There's a lot of equipment out there for sale at the gym, and it can be hard to know which pieces are worth investing in. Resistance bands are one piece of equipment that can be a little tricky to decide on. They might not seem like much on the surface, but make no mistake, they are absolute beasts.
In this post, we'll take a look at some of the pros and cons of resistance bands and decide once and for all if they're worth adding to your workout routine. So are resistance bands worth it? Read on to find out!
Why Should You Invest In Resistance Bands Anyway?
If you're going to spend your hard-earned cash, you want to ensure that you're at least getting some benefits out of it. So what can you expect by adding resistance bands to your workout routine?
Here are a few compelling arguments to get the debate started.
Of course, in terms of getting your money's worth. resistance bands excel. Many varieties are available, ranging from as little as $20 per set.
However, don't expect the entire works at this entry price. Resistance bands come in a wide range of "resistances" which are effectively the weights against which you will be exerting force.
The lowest priced sets might offer just 20lbs of resistance, but more advanced sets go all the way up to 200lbs and beyond.
The price for these advanced sets is often around $50, which is still an affordable investment.
Resistance bands are extremely portable, making them a great option for those who travel frequently or don't have a lot of space at home to store workout equipment.
They are often sold in small, lightweight cases that can easily be slipped into a suitcase or hung on a hook.
There's hardly a reason that you won't be able to work out anymore since all you need is a doorframe to get started!
As we just mentioned, resistance bands are extremely portable. They take up very little space and can be used nearly anywhere.
You don't need a lot of time to set up or take down your equipment either, which means you can easily fit a workout into your busy schedule.
Yes, it might take a few seconds to combine multiple bands together for an exercise, but still far less than you would spend adding and removing plates to a bar.
They Are Low Impact
Resistance bands offer a number of benefits for people looking for a low-impact workout. Unlike weights, which can put a strain on joints, resistance bands place little direct pressure on the body.
The bands also offer a more comprehensive range of motion than weights, meaning that muscles are worked through a greater range of motion and are better able to develop strength and flexibility.
In addition, resistance bands can be used in a variety of ways to target different muscle groups, making them a versatile tool for people looking for a low-impact workout. As a result, it is no wonder that resistance bands are becoming increasingly popular as a way to stay fit and healthy.
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Suitable For All Training Levels
Whether you're just starting out on your fitness journey or you're a seasoned athlete, resistance bands can be used to customize your workout to your specific fitness level.
If you're new to working out, you can start with lighter bands and work your way up as you get stronger. Conversely, if you're an experienced athlete, you can use heavier bands for a more challenging workout.
Do not get tied up in the notion that the bands are only for beginners, as they are proven to offer the same resistance as weights can- even heavy weights.
Have you ever lived in an apartment below someone who has exercise equipment? The constant thumping, banging, and clanging can be incredibly annoying.
Resistance bands offer a much quieter workout option, meaning you can exercise without disturbing your neighbors (or yourself!).
With no metal-on-metal contact and often padded handles, you'll find that working out with resistance bands is a much quieter experience.
If you share an apartment with roommates, a partner, or family, this can be a game-changer when it comes to getting your workout in without disturbing others.
The sheer number of exercises you can pull off while using resistance bands is insane. There is scarcely any body part that cannot be trained by the bands.
And indeed, while you might not be able to replicate the movement of barbells or dumbbells to a T, the bands come quite close while being able to offer a greater range of motion.
This is due to the linear variable resistance that is provided by the bands. The resistance offered by bands increases as the stretch increases.
Plus, when considering the fact that gravity has a significant impact on the use of barbells and dumbells, and bands have no such limitation, a strong argument can be made that bands are a more versatile option.
Cons Of Resistance Bands
While they undoubtedly possess many advantages, they do come with a few of their own cons as well.
The quality of all resistance bands is not the same. Barbells or dumbbells, on the other hand, can last for decades with basic care (avoidance of moisture, dropping, etc).
The best resistance bands are made of latex and are double-coated to increase their longevity. That said, even the best quality bands will only last for a few years with regular use, usually 2-3.
This is due to the fact that the bands are constantly being stretched, which causes them to weaken over time. Some brands even contain an anti-snap mechanism such as a rope inside that acts as a limit to which they can be stretched.
But even these types do not survive the effects of wear and tear or rot from years of disuse.
They May Not "Feel" Effective
This is a completely individual and subjective assessment, but some people feel that working out with resistance bands does not provide the same "pump" as working out with free weights.
This could be due to a number of factors, including the lack of momentum that is possible with bands (due to their linear resistance) or the fact that it is harder to cheat when using them.
Whatever the reason, some people simply don't get the same feeling from working out with resistance bands as they do from other methods, even though comparisons have indicated that they are very close in terms of what they deliver.
Progression Is Hard To Quantify
You might be thinking that being able to curl 120lbs in resistance band figures would translate to the same when doing barbell curls, right?
It doesn't really work that way.
For instance, the beginning resistance that the bands offer is usually very feeble, until an effective stretch is attained.
When using free weights, the resistance is immediately noticeable.
Hence, the negative portion of the rep is not emphasized with bands.
In addition to this, there are many seemingly innocuous factors that might make it difficult to replicate a band's training session.
These might include the distance from the base of the band, the angle of the band, and more.
Thus, if you find that you were able to do 50 repetitions with a 20lb band the previous week, but can now only do 40, it might be difficult to pinpoint what changed over the course of the week.
It might be the band, it might be your form or any number of things. This lack of clarity can make progress seem slower and more difficult to quantify than for free weights.
Resistance Band Total Body Workout
If you're not sure what can be done with resistance bands, or how to get started, we've created a workout routine that hits all the major muscle groups using just a single band (but feel free to stack if you need greater resistance).
Standing Chest Press
Attach the band to a sturdy post at about chest height.
Grasp each side of the band, and step forward until there is some tension in the band.
Keeping your core engaged, press your hands away from your body, extending your arms fully at the top of the motion.
Slowly return to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement.
Do 8-12 reps for 3 sets.
There are a few different ways you can go about doing the row, including securing under a door's lower hinge, or to an immovable object 8-12 inches above the ground.
You will be required to sit on the ground for this movement.
Grab each end of the band, and lean back until your torso is perpendicular to the ground.
Keeping your core engaged, pull the band towards your lower chest, leading with your elbows.
When your hands reach your chest, pause for a moment before returning to the starting position.
You can also secure the band under your feet in the absence of an anchor point.
Do 8-12 reps for 3 sets.
Standing Lateral Shoulder Raises
To hit the deltoid muscles, you can either perform shoulder presses or the lateral raise. We have selected the lateral raise in this instance since the press is more difficult to achieve based on your height (the band might not be able to stretch as much).
Nevertheless, the lateral raise is an excellent exercise for the front and lateral heads of the shoulder.
To perform, stand on the band, and hold the handles by your sides.
Keeping your core engaged, raise your arms out to the side until they are parallel to the ground.
Pause for a moment at the top of the motion before lowering your arms back to the starting position.
Do 12-15 reps for 3 sets.
Alternatively, you can affix it to a lower anchor point, and also perform one side at a time if you prefer.
Resistance band squats might be different than what you're accustomed to, but they're still an excellent lower body movement.
To properly perform a squat, stand on the band with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and hold the handles in your hands at about eye level (pressing position).
Keeping your chest up and core engaged, begin to lower your body towards the ground, leading with your hips.
When your thighs are parallel to the ground, pause for a moment before returning to the standing position.
Do 15-20 reps for 3 sets.
Bicep curls are a great isolation exercise that can be done with resistance bands.
To perform, stand on the band with feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the handles by your sides.
Keeping your upper arms stationary, curl your hands towards your shoulders.
When your hands reach shoulder level, pause for a brief moment before returning to the starting position.
Do 12-15 reps for 3 sets.
To work the triceps, you can either do kickbacks or pressdowns. We've selected pressdowns in this instance as they're a bit more challenging than kickbacks.
To properly perform a press down, you need to attach the bands to a high anchor, such as the top of a door frame.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and grab the handles with an overhand grip.
Keeping your upper arms close to your body, press the handles down towards the floor until your arms are fully extended.
When your arms are extended, pause for a moment before returning to the starting position.
Do 12-15 reps and 2-3 working sets.
Can You Build Strength With Resistance Bands?
While you might not feel like you're building strength in the conventional sense when working out with resistance bands, they are in fact helping you to build strength.
The bands provide what's known as variable resistance, meaning that they offer more resistance at the beginning of a movement and less resistance at the end of the movement.
This type of resistance is beneficial because it forces your muscles to work harder throughout the most power-intensive part of the rep, in turn focusing on that peak even more.
Combined with Foundation, your strength gains will go through the roof.
Overall, resistance bands are a great way to build strength and muscle. They're versatile, portable, and affordable, making them a great option for people who want to work out at home or on the go. While they might not offer the same level of resistance you are accustomed to as free weights or machines, they're still a great option for people who want to build strength and muscle.
Do not miss out on them because you think they are subpar; since even comparisons don't show much difference between using them and conventional equipment- they are absolutely worth it!