If you have ever been to a gym, or even had physical education classes in school, you have probably seen resistance bands in use. If you have not, imagine a very long, very durable strip of rubber. People use these resistance bands to achieve the same goals as weight lifting – but with added emphasis on flexibility and toning.
The fact that resistance bands can be stretched extremely thin without snapping gives anybody using them a serious amount of control over how much resistance they want. Similar to the original cam design, resistance bands increase in resistance as the lifter applies more force, which is perfect for people with bad joints or similar problems, as you can just adjust the length of the band you use.
The benefits of using resistance bands
Increased range of motion – While machines limit the range of motion by controlling the start and end point of movement, and some of the free weight exercises also limit the movement, resistance bands allow you to push or pull to your full range of movement from any angle.
Improved muscle flexibility – As we mentioned before, resistance bands allow pulling and pushing to full ROM from virtually any angle. Unlike machines and free weights, when working with bands the resistance is constantly maintained and even dynamic throughout the whole movement. This characteristic allows the muscle to experience a different kind of stimulation.
They allow you to mimic sport movements – athletes are able to improve their sport movements because with resistance bands almost all movements can be mimicked. Think punching with bands, the paddling movement in swimmers, tennis and golf swings etc.
They help in rehabilitation – when an injury occurs there is a possibility that the athlete will not be able to use weights or machines. However a fitness tube can help you work around that injury because it allows for more isolation movements to be executed.
Portable – Going on a trip or vacation – no problem. The fact that fitness bands are compact, they fit into small bags and can be used anywhere makes them great for carrying around wherever you go.
Is it possible to build muscle with resistance bands?
In a word – yes. Resistance bands are directly comparable to actual weights when it comes to strength and muscle gain. While using resistance bands requires a different set of skills than weights, it is well worth combining the two when working out parts of your body. The smoothness of bands contrasts nicely with the rawness of using weights.
It is, however, important that you use the resistance bands correctly. You need to secure them to a very sturdy anchor, and when performing exercises including lunges and curls, you need you have your feet entirely on top of the band to ensure it does not slip. In order to get the most out of resistance bands, safety needs to be prioritized.
The last major point to remember when trying to build muscle with resistance bands is that you need to not only find your equilibrium, but constantly try to push it further. Unlike weight training, where you can simply add more weight, it can be difficult to gauge the level of resistance with a band. Because of this, it will ultimately be up to you to be honest and keep pushing yourself.