Rubberized resistance equipment gives you a portable mini training gym. You can mimic many large pieces of strength-training equipment with a band that fits into a sandwich bag. Resistance bands and tubes are used by exercisers at all fitness levels from beginners to athletes to improve strength, tone and coordination. Plus, they are affordable tools, with little difference between a band and a tube.
Exercise bands and tubes are available in different resistance levels. Each company uses a different system to color-code its products. For example, a yellow band from one company that identifies it as a light resistance may indicate a heavy resistance on a tube. Check with each manufacturer to identify the levels of resistance, but keep a variety of options to progress with you as your strength improves. Check all bands for weak spots before use, as the bands can snap if damaged or worn.
An exercise band is approximately three inches wide and is flat. A resistance tube is rounded and resembles a rope. The shape of each rubber-resistance tool affects the ways you use them. For example, you may find it easier to stand on the flat band than a rolling tube. The exercise bands are also more comfortable when tied into a loop and held against your skin. The tubes are often easier to use when you do an exercise with another person, and you can connect a tube to a door for a stable anchor.
The flat exercise bands do not come with handles, but you can purchase handles to attach to them. The flat bands are easy to grip without handles, as you can wrap the excess band around your hands. Exercise tubes come with handles attached, or with interchangeable handles. The handles may provide additional comfort to your hands during exercises that require you to hold the ends of the tubes. Holding on to the tube without a handle is slippery. An additional word of caution: Most bands and tubes are made of latex, but there are latex-free alternatives if you have a latex allergy.
You have the option of buying bands and tubes that are precut to between four- and five-foot lengths. The lengths provide enough resistance for a variety of exercises. You also have the option of buying bands and tubes in rolls to be cut at different lengths for different exercises. If you cut the bands, you are immediately ready to use them. If you cut the tubes, you'll need to attach the handles before you use them.
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