When selecting a resistance level for bands it’s natural to want to compare the process to free weights. In other words, how “heavy” is one band versus another. The process is actually very different between the two. Let’s compare:
Free Weights - The resistance level with free-weights is a constant, meaning that a 30-pound dumbbell always weighs 30 pounds, no matter how you press it or pull it. It’s also constant throughout the range of movement, meaning that same dumbbell weighs 30-pounds at the beginning of a biceps curl, and still weighs 30-pounds at the end. This is why you need a full rack of dumbbells to create all the different resistance levels that you need.
Resistance Bands - Bands have what is called Linear Variable Resistance, meaning that the resistance can vary, depending on the starting tension, or how much the band is stretched at the beginning of the movement, and how much it’s stretched at the end of the movement. The more you stretch a band, the more resistance they create. The slacker the band is, the less resistance it creates. This means that with 5 different bands you have much more than just 5 different levels of resistance. In fact, you can create countless different resistance levels.
Here’s a few examples of how you can create more or less resistance, by shortening or lengthening the band:
SPECIAL TIP: When training with bands, worry less about the weight itself and focus more on how the resistance feels. You want to make sure that you go heavy enough where it’s difficult at the beginning of a movement and then very hard at the end of the movement, yet still allows you to complete the full range of motion and all of the repetitions in the given set.