Why the Theraband is my 'go to' piece of Pilates equipment
If I was asked to choose only one item of Pilates equipment to use in my practice, it would be a tough decision to choose between a Pilates small ball and Theraband (resistance band) However, due to its portability and versatility, I think in the end, I would have to plump for the Theraband. Mine travels with me wherever I go; it doesn't take up any room in a suitcase, so it's great if you travel for work or want to keep up with your practice on holiday.
Pilates equipment can vary greatly in price with Magic Rings and Swiss Balls being the most expensive, especially if you are buying a big name brand. Pilates smaller balls and bands, however, can be purchased relatively cheaply and can add huge variety and challenge to your workout.
When looking at purchasing your own Therabands, it's a good idea to invest in at least two with different resistant levels so that you can change depending on the exercise you want to do. If you are tight though the pecs or have rotator cuff issues, shoulder mobility exercises might be difficult to perform if using a band with too much resistance causing you to come out of a neutral position, where as leg strengthening and stretching might benefit from using a stronger band. A lot of manufacturers colour-code their resistance bands so you can distinguish between them. Other issues to consider, are the length of the band - they usually range from 1.5-2 metres and, obviously, the taller you are the longer the band you will need and whether you would need the band to be latex-free.
My top three buys:
Theraband tri-colour soft resistance elastic bands - By the orignal TheraBand company, this is described as a beginners set but would be fine for Pilates exercises where we don't want the strength of the band to pull the body out of alignment. Although a little pricer at around £21, the bands are good quality and a good length with each band measuring 150cms in length. You get three color-coded bands: Yellow-3-4.3 lbs.; Red-3.7-5.5 lbs.; Green-4.6-6.7 lbs. An additional stronger band might be useful for leg work.
Physical Company SupaFlex X band - This is where I buy my bands (on the roll) but you can also buy them in 1.5m lengths and is a better option if you just want one band or want to just buy the resistance level you need rather than buying a pack. In the studio, I use the purple bands (which they sell as intermediate) which is plenty strong enough for leg work but would offer an alternative such as the yellow band for shoulder/mid-back work.. They are excellent quality and the cost ranges from £2.88 - £4.60 depending on the resistance level, plus postage.
OMORC Exercise Resistance Bands 3 Set - This set also comprises 3 bands but these are a higher resistance. They do however, come in a handy bag which is great for keeping your bands out of sunlight which can deteriorate them. The measurements are great (150cm x (15cm/5.91in) with resistance levels of : Mint Green(Light/10-15lbs), Pink(Medium/15-20lbs) and Purple(Heavy/20-25lbs). This set is much cheaper at around £10.99.
Tips for looking after your Theraband:
The other reason I love a Theraband, is that they are low maintenance and have a long life if they are looked after. Here are some tips for keeping your Theraband in good condition.
Keep the material away from chemicals. This includes cleaning with bleach, which breaks down the plastic elements and can make your bands brittle. Avoid chlorinated pools as well.
Clean the band by washing in hot water with a mild detergent, if needed, and then hang them up to dry.
If after washing, the band starts to stick to itself, I use a little bit of talcum powder to help keep the band nice and supple.
Keep away from sunlight and direct heat. This can degrade the band and cause it to become brittle so keep it stored away somewhere cool and dark such as a cupboard or gym bag.