Resistance bands are a wonderfully effective addition to any workout routine, especially when it comes to rehabilitation or strength training. Available in a variety of resistance levels and lengths, resistance bands have become the latest craze in the fitness community over the past five years
New Fad or Old trick?
While they may seem like the latest fad, resistance bands have been around since the early 1900s. In those days, resistance bands were made from durable medical and surgical tubing and were mostly used to rehabilitate muscle and limb movements in those injured or otherwise indisposed.
The earliest record of a resistance band
On May 28th 1895, a Mr Gustav Gossweiler patented his design for a “gymnastic apparatus” in Switzerland. His invention, a stretchy rope with clips and handles, was almost identical to certain resistance bands used till date. Mr Gossweiler launched patent for the same product in the United States on June 26, 1896.
Gustav Gossweiler’s description of his product mirrors the benefits we expect from use of modern resistance bands. His patent outlines not only the exercise benefits of his invention, but also highlights the features of portability and low space requirements. Even the exercises he suggests are extremely similar ones done on modern resistance bands. This is sufficient evidence to safely assume that Gustav Gossweiler was actually the first person on record to have invented the world’s first resistance band.
Popularity spikes and declines
Initially the unique tool gained popularity as a new-fangled exercise device with fitness professionals. Since they were handy and much cheaper than regular gym equipment, resistance bands made fitness portable. Being light and easy to carry, people started taking these bands with them when they travelled.
However, after an initial burst of popularity, resistance bands started to slip into obscurity, until in 1960, these bands started popping up again specifically for use in physical therapy and rehabilitation. As more and more people started to become conscious of fitness, use of these resistance bands was seen everywhere, not just in the offices of therapists and chiropractors.
In the 1990s, resistance bands made a major come back when many up and coming fitness companies started producing and marketing specialized ranges of resistance bands.
Early resistance bands were fabric and metal spring loaded contraptions. Later, elastic cloth material was used. Most popular resistance bands are now made of latex, synthetic rubber, and silicone. However many of the standard latex bands wear out quickly, can easily break apart, and some have even been known to trigger allergies because of the material used. There have been many design innovations to keep this product accessible and usable by all. For instance, Victorem Pull up Assist Bands are manufactured using a special blend of fabric and latex that makes them stronger, more durable, yet soft on the skin.
The resistance band of today may have some a long way from Gustav’s original patented design, but they all still follow the basic premise and concept. This unassuming little tool packs quit the fitness punch if used properly.