Resistance Bands: Physiotherapy Resistance Band Exercises
resistance bands

Physiotherapists are trained in the use of exercise therapy to strengthen your muscles and improve your function.

Resistance bands and tubes are an important tool of exercise therapy and have been used for around 20 years in physiotherapy rehabilitation and exercise.

Resistance bands are easy to use, versatile, effective and most importantly, are good fun!

How Do Resistance Bands Work?

If you are wondering how to use resistance bands, think of them as an alternative to weights.

As exercise bands do not rely on gravity for resistance, you can use them to exert continuous tension on muscles, allowing you to target both concentric (muscle shortening) and eccentric (muscle lengthening) phases of movement.

The resistance band is a versatile piece of equipment for injury rehabilitation and strengthening programs.

Resistance bands can be tied to household items, such as tables or chairs, to anchor them and allow you to replicate exercises (such as upright rows, overhead press, lat pull downs, squats, etc.).

Resistance bands are available in different colours which represent different resistance grades – so that you can find the right resistance for the area you are targeting; or as you get stronger you can move through the colours.

At Phyx. Physiotherapy + Pilates, you would most often be recommended to use a yellow, red, green or blue resistance band.


How Do The Different Grades Of Resistance Work?

The amount of resistance generated depends on how far the band is stretched or elongated from it’s resting length. 

Using the above chart, you can predict what the resistance in Kilograms will be at a specific percent of elongation for different resistance band colours. 

For example, if your 0.5 metre length of blue band, is stretched to 1.5 metres (200% elongation), you’d have about 5 kilograms of force. Stretched to 2.0 metres (300% elongation), you’d have about 7 kilograms of force. 

If you use two resistance bands or double up your resistance band you will have double the force.


Quick Guide To Resistance Band Colours


Yellow bands are considered light resistance. 

They are very stretchy, and it takes little effort to stretch them.

These are good for lightly increasing stretches or for very light resistance work.


The red bands are considered medium-light resistance. 

These resistance bands are great for areas like shoulders and shins, where you don’t need much resistance to feel the muscle working.


Green resistance bands are considered medium resistance.

Green bands are used for muscle groups that need slightly more tension, such as the biceps or triceps.


Blue resistance bands are medium-heavy resistance. 

These bands are firmer and don’t provide as much stretch. Since these are very strong, they can help work larger muscle groups, such as the legs, chest and back


Black resistance bands have heavy resistance. 

These bands are difficult to stretch. 

Like blue bands, black bands are used for the large muscle groups, such as the legs.

They are more appropriate for use by those who are at the end of their recovery or do not have significant deficits.

Simple Exercises You Can Try

Bicep Curls

Stand on the resistance band with feet shoulder-width

Holding the ends of the band in each hand, bend arms to curl hands up to shoulders

Keep your elbows next to your sides

Slowly lower back down

Repeat 10x

Resisted Squat

Stand on the resistance band with feet shoulder-width

Holding the ends of the band in each hand at hip height with tension on the band

Keeping your back straight, slowly lower into a squat, going as low as you can 

Stand back up

Repeat 10x


Wrap the resistance band around something to anchor it

Stand back from the anchor point, holding the ends of the band in each hand with your elbows bent at 90 degrees

Push hands down and back, straightening arms behind you

Slowly return to starting position

Repeat 10x

Crab Walks

Tie a knot in you resistance band to create a loop

Place resistance band around legs

Bend knees and into a mini squat.

Keeping low, step to the side

Step to right 5x,  then repeat to left 5x

When used safely and correctly, any area can be effectively targeted with a resistance band. 

Your  Physiotherapist can guide you in the best way to use them and set up a program that is tailored to your goals.

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