Tubing has long been recognized as a valuable tool in rehabilitation because it safely and effectively strengthens weak muscles. Fitness professionals, athletes, business travelers, and home-gym junkies also have realized the benefits of using resistance tubing, but for purposes other than just rehabilitation. Tubing is a great alternative to free weights and cable machines. Not only can you get a great full-body workout from tubing, but you also can get progressive resistance throughout the entire range of motion and a greater stretch from extended flexing, which you don’t get from free weights. Tubing is also lightweight and portable so you can take it anywhere, anytime. It easily stores away in a purse or briefcase. Here are a few pointers for selecting a resistance level and tube type.
Tubing comes in a variety of resistance levels ranging from extra light to ultra heavy. Usually the tubing is color coded to indicate the level of resistance. While there is no industry standard for color in relationship to resistance level, most tubing goes from a lighter color (least resistance) to a darker color (most resistance). If you are uncertain about which resistance level is most suitable for your fitness level, you are better off choosing one that’s too light rather than too heavy. You can always compensate for the lighter weight with more reps.
Tubing is available in many different styles, shapes, and sizes. The broad selection on the market offers something to suit every ability. Your choices range from tubing with handles (or without), ankle cuffs, or door attachments to tubing shaped as a figure-8 or a circle, or simply flat tubing (bands). So, what is the best type of tubing to use? It depends on what you want to target. A great, all-encompassing tube would be one with (or without) handles. This type of tubing can be used as part of a total body strength-training regimen; use it to strengthen the shoulders, arms, abs, legs, and back. If you are looking to target the lower body, choose circular tubing or tubing with ankle cuffs. Both allow motion in all directions, making them great for improving hip strength, agility, and lateral movement. A door attachment works well for exercises such as crossovers, pullovers, and lat pull downs.
Keeping your tubing products in good condition will help ensure a safe workout. Under normal conditions, tubing products used in a commercial setting should be replaced annually due to ordinary wear and tear (two years if used strictly for personal use). However, excessive use may require that the tubing be replaced sooner. Some important things to remember in caring of your tubing:
- Keep tubing away from heat, cold, or sharp objects.
- Inspect tubing before use to ensure there are no nicks or cuts.
- Avoid exposing tubing to sunlight and water for prolonged periods. If using tubing in chlorinated water, rinse thoroughly after each use, allow it to dry completely, and then dust with a little talcum powder.
Stretch tubing and bands offer a dynamic training environment for a variety of exercises at different difficulty levels. So, have fun, be creative, and keep it safe!
Knee Lifts (Versa Cuff)
Start: Stand tall with feet slightly apart and toes, hips, and shoulders facing forward.
Action: With hands on the hips or down at the sides (one hand may hold a stationary object for balance), contract the abdominals and glutes and lift the leg up by bending the knee. Pause at the top and lower the leg in a controlled manner. Do not bend the knee past a 90° angle. Repeat on the opposite side (or choose to finish a full set on one side before changing to the other).
Variations: Lift knee as shown and then extend leg in front, pressing through the heel. Return to bent-knee position before lowering leg. Do not lock knee when it is in the extended position.
Rear Leg Lift (Gluteus Squeeze)(Versa Cuff)
Start: Stand with feet hip-width apart and toes, hips, and shoulders facing forward. One hand can hold onto a stationary object to maintain balance if needed. Maintain a slight bend in the knees.
Action: With a slight forward lean, contract the abdominal and gluteus muscles. Balance on supporting leg while the working leg and flexed foot are rotated outward. Contract and squeeze the gluteus muscles. Pressing through the heel, lift the leg toward the back. Pause at the height of the contraction and then return the toe to the floor in a controlled manner. It is very important to keep the gluteus and abdominal muscles contracted and the hips and shoulders forward (no rotation) at all times to keep the movement from arching the low back.
Variations: 1. Lift and lower leg with a pointed foot. 2. Lift, isolate, and hold. 3. Lift leg and gently pulse.
Half Roll Down (Pilates Versa Tube)
Start: Sit on the mat with the cuffs of the Pilates Versa-Tube® around the arch of each foot. Feet are in the flexed position and legs are slightly bent. Grasp the center attachment of the Pilates Versa-Tube® with both hands. Remember to keep the shoulders down and back during this exercise to help maintain correct posture.
Action: While performing this exercise, always inhale to prepare for the movement and exhale during the action phase. Take a deep breath. While exhaling, begin to slowly roll down, allowing one vertebra at a time to come in contact with the mat. Use the resistance of the tube to help slow the speed of the movement. Once the body is lying on the floor, take a deep breath. While exhaling, slowly begin to roll up to the starting position, one vertebra at a time. Use the resistance of the tube to help bring the body to the starting position. DO NOT use the hip flexors or perform a posterior pelvic tilt to compensate for weak abdominal muscles.
Double Arm Raise (Double Cords)
Starting Position: Split stance, contract abdominals, keep back straight and knees slightly bent. Holding a handle in each hand, the hands are down at the sides with the palms facing back.
Action: Slowly lift arms up and out, away from the body. Keep the shoulders pressed down and the neck relaxed. Do not raise the arms higher than shoulder height. Hold and slowly return to the starting position.
Seated Row (Premium Versa Tube)
Starting from the floor, wrap the tubing around your feet so that it comes up the outside of your legs.
Starting position: Grasp the handles with elbows bent slightly and palms of hands facing toward floor. Shoulders are back and torso is erect.
Action: Using the muscles in back and arms, pull hands toward middle of chest, keeping palms facing floor. Torso should be upright or tilted back 5 to 15 degrees. Pause briefly when hands are even with chest and then slowly return to starting position.
Variation: Turn palms inward so that they face each other. Pull hands toward navel. This targets the lower muscles of the back.
by Education Department