Note: with any product recommendations I do I will disclose if there is a sponsorship, affiliate marketing or any other relationship between Endurance Strong and that brand, product, or company.
Since exercise bands go by many names I should first clarify that by mini-band I am referring to exercise bands that are a small loop. These loops come if a few different sizes but here I am specifically recommending the Perform Better Mini-Bands which are 9in long and 2in wide. These should be a staple in anybody’s exercise equipment collection, but even more so for endurance athletes. While there are a plethora of exercises you can do with these mini-bands, the key use of the mini-bands especially for endurance athletes are for those exercises that strengthen you hip abductors and external rotators. These include side leg raises, clamshells, and 4 way band walks which are all shown in the videos below. For more exercise videos including ways to use mini-bands please see the Endurance Strong Youtube channel here.
Like we said there are many similar bands and products that can be used similarly, but I believe the Perform Better Mini-bands to be superior for a few reasons. First, their diameter seems to just be perfect for almost everyone. Larger diameter bands tend to slide or fall down especially during standing exercises. If there is not even enough tension to stay in place, there is definitely not enough tension to provide you enough resistance for the exercise which is its whole purpose. An easy alternative commonly used is just tying together the ends of a long resistance band. While this certainly works in a pinch, its often hard to perfect the amount of resistance you are creating with each use, which usually results in you untying and retying a bunch of times or trying to do the exercise with a resistance that isn’t a good fit for your ability. While mini-band will stretch somewhat over time, you are getting a nearly identical resistance with every rep and every use. This is helpful to track progress over time as one band becomes too easy and you can progress to a more resistant band.
Speaking of progressing resistances, the four main resistances of the Perform Better Mini-Bands are color coded and in order from least to most resistance are: yellow, green, blue, and black. Most people new to these exercises would be surprised how comfortably hard the yellow band can be at first and thus would be a great starting point. The green band is a great medium resistance and the band I think most endurance athletes will use the most. The blue band is where resistance gets tough. Those that have consistently performed these exercises and developed real strength in these muscle groups will eventually progress to the blue bands. The black band is extremely tough and its actually unlikely you will ever progress to it. Those that use the black band often have to cheat to some degree to perform the exercises with it so it takes a special person to progress to using it while being able to maintain good form, but its good to have as an option for the select few that can. Each level up in resistance for Perform Better Mini-Bands is a perfect increase in resistance being enough to notice but not so much that you get caught between resistance levels. These bands are often sold as a multi-pack of these four resistances so they should suit you well for your whole exercise journey.
All exercise bands will wear out and tear/break eventually but in my experience Perform Better Mini-Bands last longer than most. For about $6 (+$10 shipping) for the multipack and less for any individual band, replacing them once in a while isn’t too much of a financial hit. One thing to keep in mind is that band walks I recommend working your way up to using two bands (one at ankles and one at knees) so having extra bands and mix and matching resistances (harder resistance at knees) can be helpful. Buying two sets may also be wise also with a flat shipping fee.
Hopefully, you found this product recommendation helpful and Perform Better Mini-bands soon find their way into your home or gym bag. Some recommended uses for these bands specifically for endurance athletes were given, but for a complete strength training plan for endurance athletes that incorporates these exercises please check out the Endurance Strong strength training plans here.
To purchase your Perform Better Mini-band please click the link here.