Selecting Your Tubing
There is a wide variety of tubing available from a variety of manufacturers. Tubing is generally colored; unfortunately the resistance that corresponds to the colors from one manufacturer may not be the same for another, making it difficult to choose tubing based solely on color. Most companies carry 3-5 different tensions ranging from very light to very heavy. Since tubing is relatively inexpensive having one tube of each tension level will ensure you have an adequate resistance for a variety of exercises. Double tubing is available for stronger people, double tubing is two pieces of tubing attached to the same handle.
Tubing can be purchased as either bulk tubing or in pre cut lengths. Bulk tubing can be purchased in rolls of up to 100 feet, allowing you to cut different lengths and set up multiple stations. Pre cut tubing typically comes in 36”, 48” or 60” lengths. Most pre cut tubing has handles, making it much easier to perform most exercises. We recommend the pre cut tubing with handles for home and personal use and bulk tubing if you are buying for a large group or team.
Some tubing comes with a protective sleeve that protects the tubing from nicks, cuts, sweat, body oils, exposure to UV light and other factors that will cause the rubber to degrade and decrease the durability of the tubing. It also makes it more comfortable to perform exercises where the tubing may be rubbing over your body. Whether you choose tubing with a sleeve or not is completely a personal choice, there is no performance advantage to having the sleeve.
The basic tubing with a handle is going to be adequate for most people. However, there are some specialty tubing and elastic resistance products that will benefit specific groups of people. O tubing is a circular tubing unit that attaches around the ankles and is used to target the inner and outer thighs. This is popular for those who are doing group fitness classes or following fitness videos.
Lateral steppers or resistors are tubing products that feature ankle cuffs joined by a piece of tubing, these are used to add resistance to various agility drills, particularly lateral movement drills. If you are involved in a sport that requires change of direction speed and agility you may consider this product.
Bands, large elastic bands that are draped over a weightlifting bar, have become popular in powerlifting and strength sports circles. Bands are used in addition to weights to increase the resistance at the top of many multi joint movements. Powerlifting coach Louie Simmons popularized the use of bands and has had great success using them with top level powerlifters. There are a variety of sizes of bands, the strongest of which will add up to 150lbs of resistance to each side of the bar per band attached.
Sprinting resistors and assistors are long pieces of thick tubing that attach to a belt that is worn around the waist. The tubing is held by a training partner and can be used to provide resistance to forward, backward and lateral sprinting exercises. This type of training helps improve stride rate, one of the key components of running faster.
You can get a great workout from tubing alone but there are a few accessories that you may want to consider if you are making tubing your sole form of resistance training. These accessories increase the number of exercises that you can do providing more variety to your program.
Wall rails are pieces of wood with hooks every two inches that are attached vertically to a wall. The hooks provide a variety of heights for attaching your tubing so that you can perform overhead pulling and standing press movements. An alternative to the wall rail is an assist strap that attaches to the tubing and a door knob, door jamb or other fixed object.
A tubing plat form is a 3’ x 3’ piece of plywood fastened to a frame made of 2”x 4” boards. Hooks are screwed into the frame every 2-3 inches. The platform allows you to do various jumps with tubing and makes it easier to do overhead presses, squats and various deadlift movements.
An adjustable bench that lies flat and has various degrees of incline will make it easier to do many of the lying and seated exercises. These benches can be purchased at most big box department stores for a reasonable price.
Adjusting The Resistance of Your Tubing
As tubing is stretched the resistance increase, the longer the tubing is stretched the harder it gets to stretch it further. For many exercises you will stand on the middle of the tubing with one foot so that there is equal resistance in each hand. Adjusting your foot position will increase or decrease the resistance. Standing on the tubing with both feet will increase the resistance and moving your feet apart will increase it further. If you stand nearer one end of the tubing you will increase the resistance at the end closest to your foot and decrease the resistance at the other end. If you attach your tubing to a wall rail or doorjamb standing further away from the attachment will increase your resistance.
It is very important to keep track of where you stand in relation to attachment points and where you put your feet on the tubing. This will help you monitor your improvement and make sure that your workouts are consistently done with the same or greater resistance.
Caring for Your Tubing
Modern exercise tubing has come a long way from the surgical tubing that was used years ago, there is a wider range of resistances available, stretchability is greater and the tubing lasts longer. While tubing is very safe it is not indestructible and over time will wear out or break. To get most use form your tubing there are some simple maintenance steps you can follow:
Inspect your tubing before each use
Nicks and cuts will decrease the strength of the tubing and lead to breakage. If you notice a cut in your tubing it is time to for a replacement. Do not store you tubing in a box with sharp objects or tools and keep it away from sharp corners if you are tying it to benches or attaching it to door frames. If your tubing has handles inspect the grommets where the tubing is attached to the handle, this is the point most likely to break.
Store in a warm place
Tubing can become brittle if stored in the cold. Avoid using tubing when it is cold, allow it to warm up for 20-30 minutes before it is stretched. Storing tubing in the cold can decrease the life of the tubing. If you live in parts of the country that experience winter you should keep your tubing in the house, not the garage or the trunk of your car.
Wipe it Down
Always wipe your tubing down with a clean wet cloth after a training session. The salts and oils on your skin and in your sweat can dry the tubing, making it brittle. A wet cloth will remove the slats and extend the life of your tubing. Some cleaners and disinfectants can weaken rubber so read the label carefully before using it on your tubing and if you are not sure stick with water.
PEAK Centre staff have the highest certifications available in Canada for Sport Science. With their combined experience and education, PEAK Centre is at the forefront of practical Sport Science application.