A couple years ago I injured my neck. And after a couple months, I couldn’t lift a 10 pound weight with my left arm. The doctor told me not to lift anything, but sent me to physical therapy who showed me that while strength training wouldn’t cure me, having extra muscle mass would help with the pain at the very least, as well as overall fitness and well-being.
So, I bought some barbells and weights. Those worked well, but when I worked up to larger weights, I would constantly injure my elbows and wrists. It got to the point where I had to stop working with weights, and the therapist recommended I use resistance bands instead.
Some people turn their nose up using the bands versus real weights, but your body doesn’t know the difference. You build muscle mass just the same if not better with the bands. It’s probably not as manly as large men lifting giant iron things, but I think overall the bands are superior to weights in every way.
After a couple months with the bands, I could take the elbow braces off, concentrate on strengthening the elbows, and started using Escrima Sticks to strengthen my wrists.
It didn’t start out too serious. I kinda played around with the bands and sticks and it made me feel better, so I kept doing it.
But then I noticed that I kinda looked like Popeye, with huge forearms but tiny arms, and huge shoulders. So I started to get serious, watching YouTube videos showing how to use the bands for different muscle groups.
The bands don’t do much for cardio, and riding a stationary bike is mind-numbingly boring, so doing the martial arts for aerobics has complimented the resistance bands nicely. I look at my watch every minute on the bike, but I twirl the sticks until I’m out of breath and can’t move my arms, wishing I could keep going.
So, the $30 I spent on resistance bands is probably the best money I’ve ever spent. I’d have to put the $20 for the foam Escrima sticks a close second.
I stopped recognizing myself in the mirror about a month ago, but I feel like I’m still at the beginning of my journey. Strength training will never make me not-disabled, and I still risk paralysis if I practiced martial arts in a dojo with a real partner. But I can do what I can do.