Not only are resistance bands a highly versatile, portable piece of equipment, they can add an increased level of difficulty to your mat workouts. Resistance bands do not load the spine or joints with excessive weight (unlike heavyweights) and you can benefit from a manageable and supportive level of resistance to help strengthen muscle groups. In Pilates, we use both long resistance bands and looped bands.
Resistance bands can help make many mat exercises more enjoyable and effective. This is because they can be used like pulleys and springs to create more tension and support the body.
Take the Roll Down, for example. When the two ends of the band are held onto like handles, the movement becomes supported by the band. Through this, bad habits can be avoided, such as "gripping" through the front of the hips. The hips are able to more fully relax and the spine is able to flow fluidly down to the mat.
The addition of the band here allows the right muscles to engage and prevents others muscles from being over recruited. A WIN - WIN!
One Leg Circles are another exercise that can benefit from the use of the band. Placing the band around the sole of the foot and holding onto its ends, the leg is supported and can often release tension in the body. This support can allow the hip to move freely in its swirling action and fully explore the range of motion.
Below are examples of both a supported Roll Down and One Leg Circle -