Traveling with your resistance bands (elastic workout bands) can help you stay on task when working out, even when you’re out of town (and out of the normal routine you keep at home).
Resistance bands provide the same kind of resistance that weights do, with the ability to adjust the level of resistance (i.e., weight). Even better, resistance bands are extremely lightweight and compact, and easy to transport
But what about the rules regarding traveling with them? Are there restrictions?
Can You Travel With Resistance Bands?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and most commercial airlines allow passengers to bring resistance bands onto a plane either in their carry-on luggage, or in their checked bags.
The TSA does not specifically mention resistance bands on its website as a prohibited item, so it’s important to remember that even if an item is not specifically prohibited, the TSA officer on duty can decide to confiscate the item if he or she determines that the item is a potential security threat on board.
My rule of thumb for packing for travel is that if there’s ever a doubt, you’re probably better off packing the item in question in your checked luggage.
Should I Pack My Resistance Bands in My Checked or Carry-on Bags?
You can pack your resistance bands in your checked or carry-on bags when traveling domestically or internationally.
Keep in mind that while going through airport security, you are at the mercy of whichever security agent happens to be on duty (A personal item of mine that I’ve been traveling with for years was recently confiscated while going through security at LaGuardia airport, even though it was obviously not a security threat).
You always stay on the safe side when you pack items that the TSA might have a question about in your checked luggage.
Will I Have to Unpack My Resistance Bands When Going Through the TSA Security Checkpoint?
Most likely you will not have to take out your resistance bands while going through the security checkpoint, but if a TSA officer on duty has any questions, you might be asked to remove them so he or she can visually inspect the item in question. It is at the TSA officer’s discretion to determine whether or not your resistance bands pose a security threat. You are always better off simply packing them neatly into one of your checked bags.
Quick Tips for Workouts While Traveling With Resistance Bands
- Use the resistance band for stretching. In addition to using resistance bands for strength training, they can also be great for stretching. Use the band to stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, or shoulders.
- Experiment with different grips. Changing the way you hold the resistance band can target different muscles. For example, a neutral grip (palms facing each other) can work your biceps, while an overhand grip (palms facing down) can work your back muscles.
- Use the resistance band for core exercises. Resistance bands can be used to add resistance to exercises like crunches or Russian twists. Loop the band around your feet or hold it behind your head to add extra resistance to your core workouts.
- Mix up your workouts by using different resistance band lengths. Resistance bands come in various lengths and strengths, so experiment with different ones to target different muscle groups. For example, a shorter band may be better for bicep curls, while a longer band can be used for full-body exercises like squats and lunges.
- Use your surroundings to your advantage. Resistance bands can be anchored to almost anything, so get creative! Attach your band to a tree, fence, or doorknob to create a makeshift workout station.
What Kind of Resistance Bands Should I Be Using?
There are loop bands, tube bands, and Figure-8 bands.
Try these loop bands, which extend outward depending on your range of motion, and then they “loop” at both ends.
Then, there are these tube bands, which feature adjustable grips and handles, making them ideal for wall exercises and pull-ups.
Figure-8 bands are most effective for cross-arm exercises.
Check out this 23-piece set of travel exercise bands, featuring all three kinds of resistance bands, plus a jump rope and some other fun extras.
Can I Use Resistance Bands Every Day?
Yes, you can use resistance bands every single day, whether traveling or at home. Your resistance bands will engage your core muscles, they are usable for just about any exercise, and they are a perfect substitute for physical weights. Plus, studies have shown that regular resistance band usage not only helps build muscle, but also has a positive effect on your mobility and balance.
Use them confidently, no matter what your skill level is, anytime, anywhere.
Some Common Types of Resistance Band Exercises
One easy exercise to get your blood pumping is the “pull-apart” exercise.
- You grab onto the handles on both sides of your resistance band, and start with your arms about shoulder-width apart.
- Extend your arms a bit forward, and then “pull apart” the handles to either side of you, like you’re pushing elevator doors open from the middle. Feel the tension in your chest and arms!
- Slowly return to your starting position.
Squats are a very common, easy form of resistance-based exercise that you can do just about anywhere you can find a flat surface. They help you effectively work out your lower back, your quads, and your hamstrings.
When you add your resistance bands into the exercise, you get your muscles to work harder against the higher tension.
Let’s start with the “goblet squat.”
- Wrap your resistance band underneath your knees and pull both ends upward with the palms of your hands, palms facing the ceiling.
- Tighten your core, and slowly bend your knees to lower yourself, bringing your thighs parallel to the ground.
- Slowly ease yourself back up into your starting position.
So, Can You Travel With Resistance Bands?
With a wide range of exercises available to be completed using resistance bands – some of which we have detailed above – it seems like a no-brainer to put them in your next travel bag! Whether in a hotel room, on a long-haul flight, or even preparing for a competitive event, resistance bands are the perfect companion to help you keep fit.
Resistance bands are allowed in both carry-on and checked baggage. I recommend packing them neatly in whatever bag you decide to use.
The TSA does not explicitly mention resistance bands on its website, so note that even if an item is not specifically prohibited, the security officer on duty can decide to confiscate the item if he or she determines that it is a potential security threat on board. You’re probably better safer than sorry packing your resistance bands in one of your checked bags.
I hope this helps you stay fit while away from home! Happy travels!