Resistance bands are an effective way to add resistance training to your workout. Resistance band exercises are simple to learn, however there are 3 common mistakes that people new to training with bands make involving the speed of the movement, not going through the entire range of motion for each exercise and using the wrong tension for a specific exercise.

Because there is tension on a resistance band during both the concentric and eccentric portion of the exercise for best results a slow pace during both phases of the exercise is essential. In general the movement should normally be smooth and controlled, both while stretching the band and while returning to the starting point of each exercise. For a bicep curl many trainers suggest counting to 4 on both the lift and release, variations are to count to 2 for each phase or to count to 2 on the lift and 4 on the release. While some exercises require a more explosive movement, most exercises should be performed in a slow, controlled manner for best results.

A second mistake made during resistance band exercises is to fail to go through the entire range of motion for each exercise. The tension on the band increases as the band extends and as you start to fatigue it’s increasingly important to concentrate on extending through the entire exercise. In person or video instruction can be very helpful to learn the optimal range of motion for each resistance band exercise.

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Selecting the correct band for each exercise can be challenging if you’re new to exercising with resistance bands. If your goal is to tone and tighten select a band that allows you to do 12-20 repetitions of the exercise. If you’re not able to complete all of the repetitions switch to a lighter band to complete the exercise. If your goal is to build muscle select a band with more tension that allows you to only complete 8-10 repetitions of each exercise before fatigue. To make a band "heavier" you can make the band functionally shorter by looping the ends of the band around your wrists, or if you’re standing on the band, as for bicep curls, widen your stance so there is more tension on the portion of the band from the floor to your hands. Using 2 or more bands at the same time also increases the tension, making the exercise harder.

The following guidelines work for many people, but let your body be the guide:

Very light band: triceps kick backs, shoulder raises, ab/torso twists and rehabilitation
Light band:
shoulder press, shoulder circles, wood chop, chest fly and rear deltoid fly
Medium band: leg press, chest press, pull apart, bicep curls, the penguin and shoulder shrug
Heavy band:  advanced pull apart, standing row, single arm chest press, speed curls and press downs

Exercising with resistance bands can be a challenging and very effective workout, ideal for both weight loss and muscle building. Concentrating on your form, including the speed and range of movement will help you get the best results in the shortest amount of time.  Selecting the appropriate band for each exercise will become second nature as you gain experience in working out with resistance bands.

Whether your goal is to lose weight or build muscle resistance bands provide a safe, effective and convenient way to add resistance training to your workout. Visit to learn more about resistance band workouts.

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