Following a recent entry about resistance band training, I received numerous questions about the handles demoed throughout the video. With that in mind, I’ll use this entry to provide a few answers and instructions. Resistance bands can obviously be used on their own, but there are times when I enjoy adding a handle or modifying the grip. Doing so can enhance some of the exercises as you’ll see below.
Band Handle and Accessories Demo
In the video that follows, you will see me spice up my band training with rope, PVC pipe, galvanized pipe, and a homemade handle that I first demoed on this site almost ten years ago.
1. Manila Rope
Thick manila rope (ex. 2-inch) adds a grip challenge to almost any pulling exercise. Resistance band rows are no exception. If you don’t have rope, a thick towel can also work well (ex. a large beach towel).
2. Homemade Resistance Band Handle
The one hand band handle that you see in the video is made from 3/4 inch pipe. The parts list and instructions are quite simple.
- Two 5 1/2 inch pipe nipples
- Two 1 1/2 inch pipe nipples
- Three 90 degree connectors
The ends of each pipe nipple are threaded so each piece screws into the next. A close up picture can be seen here. You’ll see how I also wrapped the pipe in tape to provide a smooth finish (optional).
This handle has served me well for many years. It is ideal for single arm exercises such as rows, curls, overhead presses, etc. I find it particularly useful when working against a strong band or multiple bands. I can focus on performing the exercise without being distracted by trying to fit wide or multiple bands into my hand.
3. PVC Pipe
I also use a two foot piece of 1.5 inch PVC pipe for many exercises such as rows, band slams, and tricep extensions. PVC is durable, inexpensive, and should be easy to find at your local hardware store.
4. Galvanize Pipe
If you don’t have PVC, galvanized pipe can be used as well. I tend to use both as I have several pieces of pipe in the gym that double as homemade dumbbell handles. As far as which works better with bands, there is no difference. My advice would be to use whatever you have access to and/or what you can find locally.
In summary, resistance bands work well on their own, but I prefer adding a handle for many of my favorite exercises. The handles certainly aren’t a requirement, but they are simple and inexpensive to build or acquire.
If you have any further questions about the handles or bands, feel free to message me or comment below.
“Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs