Resistive materials in the form of elastic bands and tubing are inexpensive and highly versatile tools that are often used in therapeutic exercise programs. Companies that manufacture elastic bands and tubing provide a line of products that cover a wide range of resistance levels, which are typically distinguished by color. Theoretically, the spectrum of resistance levels makes it possible for rehabilitation personnel to give a patient the band or tubing that best corresponds to the suitable degree of exercise resistance for that patient. Unlike a set of clearly labeled hand-held weights, however, elastic bands and tubing provide no quantitative information on their actual or relative resistance. Therefore, the selection and progression of resistance levels when elastic bands or tubing are used is relatively subjective and often is dependent upon the perceived effort of the patient. To our knowledge, only 2 of the several manufacturers of elastic bands and tubing used in rehabilitation (The Hygenic Corporation, Akron, OH, and Lifeline International, Inc, Madison, WI), provide users with information (limited) on the physical characteristics of their elastic material. The goals of our report were to establish the stress-strain relationship of representative samples of elastic bands and tubing used in the clinical setting, establish the fatigue characteristics of representative samples of elastic bands and tubing, and increase the awareness of rehabilitation professionals of the kinesiological concepts of resistive exercises, especially as they relate to the use of elastic-type resistive material.
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2001;31(1):16-24.
Key Words: elastic band, elastic tubing, resistance