After using kettlebells or weights in the gym for so long for your strength training, you may have forgotten about resistance bands. So, you may be wondering, do resistance bands work for strength training?
Can I get the same quality workout without using a dumbbell? That answer will vary depending on who you ask, but we think using resistance bands for strength training is extremely effective and versatile. They can be used for lots of different exercises and work out all your major muscle groups. Strength training is done mainly to improve strength, obviously, and endurance.
Although weights are commonly used for this, resistance bands are a great piece of equipment in the gym for strength training. The first resistance bands were initially used for muscle rehabilitation and were made from surgical tubing back in the early 1900s. In the ’90s, they began to appear in the fitness market and have increased in popularity ever since.
Today we are going to go over the benefits and limitations when using resistance bands for strength training. We will also discuss some easy exercises you can do with resistance bands and some of the things you should consider before purchasing one, such as the type of band or the amount of resistance. Keep reading on if you want to learn more about resistance bands.
Benefits and Limitations When Using Resistance Bands for Strength Training
There are a lot of great benefits when it comes to using resistance bands for strength training. However, it is a different piece of equipment entirely from a weight or kettlebell, so there are some limitations regarding what you can do compared to working out with weights.
Every person passionate about fitness and the gym will have their own opinion on what works best for them and their fitness goals. Let’s look at the awesome benefits that come with a resistance band exercise:
The fact that you can easily bring a resistance band anywhere to work out is very convenient.
Whenever you aren’t at home or the gym and want to get some strength training in, resistance bands will come in handy. They are super lightweight and can fold easily, so they won’t take up much space in your bag as a regular heavyweight would.
Resistance bands are also super easy to put away when you are finished working out, unlike a treadmill or larger piece of equipment.
Resistance bands are versatile and adaptable. They are great for combining exercises and creating your own unique routine and resistance band workout as you go. In addition, they are so simple to use; the possibilities are essentially endless when it comes to resistance training.
Works All the Major Muscle Groups
Another benefit of resistance bands is that they can exercise all your major muscle groups since they are so versatile. For example, when you compare a bicep curl using a dumbbell, it is a fixed weight, and you can expect what muscle group will be used.
Whereas when you workout with a resistance band, all your muscles in your arms and shoulders kick in to keep the band stable, building muscle and muscle mass.
Lastly, resistance bands are very affordable compared to other expensive weights and equipment used for building muscle. Even the high-quality ones are usually reasonably priced and can be found at just about any fitness store.
Now that we have gone over the benefits of resistance band training, let’s look at a few limitations you might run into when not using a weight or dumbbell:
May Not Be Enough of a Challenge
Some people who are used to working out with dumbbells or kettlebells might find that using a resistance band isn’t enough of a challenge for them, especially for people who are serious lifters. However, resistance bands could be incorporated into your strength training and used alongside weights and other exercise equipment for something different in the gym.
They Can Wear Down Over Time
Since resistance bands are like giant rubber bands, they do wear down and can break over long periods of use. This will take a long time, though; an elastic resistance band is meant to last. However, it is always a good idea to briefly look at your elastic resistance band to make sure it doesn’t have any cracks or rips before you start working out. If you don’t notice a tear, it could lead to quite the surprising snap during a workout and potentially cause an injury.
Can’t Do Power Lifts
Lastly, although you can use a resistance band to mimic many bodyweight exercises done in strength training, you can’t do power lift or kettlebell moves with a resistance band. If this is a deal-breaker for you, it might just be best to stick with your weights.
Types of Resistance Bands
Now let’s look at some of the different types of resistance bands. There are different types of bands and amounts of resistance, depending on your desired fitness goals. Many companies will choose to organize the resistance by color.
For example, beginners with the least amount of resistance might be yellow, intermediate is green, advanced is red, and so on. You will need to look at the brand and choose which is best for you. When selecting which band and elastic resistance is right for you, research shows you want to achieve about 20-30 reps before your muscles are fatigued.
If you can complete these reps, no problem, this means you probably need a more advanced band for heavy resistance. On the other hand, if you struggle to get to 20 reps, you likely have chosen a band with too much resistance.
The most common type of resistance band is the traditional band. They are a long, cylindrical rubber tube with plastic handles on both ends. These bands differ in thickness, which affects the resistance and difficulty level, and are great for basic exercises. There are also looped bands like traditional bands, except they don’t have handles.
Into the more specific bands is the braided resistance band, four tubes braided together for extra durability for high intense exercising. Next are flat bands, which are commonly used for physical therapy and seniors. Last is the superband, popular among athletes and used for partner exercise and assisting you during pull-ups.
Exercises with Resistance Bands
Now you know all about the different types of resistance bands and what to look for when choosing the right one for yourself. At this point, you might be wondering, what kind of exercises can I do with resistance bands?
Let’s go over a few simple ones now so you can be prepared for a solid workout anywhere, anytime.
- Chest press – You will want to wrap the resistance band around your back and hold both ends with your hands. Then start with your hands by your sides and elbows bent, push the band in front of you, and extend your arms, holding for one second and releasing. Repeat this process as many reps as you would like; we recommend using a traditional resistance band for this exercise. Check out our other workouts for more chest exercises without a traditional bench.
- Bicep curl – This next exercise is simple and works best with a traditional resistance band. Stand on top of the band with both of your feet and hold the handles with your hands. Slowly pull your arms upwards, curling your arms and biceps, and release back down. Repeat this as many times as you feel is right.
- Squat – A squat is already a straightforward exercise, and using a resistance band is a great way to enhance the exercise. Take a looped resistance band and put it around your legs, just above your ankles, and you are ready to squat.
- Lateral lunges – You will also want a looped resistance band for this next exercise, which are lateral lunges. Loop the band around your ankles and stand up straight with your hand out in front of you. Then take a large step to one side with one foot, like a sideways lunge instead of stepping backward.
- Resistance band rowing – This last exercise will require you to be near a door or some sturdy structure. Take a traditional resistance band and loop it around a tree or door. Then hold the handles and pull back towards you as if you were rowing with a paddle. Continue this for as many reps as you prefer.
Do Resistance Bands Work?
Overall, I think we have officially answered the question of do resistance bands work for strength training? Although they are not the same as using a barbell or kettlebell, you can still achieve a solid workout using resistance bands.
There are lots of different types to accommodate different exercises with various levels of resistance. Resistance bands are convenient since they are lightweight, making them perfect for traveling, and most are very affordable.