Tyler has had over 20 years of experience in sports and physical exercise. He utilizes scientific methods such as progressive overload and macro calculations, as well as mental techniques like mind muscle connection in his training. He shares his teachings as senior coach at Total Shape. Read more more about us here
When it comes to training with resistance bands vs free weights, there always seem to be some misunderstandings.
I’ve encountered bodybuilders who believe resistance bands are their enemy for building muscle. And people who just want to gain some fitness often believe that free weights are totally unnecessary for their fitness exercises.
As you’ll find out shortly, both of these groups are often wrong with regards to resistance bands vs traditional free weights usage.
What Are Resistance Bands?
Resistance bands or band weights are a set of elastic rubber bands with grips at each end.
The bands come in different colors, lengths, and sizes, with the combination of these three attributes defining their strength of the resistance bands when pulled.
This could take quite a lot of free weights to achieve. One reason bodybuilders don’t tend to exercise with resistance bands as much is that they provide
Thus, comparing resistance bands vs free weights, resistance bands aren't able to provide maximum resistance throughout the body's range of motion.
What Are FREE WEIGHTS?
Free weights are defined as any training load that is not connected to other gym apparatus. An example of a commonly used free weight is a dumbbell.
The top reason free weights are such a popular exercise tool is that they put a full strain on your muscles from the moment you start the movement.
Advantages Of Using Resistance Bands
1 - Gradual Tension Increase
You’ll often find weight bands used in rehabilitation training. The reason for this is that with many injuries, you may want to have a gradual increase in tension, which can be effectively provided by resistance bands .
Through this kind of weights resistance training, the body has better control over the amount of strain produced on muscles and joints.
For resistance and strength training in the gym, they can also be ideal for isometric exercise routines .
2 - Portability And Storage
The majority of resistance bands come in a small pouch as the bands may be easily rolled up. Even a set of 6 resistance bands could be smaller than a handbag, which makes them much easier to store or bring with you when you travel. This way you can exercise your muscles wherever you're going.
3 - Price
That’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a full set of weights.
4 - Safety
Some people may be afraid of resistance bands snapping and causing damage. I’ve yet to see that happen, and to be honest, when it comes to resistance bands vs weights and free weights, I’ve seen a lot more injuries when free weights or weights are used.
5 - Ideal For Compound Exercises
As a personal trainer, the reason I get my clients to take advantage of resistance bands on a regular basis is that you could plan some really good compound exercises. These target groups of muscles and they have been shown to be quite effective for building muscle .
However, with resistance bands, your movements may be a bit compromised by a limited range of motion.
Now, let’s see what free weights have to offer.
Advantages Of FREE WEIGHTS
1 - Highly Targeted Muscle Training
Once you have managed to get your body into a reasonably good shape, you may want to start building muscle in a more targeted way. When you're training with free weights, such as a dumbbell, you get to learn specific moves that only trigger
Add to that a large range of motion, and you could be in a much better position to shape your body the way you want it to look.
2 - Provides Consistent Resistance
3 - Better Focus On Endurance
Because of the consistent resistance, you might also gain better endurance as you may be able to stretch yourself more to the limit. This means you may have a better momentum while performing your workouts with free weights.
4 - Gain More Flexibility With The Types Of Moves
Most people also tend to use free weights at the gym because they introduce many types of workouts and moves. The effect of the added range of motion means that reps in every set increase the results you can achieve for a particular body part.
5 - More Accurate Equipment
Keeping track of how well you are performing during a workout routine is a great idea for people of all fitness levels. What traditional weight equipment is great for, is keeping exact track of how much you are actually lifting. With a resistance band, quantifying the weight progress may not be as objective.
Seeing the progress on paper with precise weights for your bench press or bicep curl allows you to better predict your results. For example, if you're new at lifting, you may only be able to lift a small amount of weight on your first day. However, after two months with a lot of strength training, it's possible to lift more weights. And you get to see all these results in the paper.
But all this doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to choose one over the other.
Taking Advantage Of Both Types
You really shouldn’t be looking at your workouts and feel like it’s a decision of resistance bands vs weights. Both of them have very specific advantages, and you may be able to take advantage of the difference in uses.
For example, a bodybuilder could
For someone looking to lose those unwanted pounds, traditional gym weights could be a great tool to tone up muscles and burn away some fat. You don’t have to go for something heavy to achieve some great results.
Essentially, whether you’re aiming for weight loss, fitness improvement, or bodybuilding, free weights, and resistance bands should become part of your workout equipment.
Sample Resistance Band Exercises
free weights Exercises FAQ
Are resistance bands as good as dumbbells?
Can you build muscle with resistance bands?
Can you use resistance bands every day?
Do resistance bands burn fat? Which Equipment Achieves the Maximum Benefit?
Whether you’re aiming to lose weight, tone up or build maximum muscle mass, you shouldn’t strictly go at this decision as resistance bands vs weights.
But, as you’ve learned, there are some factors that might influence you. You can also ask a personal trainer for some advice regarding which equipment is best for you.
If you just need some cheap gear to work out at home, then you’ll do very well with some bands.
https://www.painscience.com/articles/strength-training.php https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/isometric-exercises/faq-20058186 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820232/