Even when you have fibromyalgia, it is absolutely important, as much as you possibly can, to ensure you continually strengthen your muscles so that you do not lose muscle tissue. Muscle tissue loss is what inevitably happens to everyone who doesn’t keep themselves dedicated to some sort of resistance training program to prevent this.
Fibromyalgia is often characterized by muscle fatigue and pain. The loss of muscle tissue will worsen both of these. However, there are gentle resistance exercises you can do for fibromyalgia to help maintain muscle health. Strenuous activity can worsen fibro, but a gentle exercise routine may better it.
To me the best tool for resistance training with fibromyalgia is an exercise band, also known as a theraband. You can get a set of these on Amazon for cheap, and they come in different strengths so that way you can progress your exercise routine. Some sources also tout dumbbells because of the full range of motion they offer. Of course, dumbbells can add stress to the joints, so, in my opinion, it’s best to start off with exercise bands before progressing to dumbbells.
When I first went through physical therapy with my fibromyalgia, I was given resistance bands to use. They were a very gentle way of helping me develop necessary upper body strength, and they never left me sore or flared. What they did was noticeably improve my posture and pain levels. They also gave me a foundation for being able to tolerate more strenuous upper-body exercises, like push-ups.
I love exercise bands as a part of a therapeutic program. They’re versatile, and you can take them with you wherever. They’re especially useful to those who work sedentary jobs, as you can take them with you to those jobs and use them whenever you can.
Here are some resistance exercises you can do with an exercise band:
- Hold the band in front of you, about shoulder height. Simply tug on one side of the resistance band for 3 sets of 12, and then switch so that you’re tugging on the opposite side. You can even tug on both ends at the same time.
- Hook the band around a pole or some pole-like structure. Hold the two sides of the band at shoulder height with your arms full lengthened and simply pull them straight toward you until your elbows are at your side in a 90 degree angle. You can even tie the band around a pole-like structure and work on one arm at a time. Perform 3 sets of 12.
- You can even do bicep curls with resistance bands, but make sure you get the ones with the handles. You’re going to stop on the center of your band, putting it right beneath your arches. You’re going to grab both sides of the band with both arms, first making sure your palms are facing out before grabbing the band. In a slow, controlled motion, you’re going to bring your arms to your shoulders, bending at the elbow. You’re then going to slowly lower and repeat. Perform 3 sets of 12.
- Using a resistance band with handles, you can perform 3 sets of 12 shoulders raises. As with the bicep curls, step on the resistance band. With palms facing down, you’re going to curl your fingers around the handles. You’re going to then pull the handles straight up in front of you until your arms are in line with your shoulders. You can also perform these to the side, doing the same exact motion.
- Doing 3 sets of 12 for triceps extensions, you’re going to step on the resistance band again, but this time the handles will be behind you, and your palms will be facing each other as you grab the handles. With your elbows by your ears bent at roughly a 45 degree angle, you’re going to pull upward on the handles until your arms are fully extended at a soft lockout to your elbows. You’re then going to gently lower.
There are many, many more exercises you can look up on Google, but these ones help to exercise the major muscles of your upper body. You can even do full-body resistance training exercises with exercise bands.
*Picture from Global Media Fitness Shoot by Rance Costa.