A seven-minute workout sounds too good to be true. Can you really get an effective exercise session in such a short period of time?
Answer: It depends.
“If you look at basic physiology, there is an inverse relationship between exercise duration and exercise intensity,” says Chris Jordan, director of exercise physiology at Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute. “If you work out harder, you can work out for less time and get similar health and fitness returns.”
And that's the catch: You need to work out hard and make every second of your workout count if you're going to do a seven-minute session.
In a 2013 study co-authored by Jordan, they recommend high-intensity circuit training. That means that on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being your absolute hardest, you should be working at an 8 or 9. “If you are doing high intensity, it's going to be more draining and you're going to be fatiguing a lot quicker,” says Jackie Church, an exercise physiologist and ACE certified trainer.
If you want even more of a challenge, do the workout with bands like the TheraBand CLX. “This will maximize your heart rate, burn out your muscles, and make it more effective,” Church says. “You will start to feel it after just a few reps if you add resistance.”
You want to perform exercises that work multiple large muscles, such as burpees, squats, and pushups. Doing these types of exercises with little rest in between sets is the key to getting both aerobic and strength benefits.
“A typical cardio workout might be riding on a stationary bike at a constant, moderate intensity for 45 to 60 minutes, watching TV or checking Facebook,” Jordan says. “All you can expect from that are moderate fitness improvements.”
With high-intensity circuit training, however, you get both cardiovascular benefits since it's fast-paced as well as strength benefits since you're doing resistance work. And in addition to burning calories during the workout, you'll keep burning calories and fat afterward. Research shows that high-intensity workouts increase the amount of growth hormone and catecholamines (another type of hormone) in the blood. Both of these facilitate muscle mass gain and fat metabolism.
Although there are all these benefits, Church cautions that the seven-minute workout isn't the end-all, be-all. “It's great if you're traveling, but it's not the thing to do all the time,” she says, adding that you want to also incorporate strength training with added resistance such as dumbbells or resistance bands.
She also recommends that if you choose to do high-intensity training, do so for at least 20 minutes, which is what the American College of Sports Medicine recommends. For example, do three rounds of your seven-minute workout or mix and match a couple of these workout videos with Church.Read More
It’s well established that we all need to perform muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week whether you’re young or old1. Elastic bands and tubing have been used for over 100 years for muscle strengthening exercises in fitness, sports and rehabilitation. Still, many think weight machines and free weights are more effective at building muscle. So which is best? In short, the answer is, “Both weights and bands can build muscle!”
What does the science say? There are several research articles from around the world that have compared weights and elastic resistance. Researchers in the United States2 compared the strength curves of TheraBand elastic tubing to free weight dumbbells during a shoulder abduction exercise. They found that both the elastic and isotonic resistances produced a “bell-shaped” strength curve, similar to muscular strength curves, where muscle works it’s hardest at the middle part of the range of motion. The strength curve of both exercises showed that the resistance stimulus to the muscle was similar throughout the motion. Italian researchers3 confirmed that TheraBand resistance provides a similar strength curve to weight machines, further noting the versatility of elastic resistance compared to weight machines.
Danish researchers4 compared TheraBand resistance bands and free weight dumbbells during 3 upper body exercises commonly used in rehabilitation. They compared the electromyographic (EMG) muscle activation at the same intensity levels (measured by perceived exertion) during the 3 exercises. The researchers found no significant difference in muscle activation between the elastic resistance and isotonic resistance exercises, noting that both were equally effective.
In addition to providing similar levels of muscle activation, elastic resistance can provide equally effective strength gains as weights5. Researchers in Spain randomly assigned middle-aged women into 3 groups: TheraBand resistance, weight-stack machines, or a non-exercising control group. The 2 exercise groups performed the same exercises at similar intensity levels using either bands or weights. Both exercise groups significantly improved their strength and body composition, and there was no significant difference in the improvements between groups.
Based on the research, it’s clear that elastic and isotonic resistances are equally effective for strengthening exercises for fitness or rehabilitation. In fact, Malaysian researchers6 concluded that elastic resistance “can be suggested as an affordable and non-gym based exercise device which has the capacity to provide an appropriate high resistance stimulus to meet the training requirement of athletes.”
So what can you do to incorporate elastic resistance in your fitness routine? Simply put, any muscle can be exercised with elastic resistance. There’s no limitation to a fixed motion like a machine, or movements restricted to gravity. Bands and tubing can be used virtually anywhere from the gym to the house, to the hotel room and even the park. It’s recommended to strengthen large muscle groups for 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions at least 2 times per week. Use a resistance that allows you to complete the repetitions to an exertion level somewhere between 6 and 8 on a scale of 10. As you get stronger, you can increase the resistance of the band by moving to the next color in the TheraBand color progression.
There you have it. Exercise Everywhere! In addition to its effectiveness and versatility, the lower cost and more efficient use of space make elastic resistance an excellent choice for resistance exercises.
1. Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, et al. Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39(8):1423-1434.
4. Andersen LL, Andersen CH, Mortensen OS, Poulsen OM, Bjornlund IB, Zebis MK. Muscle activation and perceived loading during rehabilitation exercises: comparison of dumbbells and elastic resistance. Phys Ther. 2010;90(4):538-549.
6. Aboodara SJ, Shariff MAH, Muhamed AMC, Ibrahim F, Yusof A. Electromyographic activity and applied load during high intensity elastic resistacne and nautilus machine exercises. J Human Kinetics. 2011;30.Read More
Maybe you've seen people using resistance bands in a class at the gym or demonstrated on a morning show and wondered if something that simple can do anything for you.
“People have the misconception that you use resistance bands for physical therapy or if you're injured and are trying to get back to exercising,” says Jackie Church, an exercise physiologist and ACE certified trainer. “That's where they began, but they've grown to be so much more.”
And the TheraBand CLX resistance bands are even more than other bands. Here are eight reasons every exerciser should have at least one CLX.
1. TheraBand CLX resistance bands are affordable
If you decide to join a gym, you could be paying more than $100 per month, plus extra fees for joining and when you cancel. You may not even go often enough to make it worth the cost.
If you decide to exercise at home and buy a machine like a treadmill, it could set you back more than $1,000, while sets of dumbbells cost a couple hundred dollars. But a good resistance band, like the TheraBand CLX, is less than $25.
“Resistance bands are a lot cheaper, and the space required for them is so much less than a machine,” Church says. “Plus with weights, you're not going to use the same weight for every exercise, so you need multiple dumbbells. But with the TheraBand CLX, you can take a loop away and change the resistance.”
2. You can take TheraBand CLX anywhere
People who frequently travel for work know that hotel gyms can be very hit or miss. But who would ever lug weights in their carry-on?
Next time, toss resistance bands in your suitcase. “When I travel, I take two with me,” Church says. “They're super lightweight and hardly take up space. Then you can do a workout in your hotel room whenever you want to.”
3. TheraBand CLX resistance bands are straightforward
Walking into a gym can be intimidating—and walking into the weight room can be even scarier. If you haven't worked out in a while or are new to exercising, you may feel more comfortable using TheraBand CLX at home. They're intuitive to use, and you don't have to worry about dropping one on your foot.
That's why Church has used CLX with everyone from children to older adults. “Children may not be ready for a weight room. With a band, you can add resistance with controlled movement and teach them proper movement patterns,” she says. “For older adults, resistance bands can help them maintain their muscular strength, support bone strength, and perform daily activities.”
4. You can do tons of exercises with the TheraBand CLX
“The hardest part about resistance bands is to get people to understand what you can do with a simple piece of rubber,” says Michael Rogers, Ph.D., chair of the department of performance studies at Wichita State University. “Any exercise you'd do in a gym, you can do with a band, and even things you can't do with standard equipment, you can do with CLX.” The loops on the CLX work as handles and anchors, producing a wide range of exercises, making it an ideal choice.
Church agrees, saying that while you can do a lot with dumbbells, you can do more with the CLX Plus; it's easier to do balancing exercises—which provide the bonus of working your core—with bands than weights.
Not sure where to begin? Check out our TheraBand CLX exercise videos! You'll find exercises for all fitness levels.
5. CLX provides built-in feedback
“If you do a lateral raise with a dumbbell, you may be lifting out at a 45-degree angle and not realize it,” Church says. “But with resistance bands, you can see if that band is going straight out or to the side. You get that visual feedback and can see if you're doing it correctly.” This way you target the correct muscles and avoid injury.
6. CLX increases strength
Research shows that all populations benefit from exercising with resistance bands.
In a recent study, researchers had fit young men train with either weights and weight machines or the TheraBand CLX. At the end of the experiment, both groups had similar gains in strength and muscle.
In another study from 2008, sedentary middle-aged women trained twice a week for two weeks using either resistance bands or weight machines. When the study was over, both groups had lost about the same amount of fat and gained about the same amount of lean muscle.
Dr. Rogers has also studied the effects of resistance band exercises in those 60 and older, finding that it helps improve upper-body strength, lower-body strength, and functional strength. “With the bands, we can recreate the activities of daily living with older adults,” Rogers says, “which helps them with everyday activities from lifting their grandkids to pushing a door open.”
7. Resistance bands can improve athletic performance
In addition to using resistance bands on their own, you can also use them with sports equipment. “We can recreate sports activities like a golf swing or tennis racket swing, which you can't do with a dumbbell,” Rogers says.
Whereas a dumbbell isolates one main muscle, using the band allows people to go through the full range of motion that simulates a specific sports activity. So instead of working just your biceps or triceps, you can work your entire shoulder girdle and all the smaller muscles around your shoulder.
“This can help tennis players develop a more powerful forehand or backhand,” Rogers noted.
8. CLX makes exercise more effective and faster
Using a CLX to add resistance to an exercise makes your muscles work harder. And that leads to better results, in less time. You can easily incorporate the CLX into almost exercise, from pushups and squats to burpees and standing oblique crunches. And since you can work your entire body using just a resistance band, you won't spend time switching equipment between exercises. That facilitates a fast workout. Check out our 7-minute workout article for more on how to do a fast, effective workout.
Bottom line: If you're looking for an affordable, versatile, and effective way to workout, the new TheraBand CLX band is the way to go.Read More