resistance bands muscle

Can You Build Muscle With Resistance Bands?

Resistance bands are back by popular demand. 

In fact, the Journal of Physical Therapy Science suggests that the regular use of these bands for training can improve your mobility, balance, gait function among other things.

In this article, we get to see if you can build muscle with resistance bands and just how effective this method is.

Again, back to our main question, can you build muscle with resistance bands? 

The answer is yes. It should, however, be noted that you need to know the what and the how-to so as to be able to execute the use of this tool effectively and efficiently.

So, do you want to know the formula for gaining muscles with only resistance bands? Read on.

Everything You Need To Know About Building Muscle

How do we build muscles?

Your body has several different types of muscles but for this article, our main focus is skeletal muscles. 

These are muscles made up of myofibrils and sarcomeres that form your fiber. There are 650 skeletal muscles in your body.

So how do they grow? 

Well, when you work out, your body repairs or if need be, replace the damaged muscle fiber by fusing these fibers together to form new protein strands or as we had mentioned earlier, myofibrils. 

These strands increase in thickness and this is what we refer to as muscle growth.

Muscle growth only takes place when your rate of muscle protein synthesis is higher than the rate of your muscle protein breakdown. 

You should also know that this process does not occur when you are lifting weights but when you are at rest.

exercise resistance bands

What does the body need to build muscle?

Your body will not achieve muscle growth automatically. There are three mechanisms involved. 

These three mechanisms can also not take place efficiently without applying stress to the muscles.

It is this stress and disruption of homeostasis that puts the three mechanisms in motion. These mechanisms are:

Muscle tension

Muscle tension is a mechanism achieved by applying loads of greater stress than what your body is used to. That is why most people lift heavier weights progressively. 

The changes will stimulate muscle growth factors.

Muscle damage

Most people feel sore after a great exercise especially if it was their first time. This soreness is a sign of damage. 

Your immune system and inflammatory molecules will jump into action to repair everything. This means you are building muscle.

Metabolic stress

Metabolic stress causes your muscles to grow even without an increase in size. This is because it causes cells around the muscle to swell. 

Now you know why some bodybuilders who guard entry points are big in size but low in strength.

Now let’s look at another factor when it comes to muscle growth and that is hormones. Hormones have a major role to play when it comes to growth and repair. 

When we talk about hormones and muscles, most people’s minds think about testosterone and they are very right in doing so.

You see, testosterone inhibits protein breakdown while increasing protein synthesis. 

Remember we initially mentioned that your muscles cannot grow if there is more protein breakdown than synthesis.

Most of your testosterone is just lying around in your body and the best way to activate it is by working out and to be specific, strength training.

The final thing needed by your muscles in order to grow is rest. Again, we mentioned that the muscle repairing process cannot take place unless you are in a state of rest. 

You need to give your body proper food and rest. Your muscles will respond in the next 48 hours. 

It is also important to note that your muscles have their limits depending on your age, gender, and genetics. 

It is therefore quite obvious that men will have more muscle growth than women but the opposite can also be true especially where genetics come into play. 

That is why you should never take steroids. Your body has a mechanism uniquely designed for you.

So, Can You Build Muscles With Resistance Bands?

Yes, you can build muscles with resistance bands and here is why. 

Muscles become bigger when they are overloaded and when this happens; there are tears in the muscle fiber where new muscle tissue grows. 

You can overload your muscles by lifting your own bodyweight through the use of resistance bands.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, resistance tubing is still as effective as a weight machine when it comes to activating quadriceps. 

Other studies have also shown that bands restrict blood flow and as a result, activate muscles causing muscle growth to occur.

building muscles with resistance bands

How to use resistance bands to bulk up? 

Resistance bands can help you build your muscle and strength to a certain extent but they are also the best when starting out on your fitness journey.

Different resistance bands come with different levels of tension which allows you to progressively increase tension amounts. 

Always start with a band designed for beginners. Once your muscles adapt, you can shift to the next level of tension. 

The higher you move up to a band with more tension, the greater the muscle overload achieved and the greater the muscle growth.

The goal is to develop muscle fatigue by the end of each set which is normally 10 reps. 

If you do not feel fatigued by the end of a set then that is a cue that you should move up to a band with more constant tension.

Muscle Building Exercises Using Resistance Bands

With using resistance bands, you do not need an expensive gym membership. You can work out from home and get those muscles growing. 

There are a number of resistance bands exercises that are absolutely great for you. Just ensure that you do all the sets and reps of each training before moving to the next step.

Before buying a resistance band, ensure that you know its range. Constant tension is a must if you want to work out as though you were using free weights.

1. Band resisted squats

banded squats

This exercise has 3 sets, 8 reps and you need to rest for 60 seconds.

Directions

  • Ensure your feet and shoulder are a width apart
  • Place the band under your heels then pull the loop over your head
  • Ensure the loop rests across your shoulder back and upper back
  • With your hands at shoulder level, grab the band and stretch it up a few inches
  • Do this while performing squats
  • Push your hips back, bend your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Press your feet into the floor then push back to the starting position. You will have completed one rep

2. Banded Push Ups

banded push ups

This exercise requires 3 sets, 8 reps and 60 seconds of rest.

Directions

  • With your thumbs hooked through the resistance band, loop the band behind your back
  • With your hands on the floor, assume a plank position.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you brace your abs and lower your body to the point that your chest is almost touching the floor
  • Pause at the bottom
  • Push yourself to the starting position

3. Banded seated row

banded row

This training demands 4 sets, 12 reps and 60 seconds of rest.

Directions

  • Wrap your band under your feet
  • Now sit back on your bottom while grasping the end of each side of your band
  • Extend your arms forward then pull the band back as far as you can toward your belly
  • Hold and squeeze your shoulder blades together then release back to arms fully extended

Best Resistance Bands for Muscle Building

Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands with Instruction Guide ...1. Fit Simplify loop bands set

These are bands that are made from the highest quality of rubber which is latex. You can, therefore, be certain that your band won’t break easily. 

Because of their strength, the Fit Simplify bands can really stretch which means that your muscles will definitely get their overload with time. 

These bands do not contain non-natural materials and so they are gentle on your skin no matter how much you sweat. 

Using resistance bands with range is great just like using free weights.

Key features

  • High-end exercise bands
  • Superior quality
  • Great for multiple uses
  • Made from latex
  • Affordable
  • Can be rolled up easily
  • Five bands with varying resistance
  • Claims that the band rips quickly
  • Not good for upper body exercise
  • Tends to roll down your legs

Black Mountain Products Loop Resistance Exercise Bands Set of 5 ...2. Black Mountain

Black mountain resistance bands are a quality fitness product. These bands bring a gym quality to the comfort of your home and at an affordable price. 

They are made from a material that is a blend of synthetic and na

tural rubber which makes it even more durable. 

The bands have handles to ensure that you have a firm grip when working out.

These bands also offer endless exercises potential especially if you are targeting biceps, triceps, lower/upper back, chest, abs/core, and legs.

Key features

  • 5 piece resistance band made of high-quality synthetic rubber
  • Has handles for firm gripping
  • Comes with a portable bag, a door anchor and starter guide
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Complains of missing ankle strap that makes it impossible to do some exercises

Amazon.com : Arena Strength Fabric Booty Bands: Fabric Resistance ...3. Arena Strength Fabric Booty bands

Now one of the muscles that everyone is crazy about is the booty muscle and these bands are suitable for just that kind of exercise. 

These bands are made out of fabric meaning that they will never break or roll. They consist of three resistance levels namely, light, medium and hard. 

According to the manufacturer’s official website, the Arena Strength Fabric booty bands offer 400% more glute than your regular rubber band. 

Plus they promise you some sort of change within 30 days. Hopefully do not rule out the genetic factor. 

So if you may want to have firm booty muscles, here is the expressway to do so.

Key features

  • Three bands with varying resistance: Easy, Medium and Hard
  • Zip carry case
  • Printed guide
  • No rolling
  • Great resistance levels
  • 12 month warranty
  • Complaints of strange sweaty smell

Amazon.com : Gaiam Restore 3-in-1 Resistance Band Kit | Exercise ...4. Gaiam Restore 3 in 1 Resistance Band Kit

These are three interchangeable resistance cords that offer you three resistance levels namely Light, Medium and Heavy. 

It consists of grip handles that offer firm gripping when working out.

Key features

  • 3 in 1 resistance bands
  • Grip handles
  • Downloadable exercise guide
  • Gaiam restore program
  • A band that is ideal for upper body workouts
  • Great for traditional resistance workouts
  • None that we saw

Amazon.com : XPRT Fitness Pull Up Resistance Bands Mobility ...5. XPRT Fitness Assisted Pull-Up Band

The XPRT Fitness Assisted Pull-Up Band is your go-to strength training when you want something close to gym action. 

This is an innovative product that will improve your fitness journey by making your workouts intense and enjoyable. 

You will experience this in all your challenges such as muscle-ups and chin-ups. The aim is to help you sculpt your body faster.

Key features

  • Pull up assist bands
  • Made of 100% natural latex
  • Available in 4 colors
  • Anti-snap design
  • Different intensity levels
  • Easy to use
  • Premium quality
  • This is a quality product, high in demand and so far, nobody seems to mention its limitations.

Bottomline

resistance bands for muscles

Well, we have clearly seen that great workouts don’t just start with a heavy machine at the gym. 

It can be as simple as buying a resistance band. All you need is to start small and grow.

The best resistance band for us has to be the Black Mountain. This is a band made of superior material and gives the user a firm grip thanks to its handles. 

The manufacturer is one of a kind. And well, as for the missing ankle straps, that has to be an issue with the distributor. 

The 5 piece kind of action in a bag ensured that we could not resist band exercises.

Well, if you like this article and would like to learn more, check out our other dumbbell reviews and dumbbell exercises.

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Article by:

Daniel DeMoss

I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.