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Resistance Bands

Resistance bands and tubes are used extensively in physical therapy and rehabilitation, but they can be a very safe and effective part of every fitness program. They provide resistance that can be used to strengthen all muscle groups. Different levels of resistance (weights) are indicated by color and range from gentle to very firm. Resistance bands/tubes can be used for both isometric and isotonic strengthening. Isometric exercises involve progressive muscle contraction while holding the joint in one position. These exercises strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints in a gentle way because there is little joint movement. With isotonic exercises, the band is gently stretched through the range of motion of the joint. Most band exercises can be done with minimal modifications for people with arthritis.

Modifications

Specific modifications will depend on your joints affected, but you may consider the following.

  • Bands and tubes can be tied into loops (if not already in that shape) and placed around the hands or forearms so you don’t have to grasp them with sore fingers.
  • Bands/tubes should not be placed directly over a joint, but should go above or below the joint.
  • Hold onto a chair for balance while you do standing exercises.

Tips

  • Bands/tubes are great to take along with you when you travel.
  • Exercising with resistance bands or tubes is an excellent way for you to begin strengthening if you have never done any strength training.

Progression

  • Choose lower-resistance bands or tubes at first then build gradually to the heavier bands.
  • Increase repetitions and sets of exercises as tolerated.

This is general resistance bands information. Get personalized results, with specific modifications and tips customized to your problem joints and level of fitness.