Using Therabands in Your Workout
Various forms of apparatus such as weights, balls, and therabands have an important role in the Extend Exercise classes. Apart from introducing a variety of movements into the routines, they also fulfil special functions in exercising different muscle groups.
The theraband is the form of apparatus that I most value and use consistently in my classes for the following reasons:
Convenience and portability
As I am a travelling instructor with no storage space at the various venues where I teach, I have to carry all the items I use, from the music centre to the apparatus. I therefore appreciate the fact that therabands are small, compact and light in weight which means that they can be easily transported.
Most members of the classes I teach have a variety of problems which make it unsafe for them to work from a standing position. They are not active seniors but they do still need to exercise. We therefore keep to the safety of the seated position and it is here that the therabands can be used to great advantage. Another safety aspect is that therabands come in various strengths (indicated by different colours) so members with shoulder, wrist, knee or hip problems are able to work with bands that are of the appropriate resistance for their specific problem. I therefore keep an assortment of bands of varying strengths. We do not adopt the one size fits all approach.
Concentric and eccentric muscle movements
A biceps curl executed with a theraband illustrates how muscles are able to work both concentrically and eccentrically, thus developing tone and strength. On the upward pull of the theraband, the biceps muscle contracts and shortens, thus working concentrically. On the downward controlled movement, the biceps muscle contracts and lengthens, thus working eccentrically. At the same time, the triceps muscle is also worked concentrically and eccentrically. In this way, the resistance provided by the theraband tones and strengthens the muscles and provides a good, safe workout. The same applies to leg exercises where the theraband can be anchored to the floor under the feet and the legs can alternately be pushed out to the side against resistance.
Therabands are therefore versatile, safe and effective and provide a wonderful addition to any exercise routine for seniors.