When it comes to increasing your effectiveness in a workout, adding resistance with strength bands gives you a boost.
While you can use your body weight for resistance — working against gravity, for example — as well as equipment like weights, kettlebells, medicine balls, and resistance bands, one new exciting option is Beachbody Power Loops.
These simple but incredible strength bands are part of the 645 program — named for its timeframe of 6 days a week, 45 minutes a day.
Created by Beachbody Super Trainer Amoila Cesar, the program combines strength training, cardio, and mobility work.
In addition to Power Loops, you can also use light, medium, and heavy dumbbells.
Why Add Resistance?
While cardio certainly has its benefits, resistance training offers a range of pluses, including increased muscle mass, higher bone density, better mobility, and lower injury risk overall, says Belinda Beck, Ph.D., a sports researcher at Griffith University and owner of The Bone Clinic, a health service focusing on bone, muscle, and joint health.
“Not only do you gain strength, but resistance training also gives you more functional performance and mobility,” she says. “You simply move better.”
What Are Beachbody Power Loops?
“The Beachbody Power Loop is a fabric resistance band that allows you to perform exercises in a 360-degree range of movement,” says Cody Braun, CPT, Assistant Manager of Fitness for Beachbody.
“This band allows you to add resistance to common bodyweight exercises for a greater challenge with less slippage,” he explains.
The Power Loops offer a more comfortable experience than other resistance loops, says Braun, especially for exercisers on the “hairier side.” (No more painful hair pulling!)
The inside of the loops have a grippy material designed to reduce slipping as you move, increasing your sense of stability.
Also, Braun adds, since the Power Loops are wider than other resistance bands or loops, you’ll get more tension — with less sensation of the loop digging into the skin.
How Are Power Loops Used in 645?
In 645, Amoila uses the Beachbody Power Loops to target the glutes specifically, says Braun, adding that you’ll “wake up” these important muscles in order to move more efficiently in all the moves throughout the workout.
“Since the glutes are the powerhouse of the lower body for both stability and power output, the Power Loops are used to engage these muscles efficiently through an activation series in most workouts,” he explains.
“Over the years, we have learned that the glutes are typically underdeveloped and underactive due to lifestyle factors and everyday activities. This has been linked to various common pains and injuries.”
Examples of 645 Power Loop Moves
What kinds of exercises with Power Loops can you expect during the program? One of Braun’s favorites is the lateral band walk.
This common, simple exercise is widely used, but he believes it’s often poorly coached.
“Amoila coaches you to focus on not just the walk itself, but the eccentric control of the trailing leg, which is where you demonstrate the ability to dynamically stabilize the lower body,” he says. ” That’s where the gold is hidden. Most injuries occur in the frontal plane — the lateral movement — so this exercise focuses on gaining back control over your body”
He also appreciates banded squats, since many people have difficulty engaging the glutes in their squatting movements.
The band applies some biofeedback to get a better sense and control of where your body is in space.
Also, many people experience knee valgus, when the knees cave inward, which can cause knee and ankle issues.
But, Braun says, when you have to apply force against the loop, you’re actively strengthening the muscles that combat knee valgus.
Looking for more expert tips? Head over to Beachbody On Demand and find out how Beachbody’s at-home workouts, nutrition programs, and online community work together to help you reach your health and fitness goals.