Several studies have suggested that Thera-Band® resistance is as effective as isotonic resistance (Andersen et al. 2010, Colado & Triplett 2008) with regard to muscle strengthening, power, endurance as well as its’ impact on body composition. One of the difficulties in comparing elastic and isotonic training programs is ensuring each group exercises at the same intensity level. While isotonic strengthening programs are usually dosed using a percentage of maximal strength (% repetition maximum), elastic resistance is often dosed by color progression without clinicians necessarily having a clear understanding of the resistive properties of bands and tubing. For a true comparison between groups using different types of resistance, the intensity must be similar.
In 2008, Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Juan Carlos Colado from the University of Valencia in Spain used the OMNI-RES scale to solve this disparity between 2 groups using isotonic or elastic resistance, proving that both Thera-Band elastic bands and isotonic resistance machines used at similar intensities can successfully improve strength and muscle mass in middle-aged women (Colado & Triplett 2008). This study first gave some validity to the use of the OMNI scale in prescribing elastic resistance exercise intensity.
At the TRAC 2011 meeting, Dr. Colado presented research following-up on this study with a criterion-based validation of the OMNI-RES scale using EMG activation and heart-rate. 20 subjects performed a front-raise and lateral raise with Thera-Band elastic bands. The OMNI-RES scale demonstrated the ability to discriminate between high and low intensity exercise as measured by heart rate and EMG. In addition, inter-session reliability was high, suggesting the OMNI-RES scale can be used to control intensity during elastic resistance training sessions, as well as between sessions.
These findings confirm the validity and reliability of using perceived exertion in prescribing exercise intensity in healthy subjects using Thera-Band resistance bands for upper body exercise.
Read the abstract of his study here: Concurrent Validation of the OMNI-Resistance Exercise Scale of Perceived Exertion with Thera-Band Resistance bands