A full body strength workout at home – using only resistance bands

Research supports this. A study in middle-aged women compared 10 weeks of twice-weekly workouts using resistance bands with a similar program using weight machines. The women were tested for upper and lower body strength before and after the program, and results showed that muscle mass, strength and endurance improved at a similar rate in both groups.

A systematic review of 18 studies also found no significant difference in levels of muscle activation between those using resistance bands and those using free weights.

Ellenbecker said he’s worked with athletes of all levels, who exclusively use bands for resistance training, “and they’re successful and injury-free.”

But, as with any exercise, you need to be consistent with the exercise, he added. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines call for strength training at least twice a week, with multiple exercises and multiple reps.

And don’t overdo it, he says. “People tend to gravitate toward groups that are way too strong or stretch them too far. It never hurts to start light and build.

A CORRECTLY PLACED TAPE CAN IMPROVE YOUR SHAPE

Gerard Burley, founder and owner of a Washington, DC gym called Sweat DC, says exercise bands may be the best option for people new to strength training and can help you master good technique. For example, a common problem during a squat is that the knees bend.

“The body is lazy and likes to take the easy route,” said Burley, who goes by Coach G. A mini band around your legs just above the knees helps prevent this. While squatting, focus on pressing your knees outward to keep the band from slipping, while keeping your head and chest up.

Advanced athletes use them too. For example, tennis players often anchor a band to a wall or pole and loop the other side around the throat of their racquet to add resistance and improve the power of their forehand, backhand or serve, a said Behm.

LET THEM HELP YOU MAKE A PULL-UP

The exercise bands also provide assistance for difficult-to-master exercises such as pull-ups, said Vanessa Liu, an online fitness trainer and nutritionist who uses them regularly with clients. In fact, some bands are designed to wrap around a pull-up bar for extra support.

Evelyn C. Tobin