Stretching with Bands (see stretching video below )
Resistance bands are an excellent tool to stretch with. What makes the bands so effective is that you can do a number of different styles of stretching. Remember, the more elastic and strong you are, the more ability you’ll have to create speed and power. More importantly, in some cases consistent stretching and flexibility work helps to maintain a pain free and healthy body.
There are a lot of advantages to stretching with a looped resistance band. The band can be attached or looped around a pole, or even under a massage table, which creates a specific counter point to stretch or pull off of. A looped resistance band can also be attached to different areas of the body which will allow you to stretch in ways that could not be performed without the band.
There are 4 really great methods of stretching with resistance bands that I’d like to talk about.
First is Dynamic Stretching.
The bands are awesome for dynamic stretching which is a more active form of stretching. This is by far the bands most popular style of stretching. With this style of stretching you actually move while stretching. It increases range of movement and blood flow to soft tissues. Dynamic stretching is an extremely effective way to prep the body before a workout or athletic event and helps to prevent injuries (prehab).
Next is Active Range of Motion Stretching.
Looped bands are a very effective tool in this type of stretching. With this method, you take the joint through a full range of movement while stretching the muscles around the joint in various planes of motion. This is used to make quick gains in range of motion, which will in turn create better bio-mechanics and again prevent injuries from overuse.
The third method is Pull or Traction Stretching.
With this method you loop the band around a part of the body and counter point, to pull and traction a specific joint, all while taking the joint through a full range of motion. The body and joints love this sort of stretching, because of all of the positive effects that includes increased blood flow, decompression, and enhanced joint health. It also helps to create space between the joints.
Finally, there is Static Stretching.
In a static stretch you hold the stretch on a specific muscle for a sustained period of time. I generally recommend 20-30 seconds and 2-3 repetitions of the stretch. You hold the stretch to the point of slight discomfort, which allows the muscles to relax and to be stretched to a greater length. Static stretching is best for increasing flexibility and maintaining lengthening of the muscles.
As you can see, there are many ways you can stretch with bands. From prepping the body with dynamic and active stretching, to recovery work with traction or static stretching. These will not only help prevent injuries, but help to create a protective barrier around the body. You will become more elastic much like a rubber band. If your muscles are elastic you will have a better ability to fire and react quickly, with a decreased chance of injury.
Resistance bands will keep your body loose, protected, and reactive all while enhancing the muscles and joints flexibility and elasticity. Consistent stretching and flexibility work also helps to maintain a pain free and healthy body.