Resistance bands often get a lot of flack within the athletic community. Many athletes swear confidently (and somewhat cockily) by ‘pumping iron,’ and feel that other methods of strength training simply don’t allow for the best results.
And while this concept is obviously subjective, and opinions on which is better vary from athlete to athlete, resistance bands are not at all as bad as they are made out to be.
In fact, they are far more portable, far cheaper, and rather easier to use. Resistance bands also provide a lesser chance of injury, which should always be of paramount import to any athlete.
While these devices are used mainly for recovering or injured athletes, they are not limited solely to therapeutic use. All that is required is a bit of patience and creativity, and you can bring your training to the next level, all with just a cheap set of massive rubber bands.
The BodyGym is a complete portable gym and includes a set of resistance bands, a bar, and two training DVDs, as well as a carrying case.
It unfortunately only includes one resistance band, but heavier bands can always be purchased and used with the BodyGym set.
The inclusion of the bar adds a very unique addition to The BodyGym. Through a combination of hooks and clasps, the resistance band attaches to the bar and can be anchored on its opposite end to a variety of places – chairs, feet, door jams, etc. etc.
The reason this is so useful is that it then allows for you to perform any variety of traditional ‘barbell’ exercises.
If you have a weight bench, or if you are creative in the careful alignment of chairs, you can anchor the band below beneath you and perform the popular and traditional barbell chest press.
If you anchor the band at your feet, you can perform barbell bicep curls. If you anchor the band at the side of a chair, you can perform barbell shoulder presses. With this, you can also perform triceps extensions and wide-grip or narrow-grip rows.
Without purchasing a different resistance band, you can easily increase the level of resistance you are experiencing by simply changing the angle of the bar – if you roll it towards you, the workout becomes more difficult as the band becomes more tightly wound.
The DVDs included provide, in total, over three-hundred minutes of content. The first DVD features Marie Osmand (yes, the famous singer), and is a 94-minute long training/instructional video.
The second DVD is a 250-minute long core-systems DVD. Both are useful in structuring your workouts – it is always easier to follow along on the TV than to improvise your own exercises.
Price and Other Important Info
You can get the whole BodyGym for only $40 on Amazon, where it has a 4.2-star rating and more than 400 reviews.
The bar itself is a very light plastic bar – this is both good and bad. With a sub-three-pound weight, it is that much easier to transport. But on the other hand, with a weight of fewer than three pounds, it is far less sturdy than it could be.
Plus, if you were hoping that the weight of the bar would increase the overall weight that you’re lifting, you won’t get it here – the sole purpose of the bar is to act as a medium for the resistance bands.
It is generally well-liked as an easy-to-use system that packs a surprising punch. The phrase “though she be but little, she is fierce,” (that is, in fact, Shakespeare) comes to mind – one resistance band does not give the impression of a potential for difficulty.
But, if you do enough repetitions, and focus on form, the workouts can become tough – you just have to take the initiative to make them tough.
Should You Get It?
Like all things, that depends. This product is designed for people who are either recovering from an injury, are too fragile to work out hard, or simply do not have the time to go to a proper gym.
It is a good option if your monetary and temporal budget is tight. But even on tight budgets for people with little time, there are ways to pursue inexpensive home workouts that will have better results than the BodyGym.
If you are seeking to maintain your athleticism and build strength while toning muscle, you might want to look into other gym alternatives, of which there are many.
The cheapest alternative to the gym is a combination of high-intensity cardio and high-intensity calisthenics (body-weight training). Potentially at a cost of $0, you can maintain and improve your cardiovascular health, improve endurance, and vastly improve strength.
I would even argue, in some instances, that calisthenics are better than the gym – they follow the body’s natural motions of pushing and pulling and are not isolated.
Because any calisthenics exercise you will do engages your entire body, you wind up strengthening stabilizing muscles – this provides strength that is more usable in every-day scenarios.
It is true, however, that calisthenics won’t get you ‘ripped’ or help you gain a ton of weight, but body-weight training can make you very strong.
There is also the fact that, by purchasing a set of resistance bands (without the bar), you can incorporate levels of added resistance into calisthenics-based training, making your pushups or pullups even more difficult.
The point I am trying to make here is that the only special attribute of the BodyGym is the bar – and the bar may not be necessary.
But if you are someone who is too fragile to work out hard, or is in recovery from some type of injury, the BodyGym is a great option. However, for the average athlete, it might not be enough to accomplish your fitness goals.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.