On the Nature and Uses of Resistance Exercise Bands (or Magic Bands) and Their Efficacy

MAJID KIRMANI

Resistance bands are used in Physio-therapeutic exercises for strengthening and stretching muscles after any sports injury, neurological conditions or orthopaedic related problems. These are commonly advised by a physiotherapist and are an effective alternative to weight lifting tools and weight machines. Resistance bands are very patient friendly /user friendly and can be used at home after proper guidance by a physiotherapist. These bands are portable and simple enough to use. Resistance bands can be used by all the age groups and anywhere at home, office or at any work place. These are very simple elastic bands made of rubber and are very economic for a patient too. Resistance bands come in different colours, lengths and strengths. Resistance bands are very easy to use and your physiotherapist can advise you the proper band and proper way to use depending upon your body weight, strength, condition and physical fitness. These bands range from a very low resistance to a very high resistance. Resistance bands are available under different brand names like Thera- Bands, Active-Bands, JoyFit- Bands and so on. Mechanism of working: A resistance band does exactly what the name suggests: it adds resistance to an exercise. This added resistance helps strengthen your muscles and makes your muscles to work harder thus increasing the muscle flexibility, strength and power. The colour coding defines the level of the resistance bands. Different colours are explained as below: Yellow:- The yellow colour resistance bands are the bands with light resistance. These band are easily stretchable and a patient has to put minimum effort to pull/stretch it.

Light resistance bands bands are used for weaker muscles or shoulder muscles or patients having severe weakness. Green: Green colour resistance bands have a medium resistance. These have a greater resistance than yellow bands and are less stretchable as compared to yellow bands. Green bands are used for muscle strengthening of upper arm muscles. Red: Red resistance bands consist of medium to heavy resistance. These bands have a higher level of resistance than green or yellow bands. These are hard to stretch as compared to yellow or green bands. Red bands are used for strengthening of chest muscles. Blue: Blue resistance bands have a very high resistance. These are much harder to stretch than red, green or yellow bands. Blue bands are for those who have a strong body built up. These are used for strengthening of chest and back muscles. Blue bands can be used in gyms for body building also. Black: Black resistance bands have the maximum resistance. These are the hardest to stretch as compared to Yellow, red, green and blue bands. These bands can be used for strengthening of leg and back muscles and can be best used by sports persons for fitness exercises. One can start using a lower level resistance band like yellow or green and can gradually use higher level bands like red and blue. These bands are much safer to use as compared to weight training equipment’s like dumbbells etc. After taking a complete home exercise program from a physiotherapist a patient can perform all the exercises of his own at home or office. The physiotherapist will advise you the number of repetitions and sets to be done per day. Uses: Apart from strengthening of your muscles, the resistance bands can be used for many other purposes like: 1. Increasing muscle flexibility. 2. Increasing muscle strength. 3. Increasing muscle growth. 4. Increasing muscle power. 5. Cardio exercises. 6. Endurance training. 7.

Weight loss training. 8. Joint mobility. 9. Balance and Coordination. 10. General fitness training. Precautions : One should not put extra efforts to pull or over stretch the resistance band as this can result in a muscle pull or the band can be damaged. So follow the proper colour code and procedures as advised by your physiotherapist. Beginners should consider following things before starting to use the exercise resistance bands: 1. Use the resistance bands under the supervision of a physiotherapist. 2. Use a good quality band as ordinary band can cut easily and can cause an injury. 3. Use low to medium resistance bands if your muscle strength is poor or you are suffering from any orthopaedic or neurological disorder. 3. Never release a resistance band all of a sudden, as sudden release can cause an injury. 4. Don’t keep the Resistance Band near heat or under direct sunlight as this can damage the band. 5. Keep the bands away from children. 6. Clean band by wiping with a damp cloth, and keep it hygienic. PostScript: In present day life a resistance band is must have in all the households. Because of our busy and sedentary lifestyle, we hardly pay any attention to our physical fitness. Thus , resistance bands are the best way to keep our body fit, recover from an illness or injury that too at home and with no daily expenditure. It will take just 10 to 30 minutes to complete your daily set of exercises.

—The author is a physiotherapist at District Hospital, Baramulla. He can be reached at: majidkirmani@gmail.com