Using resistance bands, such as a pull up assist band, as part of your stretches can help you work on muscles that are difficult or even impossible to isolate if you're just using a bench or wall to stretch against. In this article, we've looked at the benefits of using resistance bands when stretching, as well as some popular exercises which use bands to extend and loosen muscles in various parts of the body.
Types of stretch band workouts
Most stretches can be adapted to work with resistance bands, in order to add stability and also work out the muscles moderately instead of merely stretching. With band stretches, you can choose the appropriate resistance, so you're not overexerting your muscles as you stretch, but you are giving them something to work against. We've described four of the most popular stretches below for you to incorporate into your warm-up or recovery program.
Glute stretch with band
Start off lying down, back flat on the floor, feet flat on the floor, and your knees raised. Loop your band around both legs, just above the knee. Try to keep your knees at least hip-width apart, working against the tension of the band. Now, raise your hips gradually into the bridge position, stabilizing yourself by placing your arms flat against the floor. Continue raising your hips until your torso and thighs form a straight line, and then slowly and gradually reverse the movement until your hips come to rest on the floor.
Hip stretches with band
This exercise targets the hip flexor muscles. To begin, you'll need to anchor one end of your resistance band to a suitably strong point, at about knee height. Now, step into the band, looping it around your left thigh, and take about a pace back to create tension in the band. Adopt a kneeling position with your left leg and keep your right leg out to the front with your knee joint forming a right angle (like the "take a knee" position in sports). For added stability, push your left foot outwards a little, rather than maintaining a straight line behind you. Repeat for the other hip.
Hamstring stretch with band
This stretch helps increase the length and range of motion of your hamstrings. Lie flat on your back on a gym mat or the floor, and loop a resistance band around your right foot. Keeping your left leg flat on the ground, raise and straighten your right leg until it is vertical, keeping your knee straight but not quite locked. Relax your hamstring and pull smoothly on the band until you can feel the tension, and feel your hamstring stretching. If your muscles start to twitch or shake, then you're probably applying too much pressure. Repeat for your left hamstring.
Band stretches for legs (quads)
For this stretch, you'll start in the same "take a knee" position as for the hip stretches above, but this time the band placement is different. Reaching behind you, pass the band under the ankle of your rear foot, holding the ends in both hands. Now, stretch the leg up, by pulling gradually on the band, bringing your heel up towards your glutes. This elongates and stretches the corresponding quad muscle. Again, avoid overstretching or causing your muscles to spasm or shake. Repeat the exercise for the opposite quads.
These resistance band exercises are a great way to stretch out tightened muscles and improve your flexibility and range of movement, as well as to reduce the risk of injury when playing sports and working out. Always remember to warm up before attempting these stretches to avoid causing any damage to your muscles or joints.