Do Resistance Bands Really Work – Detailed Visual Guide In depth

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

All confusions behind resistance bands summed up inside the table

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

INDEX

1. How can you measure the resistance of resistance bands ?
2. Do resistance bands really work like weights?
3. Are resistances bands really a good fit for amateur or body builders?
4. Correlation between resistance bands and sports injuries?
5. Can resistance bands help you build muscles?

At the end of this guide, you shall be able to understand the following doubts that might be popping up in your mind.

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.

EXAMPLE  –

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

Variable resistance offered by the resistance band during biceps curl exercise

[ This work “range of motion”, is a derivative of an exercise of biceps by Everkinetic, used under Creative Commons CC By. “range of motion” is licensed under CC BY by unique addict.]

  • 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.

CONCLUSION –

The Resistance bands don’t have exact resistance as the dumbbells but a range of resistance from MIN to MAX. As such, resistance bands are defined by the thickness of band in mm. Further, these elastic bands are color coded for easy understanding.

Here is handy table showing color wise resistance variation while stretching

A handy table showing the different color coded resistance bands in tabulated form

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.

 EXAMPLE –

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.

CONCLUSION –

The resistance bands do behave like free weights in some ways. The main difference lies in the method which is used for producing resistance in elastic bands. The elasticity and non dependency upon the gravity opens the door for numerous applications which are otherwise not possible solely with 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

Now Let us quickly move on to our next doubt

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.

EXAMPLE – 

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 ?

During the range of motion of hands, there is a stage/point when you feel maximum stress on muscles. If you are able to surpass that point, rest part of the range of motion is completed very easily. This particular point is called 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
 [ 7KG (free weight) +1KG (resistance band as its stretched a bit) = 8KG ]
So instead of 10KG resistance at sticking point initially in case of biceps curl with free weight of 10Kg, now you have resistance of 8KG which you can easily surpass (if 10KG was a max weight you could carry).
  • 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
[ 7KG (free weight) +5KG (resistance band as its stretched the most) = 12KG ]
So here, your muscles are getting tuned to weight above 10 KG in the rest of portion of range of motion which was otherwise limited to 10KG due to limitations of sticking point.

A visual explanation of sticking point –

Side by side comparison for biceps curl with free weights vs resistance bands

CONCLUSION –

The fact I explained above is the reason that coaches makes use of resistance bands in combination with dumbbell and barbells to increase the maximum power and performance of pro athletes for decades. Further, resistance bands have unique ability to work in multiple planes making it possible to add further resistance to their sports original physical movements.

So it is clear that resistance cannot be ignored if you are a newbie or a professional body builder.

A video by James Grage –

Explaining the benefits of combining resistance bands along with free weights in same exercises

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyjaVjpyAQM&feature=emb_err_woyt

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.

CONCLUSION – 

 As above, the resistance stretch bands being soft and highly flexible in terms of shape and resistance lets the recovering athletes does the numerous variations of same exercises which are no longer possible due injured muscle tissues. As such, resistance bands have been used for almost century for recovery and first aid for painful injuries.

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.

CONCLUSION –

For the amateur bodybuilders or athletes in the making, combining the machines, free weights and resistance bands may complement each other and overcome the limitations which may seem too mild for hobbyists but may make huge difference for pro athletes to make or break their career.

FINAL WORDS – Whether do resistance bands really work?

Resistance training bands can’t easily be ignored even if you can afford expensive gym memberships. These elastic bands can certainly make a valuable addition which can never be achieved with traditional machines and weight training. 

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.

THANKS

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.

References

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/ .

Leave a Comment