The reason you are reading this article about the benefits of resistance bands is most probably your reservations and anxiety due to fragile looks of comparatively much weaker guy standing in front of almighty dumbbells and other gym equipment.
I am telling this not to discourage you from using resistance bands. In today’s world, you can’t judge the strength and efficiency of any gadget by analyzing its appearance, Right!
Let me directly bring to the climax in advance as it shall keep you motivated enough to go through this detailed article which also provides worthy insights on the use of the resistance bands.
These fitness-oriented elastic bands have way more benefits than you may ever think. These bands are the tough competitor to free weights and bulky looking fancy machines.
It is not my personal opinion but various studies and researches around the resistance bands have proven it over time.
For your ease, I have divided the benefits into three broad categories
- Benefits based on technical aspects – If you are the one who wants to understand the in-depth technical know-how of certain benefits in term of the form of exercise, range of motion, stabilization, you can stick with these aspects. The beginners also have a lot to learn for improving their game.
- Benefits based on usability aspects – The benefits in terms of versatility of resistance bands in different fields of fitness have been covered here
- Benefits based on commercial aspects – These benefits of workout bands are with regard to its costing, transportation and practicality.
Here is the index showing the list of benefits (categorized as above) you are going to learn, placed intelligently from highest importance to lowest. Jump from here directly to the section you personally finds most relevant…
|BENEFITS BASED ON TECHNICAL ASPECTS|
|1. Assists you in exercises you couldn’t perform|
|2. More Range of motion|
|3. Promotes better form|
|4. Increases focus on muscles|
|5.Engages core and stabilization muscles|
|6. Exercises in multiple planes of movements|
|7.As effective as dumbbells|
|8.Trains all muscles groups|
|9.Infinite variations of exercises possible|
|10.Good for bulking up muscles|
|11. Easy on joints|
|BENEFITS BASED ON USABILITY ASPECTS|
|12.Best for rehabilitation from injuries|
|13.Fit for all levels of fitness|
|14.Suitable for all age groups|
|15. Best suited for yoga, pilates, stretching|
|16. Doubles up the benefits when coupled with dumbbells and barbells|
|17.Helps build endurance|
|BENEFITS BASED ON COMMERCIAL ASPECTS|
|19.Carry anywhere while traveling|
|20.Occupies negligible space|
|21.Exercise with or without a partner|
|22. My opinion…|
BENEFITS BASED ON TECHNICAL ASPECTS
1. Assists you in exercises you couldn’t perform
Resistance bands are the most versatile and flexible piece of equipment when it comes to exercises. These soft rubber bands can easily adapt to any exercise you intends to perform and assists you in doing those exercises even though you couldn’t imagine earlier.
FOR EXAMPLE – Take any example from bodyweight exercises such as pull up, chin-ups, plank, handstand and several other similar exercises including calisthenics, the elastic bands can easily fit in the range of motion of any of the above exercise and assists you by decreasing the bodyweight by acting against the gravity.
In case of pull up with power loop resistance band of 4 feet length, just tie the one end of the power loop strength band to the horizontal bar and place your feet inside the loop on the other end.
Now as the length of the power loop resistance band is lower than your height, while doing a pull-up, bodyweight acts downwards due to gravity against the resistance of the elastic rubber band.
Here is the picture – how power loop resistance bands assist in doing a pull up exercise
The band, as a result, tries to lift your body towards the horizontal bar and assisting in this process.
2. MORE RANGE OF MOTION –
For buddies who are not familiar with the range of motion, it means the range of movement of targetted muscles during the motion from the initial stage to the final stage where the cycle begins again.
That said when you are doing exercises such as chest press, chest fly, biceps curl etc with guided machines often found in gyms. One advantage with these machines is that they guide the beginners to maintain the proper form by providing the defined range of motion.
But every coin has an opposite side. So you get a restricted range of motion.
With resistance strength bands, you are the creator of your exercises and amount of range of motion you want to expose your muscles to is entirely up to you. More you own a thing, more flexible you get… Right Isn’t it!
Here is the picture – showing the range of motion in biceps curl with resistance bands
3. PROMOTES BETTER FORM –
That’s big the advantage with elastic rubber bands. I shall explain you this concept in simplest words.
Take an example of biceps curl with dumbbells. While doing this particular exercise, people often shake their back though unknowingly but that helps you lift more weight though you are not capable off.
You need to understand the reason behind this in-depth to help you in understanding the same in the perspective of resistance bands.
The resistance offered by dumbbells always works by virtue of gravity in a downward direction only as shown in the pic below.
Here is the picture – showing chest press with resistance bands and improvement of form
The strong back muscles, when shaken while doing a biceps curl, helps to accelerate the weight of dumbbells and due to inertia of movement, you feel lesser tension. In this way, you are not getting enough tension from dumbbells by cheating the form.
In the case of resistance bands, they have the negligible weight of their own. So irrelevant of how much you try to cheat with the biceps curl, the tension on muscles won’t reduce thereby promoting better form.
4. INCREASES YOUR FOCUS ON MUSCLES –
As I explained to you earlier, more we own a thing, more freedom we get and more involved we are in the activity. Similar stands true for the exercise bands.
We are ourself responsible to learn the technique, decide the anchor point, plane of movement, color of the band, range of motion of exercise and execute the same.
Unlike heavy machines which assists you with exercises, with exercising bands, you have to fully focus on the muscles you are toning and adjust the form accordingly until you get the best results.
From my own experience, i can firmly say that until your brain is mentally involved actively in maintaining the form and engaging the targeting muscles, you can’t reap in all the benefits.
The moment, you switch OFF television while eating, you start feeling the taste of food and avoid over-eating. Similarly, the moment you completely own an exercise with bands, you start focussing on contracting muscles on autopilot.
5. ENGAGES CORE AND STABILIZATION MUSCLES –
There is a reason to include this point high up in the ladder. For Newbies, the core muscles actually mean the combination of muscles from the spine, abdomen, butt which needs to work in harmony to maintain balance and stability during any exercises to improve effectiveness & prevent injuries.
The biggest issue with the machine-assisted exercises is the lack of engagement of core muscles as you are getting the comfort from the back support and foot support of the machine.
6. EXERCISES IN MULTIPLE PLANES OF MOVEMENT –
With Dumbells, due to gravity of weights acting in a downward direction only, you can do chest press, triceps, biceps, back, legs exercises in the vertical plane of movement only. For example, you can’t perform chest press while standing or biceps curl while laying down on a bench.
The resistance band instead provides resistance by stretching along the length of the band. The plane of resistance offered depends upon where you have anchored the one end of band.
Here is the picture – showing biceps curl in multiple planes of movement with strength bands…
So, the same exercises can be performed in numerous planes of motion and bring you out of those boring repetitive exercises.
7. RESISTANCE BANDS ARE AS EFFECTIVE AS DUMBBELLS –
Lots of studies have been conducted in recent time to study the effectiveness of resistance bands when used in place of dumbbells for the strengthening of certain muscle groups and rehabilitation.
All studies have found one thing common which is resistance bands are equally capable of building muscle mass when used alone by completely replacing dumbbells.
In fact, resistance bands follow the strength curve of muscles during the range of motion much better than the dumbbells and help you improve the maximum strength.
Here is the picture – Showing the follow up of strength curve by the resistance curve of resistance bands.
If some of the terms such as strength curve and maximum strength are going over your head, you are right. If i were to explain how resistance bands technically perform against dumbbells in details along with the above jargons, then that would take one completely separate chapter to cover.
But luckily, i have already covered this aspect in complete detail. Here is the link “Do resistance bands really work?” Bookmark it for reading later.
8. TRAINS ALL MUSCLE GROUPS –
These weak-looking gym bands have much more to them than you ever think. These bands workouts are so versatile that you can train literally all body parts of your body. Whether it is your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves of lower body or biceps, triceps, deltoid, shoulder blades, abs, all gets covered with these bands.
Here is the picture – showing resisbance bands being used for all body parts…
All you need is to select the right kind of resistance bands with the appropriate color.
For Example – For strengthening leg muscles especially quads and hamstrings, Tube resistance bands, Power loop bands and jump training bands work best. For lateral muscles such as inner and outer thigh muscles, mini loop resistance bands work best. For the upper body, tube resistance bands, power loop bands, fit tube bands are the way to go.
If you are the one who has now got confused over reading the types of bands i just referred above.
Then here is ready to read ultimate guide i have made “How to choose a resistance band?” where all designs of bands, color codes and matching of strength bands with your fitness goals have been covered.
9. INFINITE VARIATIONS OF EXERCISES POSSIBLE –
After whatever you have read to this point, you must be able to understand this point quite easily. With dumbbells, cable machines and other gym equipment, still there are lots of exercises you can’t perform. The reason is simple. Resistance bands can provide resistance in multiple planes.
If you tie door attachment which comes with clip type resistance bands to the bottom of the door, you can do horizontal rowing, biceps curl, triceps curl, shoulder press, squats, deadlifts, shoulder raise.
If you shift the door attachment to the middle of the door or to the top of door, the whole new range of exercises is possible.
Here is the picture – showing endless variations of exercises with bands.
With power loop bands, you can couple them with a barbell for deadlifts, squats, chest press and even learn calisthenics.
With bungee style resistance bands, lots of dynamic exercises to make sports-specific movements is possible for a pro athlete.
So don’t make a mistake to underestimate the power of these fragile-looking rubber bands.
10. GOOD FOR BULKING UP MUSCLES –
Your body doesn’t know who is applying force on your muscles. Whether it is resistance bands or the free weights, it doesn’t matter until force applied and amount of time your muscles remain under tension remains the same.
So definitely you can build up muscles alone using resistance bands.
Here is the video from James Grage who is known for his passion for bands and learn the importance of resistance bands.
Resistance bands are capable of providing resistance up to 200lbs. Google the resistance bands exercises and there are never-ending resources to learn those exercises. Just follow those exercises with the right technique, disciple and recommended diet plan as you do with typical gym equipment.
To mimic dumbbell exercises, you can go for clip type resistance bands kit with accessories such as handles, ankle cuff, door attachment. So, the resistance bands are the way to go. Cheers!
11. EASY ON JOINTS –
Joints are the bread and butter of our skeleton system. The moment any damage occurs to joints, all activities come to standstill. If you are suffering from recurring knee, elbow & shoulder pain, these therapy bands can help you prevent from reoccurring.
The best way to prevent joint pain again is to avoid doing joint bearing exercises such as squats, running downhill or on a flat surface, jumping for people with a knee injury in history.
Strengthen your muscles first and then start doing heavy exercises after you have gained confidence. Therapy style flat and wide bands can help you do deep stretching of joint supporting muscles and toning of those tiny muscles fibers.
Here is a picture – showing deep stretching with therapy bands…
Further, you have numerous variations of same exercises possible with bands. So play with those variations involving least stress on joints and progress slowly towards harder ones.
BENEFITS BASED ON USABILITY ASPECTS
12. BEST FOR REHABILITATION FROM INJURIES –
This is my favorite topic and I was personally involved with knee injuries for many years and learned to deal with it over time.
Basic golden strategy for rehabilitation is to take a tortoise approach. Move slowly and plan your complete schedule for the next two to three months in advance.
For knee injuries which are most common (being most affected joint of all joints), initially, do only those exercises which are easy on knees.
Do legs stretching, leg extension, legs curl with tube resistance bands having ankle attachment. Do inner and outer thigh strengthening using flat mini loop bands. Also, perform side leg raise using mini loop bands. Give ample time for joint muscles to strengthen.
As above, these flexible resistance bands are here to help you rehabilitate on every step from start to finish line.
13. FIT FOR ALL LEVELS OF FITNESS –
Whether you are a beginner or a seasonal athlete or an advanced bodybuilder, these strength bands can be repurposed for all. There are a variety of resistance bands designs in the market.
The therapy style flat and wide resistance bands with open ends are good for toning muscles for beginners. Flat mini resistance bands along with fit tube resistance bands with fixed handles and also the figure-eight resistance bands are good for beginners. Similarly power loop resistance bands, tube resistance bands kit and bungee style bands are best suited for advanced level of fitness.
Further, each of the above-mentioned resistance bands discussed comes in different color codes such as yellow, blue, green, red and black with increasing resistance from yellow towards black color to suit varying needs of fitness.
Here is the picture – displaying the different colored mini loop bands with matching fitness levels…
14. SUITABLE FOR ALL AGE GROUPS –
Originally elastic bands were invented for rehabilitation purposes by the physiotherapists and practitioners.
Later on, these stretch bands started making their place in mainstream especially for young athletes and budding bodybuilders after more recent researches established their role as a piece of primary fitness equipment.
If the results of those studies were not much better than those of dumbbells and other gym equipment, it wasn’t less either.
From above, a safe conclusion may be drawn that these thin & soft counterparts which initially served the elders, now are becoming extremely popular with middle and young age groups.
15. BEST SUITED FOR YOGA, PILATES, STRETCHING –
Needless to say, the resistance band gained their initial popularity on the basis of prime role in yoga, pilates, isometrics and stretching.
These fitness bands especially simple flat wide rubber sheets without handles are specifically meant for stretching and flexibility exercises
With extra-wide grip, these bands when wrapped around feet, waist or knees, equally distributes the tension over a larger area without irritating the skin.
So, if you are the one passionate about flexibility and toning of muscles, give therapy style resistance bands a sure shot.
BENEFITS BASED ON COMMERCIAL ASPECTS
16. DOUBLES UP THE BENEFITS WHEN COUPLED WITH DUMBBELLS AND BARBELLS –
The resistance bands have some unique benefits which can’t be achieved by using only barbells or dumbbells. However, when the same resistance bands are coupled with the dumbbells or the barbells, you can definitely reap in benefits from both making it an explosive combination.
You may be surprised about how dumbbells/barbells complement resistance bands. There are some technical insights to look into before you can understand the benefits of combining them both.
If i start explaining here, this article shall become way too lengthy. To read more about the science behind this, visit here and scroll to the section – Doubt NO. 3 – Are resistance bands really a good fit for amateur or the bodybuilders?
Here is the video by James Grage– explaining and demonstrating the benefits of combining resistance bands with dumbbells
showing some exercises performed by coupling resistance exercise bands with barbells and dumbbells
The pro athletes mostly make use of this technique to increase maximum strength and join those weak threads left out during their preparations.
17. HELP BUILD ENDURANCE –
Resistance bands can really spice up your existing cross-training by adding resistance to your cardio exercises. The elastic bands by their nature of material and design easily adapt to your existing cardio workouts.
For example – you can add mini loop resistance bands to your side by side squats, squats thrusters, glute bridges, leg raise etc…
The Runners can use jump training bands tied between the ankles and waist for intensifying the jumping routine or use bungee style bands for push and pull exercises.
Just explore the possibilities and burn your fat like a pro…
18. CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE –
As you might have read till here, you will agree that the resistance bands are the truly versatile, progressive and tough competitors to the masculine counterparts such as dumbbells and big machines.
These rubbers bands still cost a penny when compared with premium gym memberships, bulky machines and dumbbells. Those who can’t afford the gym or people who find it hard to match gym timings, these fitness bands are the perfect companion.
Typically, resistance bands such as therapy style, mini loop bands, figure-eight bands costs up to 14USD max and power loop bands, tube resistance bands & bungee style resistance bands costs maximum up to 40 USD. Fairly cheap, Yeah!
19. CARRY RESISTANCE BANDS ANYWHERE WHILE TRAVELLING –
Excuses are the biggest enemies to your goals in life. When even those excuses are put to rest, you can definitely turbocharge your success. We often excuse ourself from workout due to vague reasons like unfavorable weather, traveling outstation, the gym closed etc.
Do you agree!
However, if you have versatile bands right in your home, workspace or in your travel bag, it’s really hard to cheat yourself.
Make a difference with these worthy and highly portable resistance bands of few grams and carry YOUR GYM ON WHEELS with you and never miss your workout.
20. OCCUPIES NEGLIGIBLE SPACE –
I don’t need to explain this benefit in detail as you can well imagine how practical these extremely light and compact rubber elastic bands can be, considering the space they occupy.
It’s the perfect recipe for the home gym. A small room of 5 foot by 5 foot may be enough or you may even keep them in your living room or bedroom in empty corners if you are living in rented accommodation.
For frequent travelers or those traveling for official assignments, these fitness bands are the way to go…
21. EXERCISE WITH OR WITHOUT PARTNER –
Finding the perfect partner in the gym for doing heavy exercises is often a pain. If heavy dumbbells lifted incorrectly may injure you badly. As a result, you need the presence of a spot boy or a buddy to assist you with the form and performing the last few repetitions.
However, in case of strength bands, no matter how much is the value of resistance they are offering, you won’t get hurt to the extent as normally happens with free weights.
Here is the picture – showing the resistance bands exercises with or without partner
You can easily perform exercises without partners by anchoring the one end of the resistance band to the door or some hook/pole.
22. MY OPINION-
It is truly amazing to see your passion for fitness considering the effort and time you put in reading this article. Without much ado, here is my opinion regarding resistance bands as a key element in your fitness regime…
Feel free to comment below for any doubts and share your views. We shall be obliged.
Share with others and spread the word….