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Small Props, Big Difference: Bands & Tubing

Flex-Band Exerciser

Welcome to the first installment of our three-part Small Props, Big Difference series. To keep clients coming back for more, workouts need to constantly be refreshed for variety and they also need to be increasingly challenging for best results. This week, we shine the spotlight on bands and tubing, helping you determine which one to use, when.

When it comes to adding resistance to a client’s workout at a nominal cost, bands and tubing can be the mindful movement instructor’s best friend. Relatively inexpensive, portable, and available in a variety of strengths, the instructor can add upper- and lower-body resistance, plus flexibility and resistance exercises to their programming.

Both accessories perform a similar function – adding resistance and sculpting the muscles – but how does one choose which is resistance tool works best for a particular exercise or client? We break it down, based on physical properties and style of exercise.

Physical Properties

Flex-Band® Exercisers and other similar bands have a typical width of 6” (15 cm) whereas tubing bands are usually 1” or less in diameter. Why choose one over the other? Especially for exercises where the feet are heavily involved in the movement such as Bend & Stretch Knees, opting to use a Flex-Band can be your best, and most comfortable, bet; it’s easier to adhere this accessory to the body. A number of exercises with the Flex-Band can simulate those performed on the Reformer too.

Strength Tubing is thicker and comes pre-equipped with handles (though handles can be purchased for Flex-Bands separately), making them complementary to moves that focus on the upper-body, such as curls or flyes.

Exercise Style

While most exercises may be successfully executed with either type of resistance accessory, Flex-Bands are often used in mindful practices. For exercises where the user may elect to shorten the length and increase the tension, Flex-Bands are easiest to wrap around the wrist and adjust accordingly.

Pro Tip: When holding the Flex-Band Exerciser, keep the wrist and finger joints as neutral as possible. Avoid wrapping the band around the hands or bending the wrists. When placing the band around the feet, spread it out to keep it from rolling into a thin, tubing-style cord.

Strength tubing is popular for cardio-based and more intense programming. Especially when exercises involve other equipment, for example, looped around a Stability Barre™, strength tubing is the resistance strap of choice. Ideal for upper-body exercises or for clients who require a more comfortable grip, handles are more often found on tubing than on Flex bands (though handles can be purchased separately).

Do you have any other tips to consider when deciding between a Flex-Band Exerciser vs Strength Tubing? Share them in the comments section below!