Friday, February 4, 2011

Thera-bands for Dancers, Part 1

Exercise bands, Thera-bands or similar resistance training are often suggested for dancers to increase the strength with at-home practice.  What exercises should dancers do and what can be done safely at home, without a teacher to observe incorrect habits being formed?

We will be exploring these questions and more during our series:  Thera-bands for Dancers

What is a Thera-band?
Thera-band is a brand name for thick elastic bands that adds resistance to simple exercises, making them more challenging and more efficient.  Because they are flexible, you can use them to strengthen muscles that otherwise are otherwise difficult to strengthen (foot and ankle muscles).

Exercise bands are often used in physical therapy and for injury recovery.  Thera-bands are also one of the least expensive and most portable pieces of equipment you can buy.

After the jump, read about the different types of bands available and where you can get them.
Which One To Choose
Bands are offered in different lengths and different thicknesses.  Ideally, you should have at least two or three different bands in varying thicknesses (sometimes labeled as "thick/heavy", "medium" or "light").  The thicker the band, the more resistance.

When performing exercises, begin using the band that is comfortable.  As your strength improves, swap out the band for the next heavier, more-resistant band.

Where Can I Get Some?
Exercise bands have become common place at anywhere that sells exercise equipment.   Dance, pilates and yoga supply stores will often carry them, such as Discount Dance and even Wal-Mart and Target supply them.

For studio owners or teachers who may need many bands, consider ordering in bulk from a place like Amazon, eBay or a fitness wholesaler.
If you or your dancers have a latex allergy, make sure you check the content of your bands - many of them will say whether they are made of latex or are latex-free.

Care of Your Band
Caring for your exercise band is simple.  Store it out of direct sunlight and regularly examine for nicks, tears or punctures that might cause it to snap while in use.  Never use your band with body oil.


Keep and eye out for our next post on exercise bands for some exercises to strengthen your feet and ankles!

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