Do Resistance Bands Really Work ?
Do resistance band really work is a very generic term. There are lots of questions rolling in your brain that might be behind this sentence that “ Do resistance bands really work”.
I have divided your intention behind being on our page by breaking down your doubts as under
If you are having same doubts as above and still in dilemma over buying the resistance bands. You are in right place.
If you notice the sequence of questions, we have arranged, we have started from basics to more advanced.
However, you may start guessing answers to advanced doubts much early.
Join us as we uncover the resistance bands guide in depth.
Among the fancy gym equipment and glittering fitness industry growing at the much at faster rate, the resistance bands had been ignored the most though it is being used for decades by the athletes in their professional training programs.
Getting too general. You don’t need to wait now.
Here we shall uncover all the science behind the resistance bands without getting too technical.
Here are the quick links to selective doubts for quick access
DOUBT NO. 1- How you can measure the resistance of resistance bands.
These elastic bands by virtue are traditionally names variable resistance training. Why?
The answer to your doubt at number 1 lies here.
The resistance bands are tricky when you are about to measure the resistance offered by the resistance bands. Reason behind it lies in its material i.e, rubber. The elasticity of rubber varies as you stretch the band. More the stretch more the resistance.
So when you are doing a biceps curl exercise, as your hands starts moving in the range of motion towards the shoulder, resistance of elastic band starts increasing with maximum being at the top of the motion i.e, the at closest most position towards the shoulder. That means resistance of the rubber resistance band keeps varying.
Let me explain it by an example. Suppose you are doing biceps curl with dumbbells of 10 kg. Now you are attempting biceps curl with the help of resistance band of yellow color (14mm diameter and 100 cm length without stretching).
Range of Motion (Resistance Band) –
Depicting resistance variation while doing biceps curl with resistance bands
- Now you are lifting the dumbbell towards the shoulder. Initially, as the resistance band is least stretched, the resistance is also least. Say the length at initial stage in the range of motion is 110cm with resistance of 2.8KG.
- However, when your hands are closest to the shoulder and resistance band is fully stretched. The resistance of yellow color resistance band typically gets increased to 11KG though this value is exact and may vary from brand to brand.
Here is handy table showing color wise resistance variation while stretching
Lets move to our next doubt in the list
DOUBT NO. 2 – Do resistance bands really work like weights?
I bet you already be knowing the part of the answers based on what you have already read till now. Let me explain you again who haven’t got till now. For understanding the above doubt, Let us first understand this question
How resistance bands differs from free weights?
Here is quick overview in tabulated form of key differences between resistance bands and free weights
For Free weights like barbells and dumbbells have fixed weights in Kg which remains constant throughout the range of motion. Whereas resistance bands have variable resistance which varies over the range of motion as you just read previously.
Let us take the same example of dumbbell curl of 10KG. Now, assume you are doing the dumbbell curl with dumbbell of 10KG now. As you move your hands from lowest position upwards towards the shoulders, the weight offered by dumbbells shall remain fix i.e. 10 KG throughout the range of motion.
Range of Motion (Free Weights)
Depicting the resistance variation while doing biceps curl with free weights
Now you are clear about the fundamental difference between resistance bands and free weights.
=>There is an amazing ultimate guide on Resistance Bands Vs Free Weights which explains all difference with examples and stunning visuals. Bookmark it for later reading.
See this detailed explanation by James Grage
About how resistance bands differs from free weights when it comes to building muscles
DOUBT NO. 3 – Are resistance bands really a good fit for amateur or the body builders?
To answer this, we have to go into more depth in technical aspects. However, as you already have read the fundaments in doubt no.1 and doubt no. 2, you are in very good position to understand those technical aspects. Lets start..
- Our body is not able to recognize that which kind of resistance is being used over its muscles i.e. whether it is from resistance band or the free weights as long as the resistance offered by both is same. As a result, whether the resistance is being offered by resistance tubes or free weights, it won’t affect effectiveness of workout.
- Secondly, you need to understand the mechanics of range of motion of any exercise as it is a must to understand the aspect i am going to explain now. Don’t afraid, I have kept it very simple for layman.
Let us again take the example of dumbbell curl of 10KG. Here you have understand the concept of sticking point. The whole story revolves around it.
What is Sticking Point ?
There is always a sticking point of maximum tension on muscles in each and every exercise. Your maximum power capabilities are limited by weight you can carry during sticking point stage. As a result, rest part of range of motion remains underutilized and muscles are least trained for rest part of range of motion.
Let’s move back to where we left it before the above example.
In case of free weights,
- Now let us reduce weight of 10 KG to 7KG and couple resistance band of 5KG max resistance to the dumbbell. So when you reach sticking point while doing biceps curl, your resistance might be
- However, read carefully, now at topmost position of hands near the shoulders when the resistance band is fully stretched, resistance offered to bicep muscles is
A visual explanation of sticking point –
Side by side comparison for biceps curl with free weights vs resistance bands
A video by James Grage –
Explaining the benefits of combining resistance bands along with free weights in same exercises
DOUBT NO.4 – Correlation between resistance bands and sports injuries?
Injuries are the part of the sport. Though, no one wants injuries and no one can avoid injuries. However, this difficult phase can be less stressful when we know the technique and right equipment is available to you.
We are not going to indulge into techniques which shall divert us from the intentions behind this doubt.
Let us understand first the basics behind recovery process which automatically help you correlate and answer the above doubt.
While recovering from injuries, patience is the key. That said, the progressive/incremental workout is required without stressing the injured muscle fibres. The stretching and relaxing the tight muscle fibres is often crucial to the recovery. So how does flexible resistance bands assists in recovery and famous for rehabilitation. You might have guessed it correctly.
The reason is simple. The resistance bands are a sort of free weights which can be used for any kind of movements in every plane of motion as may be required to stimulate the injured spots. Additionally, unlike free weights, resistance bands have variable resistance as discussed before and also resistance can be varied over very small steps by just altering the length of band.
To add on this, resistance bands when used correctly also allows you to do deep stretches which are otherwise not possible with free weights or the machines.
A chart showing how resistance bands aids in curing process –
Wider resistance bands used by yoga enthusiasts are common example of accomplishing deep stretching out with the help of elastic bands.
DOUBT NO. 5 – Do resistance band really work for building muscles?
Now here comes the climax with the most significant and most popular question that do resistance bands help you build muscles.
For the readers who have gone through all the above information provided here previous doubts, those buddies must have concluded before seeing this answer and won’t be feeling the need to read this final content block. But for the people who have been skipping the above content due to excitement or shortage of time,
This explanation is for them especially –
OUR ANSWER – Do resistance bands really builds muscle –
Yes, these Power Resistance Bands definitely can help you build muscles and even lets you achieve much more than what gym goers may achieve. Even heavy duty elastic bands often falls prey to their ordinary and weak looks like a poor short guy standing next to 6 feet tall round chubby bodied buddy.
They are mistaken for being only for curing pains of elderly people. Muscles never differentiate between the forces training them. Whether that’s from a free weight, cable machines or a rubber tube, it does not matter at all until you are putting your muscles under enough tension with proper strategy and technique to accompany.
FINAL WORDS – Whether do resistance bands really work?
That is the reason that more and more gyms now days are adding resistance strengthening bands as a primary arsenal in their cross training arena to produce stronger and powerful warriors like you who have shown willingness to go through this informative article.
We have tried our best to provide the information with simple words with visual explanations when and where needed.
If this information added some value to your life and fitness goal,
Share with others to spread the word and help others in making them informed decisions.
– Explore the unique variety of resistance bands at uniqueaddict for yoga, athletics, cardio and gym.
1) The references regarding the sticking point and tension variations in elastic bands have been taken from https://www.scienceforsport.com/elastic-resistance-training/.
2) References have been taken form The science of strength bands by Jim Stoppani.
Range of motion (biceps curl with resistance band image) by Jyoti Arora is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://everkinetic.com/ .