Hi, Little Pat here.

Picture the problem - I’d only just got back into the exercise habit when I was due to go away for a week’s holiday. Obviously, having just started, I didn’t want to stop, but what could I do? 

We were self-catering and there was no hotel or holiday camp facility I could use. I know of a couple of gyms in a town nearby, but I didn’t want the stress and hassle of trying to get a temporary membership, arrange sessions, etc. Plus, I normally work out at home and I wanted to continue doing that. 

Back in the summer, Fit Hire posted a blog highlighting the virtues of portable training kits. Given that you can purchase a set of resistance bands for as little as £15, such a kit seemed a very attractive option. But – the key question – could something so basic give me a decent workout? 

I use minimal equipment for my home training. My routine consists of a combination of bodyweight exercises and others using barbells and dumbbells. The bodyweight exercises weren’t a problem, as I could do them equally well on holiday. The main consideration was whether I’d be able to satisfactorily replicate the barbell and dumbbell exercises with the bands. 

You can buy resistance bands individually, but I opted for a set of 3, in ‘light’, ‘medium’ and ‘strong’ strength ratings. Think about it – you wouldn’t use the same weight for a bicep curl as you would for a bench press or lateral raise. Consequently, it’s unlikely that a single band will meet all your requirements. 

So, how did it work? I’m pleased to say it worked very well. The kit came with a handy exercise guide, and with that and a little imagination, it was easy to replicate every exercise with weights I perform at home. What’s more, the burn I felt at the end of each set indicated that the bands were working my muscles hard.

For optimum performance, you definitely need bands in different strength ratings. Remember, band resistance increases with the degree of stretch, so it’s important to select a band or grip it in such a way that the resistance can be felt throughout the range of movement. The final and most important point is to keep a close eye on band condition – you don’t want one snapping part way through an exercise! 

Latex bands will deteriorate over time. To prolong their life, store bands properly and protect them from extreme temperatures, chemicals, sweat and moisture. Fitness Mad recommends lightly dusting bands with talcum powder from time to time to keep them in optimum condition.  This also helps prevent them sticking together.

There are various types of bands available. Some come with handles or stirrups already attached. Others are circular in construction and are very thick and strong, enabling the user to perform exercises like assisted pull-ups, etc 

As for me, I was extremely pleased with my choice. My holiday training requirements were completely catered for in a package that took up less space (and cost little more) than a paperback book – brilliant!