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How to Use a TheraBand for Exercise
Theraband is a specific brand of resistance band often used by therapists in their clinics. Any resistance band, however, can be substituted for a Theraband for a wide range of exercises. Because of the versatility of a Theraband, you can use it to exercise virtually any muscle in your body. And because it is lightweight and folds up into a small space, a Theraband can travel with you almost anywhere in your purse, briefcase, laptop bag, luggage or pocket. Understanding how to effectively use a Theraband will guide you in adding this resistance training tool to your regimen.
Take time to work slowly and methodically while using your Theraband. Because these slow contractions require more strength, you can tone your muscles more effectively. Move through the entire range of motion during each exercise for an even, toned appearance and to target your stabilization muscles. Push and pull with the same speed to activate balanced concentric and eccentric muscular actions for an effective Theraband workout.
Breathe carefully during your Theraband exercises, especially for those exercises that target your trunk. Exhale as you exert yourself during the concentric phase of the exercise and inhale as you slowly return to the starting position. Avoid holding your breath as this can cause you to lose consciousness during the exercise and can actually add girth around your abdomen during trunk routines.
Determine a safe stabilization point for exercises that require you to have an extraneous point of resistance. For some exercises, such as a bicep curl, you can use your own body as the point of resistance, wrapping the Theraband around your foot and pulling up on the Theraband as you perform the bicep curls. However, for some exercises, such as ankle circles, you should use a separate point of stabilization -- wrapping the Theraband around a heavy, sturdy table leg, for example, or using a door jamb adjuster to attach the Theraband behind a closed door. Make sure your Theraband is safely attached to the extraneous point of resistance prior to starting the exercise.
Select the most appropriate amount of resistance to meet your fitness goals. Theraband, as well as many other brands, identifies levels of resistance with colors. There is no universal color system, however, so you must check with the manufacturer to understand how much resistance your band has in it. Usually, you should choose a band that is one to two levels stronger for your legs versus your arms, and most people will need at least two different colors for a full body workout.
Consult with your physician prior to starting any exercise routine. Replace old, worn or torn Theraband immediately as a full tear can cause injury during use. Never try to tie your band back together as this can also cause injury if it comes apart during exercise.
Melissa Sabo is an occupational therapist who started writing professional guidebooks for all Flagship Rehabilitation employees in 2009. Specializing in applied therapy and exercise for non-medical readers, she also coauthored a manual on wheelchair positioning. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy.