Your Instagram feed may be flooded with resistance bands, but are your favorite influencers using the trendy fitness tool properly?
According to Morgan Rees, LA-based ACE-certified personal trainer, there are five very common resistance band mistakes people make, from poor form to overstretching bands to even purchasing the wrong brands.
To help you get the best glute workout without putting yourself at risk for injury, Rees walked us through these frequently made faux pas, offering her best advice on how to avoid them.
Is your band too tight?
You may want to think twice before reaching for the tightest, thickest band for your workout — Rees says it could be putting your body at risk. She says when stretching a band that is too tight, it will snap back to its original size too quickly. Reducing the range of motion during your exercise puts stress on your surrounding joints and can strain muscles.
How to fix this: Rees suggests starting with a band that is a bit looser and aiming for at least 10 to 15 reps. If you can do the exercise properly with full control of the band, you can move up in tension.
Can you maintain constant tension throughout each move?
Have you heard the term "time under tension?"
Rees explains that in exercise, "It's the amount of time the muscle is under strain during a set of repetitions."
Once band tension is lost (which can be done by bringing your legs too close together during a glute bridge, for example), the intensity is interrupted. This is counterproductive to your workout.
How to fix this: It's important to control an entire movement without losing tension. If this is too difficult, Rees recommends opting for a looser band.
Are you overstretching your band?
There are two types of resistance bands: power (or loop) and mini bands — both have stretch limits.
According to Rees, if you overstretch either band type, the latex will tear, weakening it to the point of possibly snapping, which can potentially cause injury.
How to fix this: If you're pushing a resistance band's flexibility too far, know it is much safer to pick a thicker band with more tension.
Rees claims loop bands should only stretch up to 1.5 to 2 yards, while a mini band should only hit a stretch of around two to three feet. If you are testing these limits, find a band with more tension.
Did you purchase cheap bands?
When it comes to resistance bands, the budget option isn't always better. Rees says the average cost for bands is anywhere between $25 (for a small pack of mini bands) to $50, and anything less than that has a higher chance of snapping and causing injury.
Are you doing band walks wrong?
Throughout her time as a personal trainer, Rees has noticed that band walks are the resistance band move people "butcher" most.
Using a band that is too tight for this exercise can cause the knees to buckle inward, destabilizing your hips, knees, and ankles instead of activating your glutes.
Secondly, pay attention to your foot positioning. Don't allow your feet to turn outward, as this causes the hip flexors to take over the movement instead of the glutes. Try stepping out with your heels, which will keep your feet parallel and hips slightly externally rotated.
How to fix: Maintain proper band resistance and placement thanks to the following instructions.