beneficial as you can target or protect certain muscle groups with resistance bands, allowing the injured muscles the time they need to heal.
Typically when using variable resistance training as part of your workout routine, resistance bands are one of the tools used during training. Because resistance bands come in a variety of tension levels you can choose to use a lighter resistance when nursing an injury back to health. Even when you aren’t injured, using variable resistance during your training sessions means you are focusing more on your movements which also helps prevent injuries over time.
Benefit #5: Increased Overall Performance
Working out naturally releases endorphins helping you feel good both during and after exercising. But it can be frustrating when you are working out and it feels as if your performance is not making any improvements.
Incorporating variable resistance training into your workout routine will improve both your speed and power when it comes to training. Because muscles are pushed further than they have been before during previous workouts, the power and velocity of those muscles is naturally increased. When power and velocity are increased, the level of performance will improve as well allowing you to workout with more intensity and make improvements at a more rapid pace.
Whether you are strength training or working on endurance, incorporating variable resistance training into your workout will provide numerous benefits to your workout routine as well as improve both physical and mental components outside of the gym. Using variable resistance training means that you will experience lasting benefits long after you leave the gym.