Are resistance bands good for building muscle? You might be wondering if those oversized lengths of elastic can actually make your muscles stand at attention like no other.
Especially, if you want to exercise at home, or you like to take your workouts along when you travel.
In this article, we’ll get into the details on how can resistance bands make you stronger, leaner and toned.
And, what are the best resistance band workouts for building muscle?
Do resistance bands actually work?
According to recent research published in the Journal of Human Kinetics, resistance bands have been shown to be a practical alternative to lifting weights when it comes to activating your muscles.
The study’s authors compared muscle activation during upper-body strength training exercises with dumbbells versus free weights.
The results? A very similar muscle activation.
The instability created by the bands is what causes muscle fibers to fire even more (in some cases) than with free weights.
What’s more? Resistance bands are a simple and versatile tool to work your muscles.
Plus, they use steady tension to stimulate muscle growth, without putting a strain on your joints the way heavy weights can.
How much do resistance bands weigh?
First, you may want to know how to determine resistance band weight.
Forces imparted by an elastic band oppose the direction of stretch by a factor of K, which is usually assumed constant for most bands.
The elastic resists from both directions. Also, bands held in parallel should have additive resistance.
Just make sure you don’t tie them end to end because if you do so the resistance formula gets more complicated.
Either way, the problem with bands is that through the majority of your range of motion, you aren’t getting the full resistance.
Meaning that, if you start at 50% stretch and go to 100%, the average resistance is around 75%.
That’s good if you are still getting used to working full ROMs, but less if you want equal strength increases.
It may sound complicated (and it probably is). But generally, high-quality brands use color-codes to determine the level of resistance.
Lighter resistance levels
Generally, they refer to Yellow and Green resistance bands.
They are good for people starting to exercise for the first time or are in the early stages of rehabilitation.
Medium levels of resistance
Blue and Red resistance bands are good for those starting a strengthening program or increasing muscular endurance.
Higher levels of resistance
Black bands are for more advanced trainers who need more resistive weight.
Since different brands have different straps and handles, it’s important to consult the manufacturer’s user guide for information on the proper ways to use the bands.
After you’ve been using them for a few weeks, add a second set and then the third set after several more weeks (a.k.a Progressive Overload).
So, are resistance bands good for building muscle? Keep reading, to discover how you can use them effectively to reach your fitness goals.
How long do resistance bands last?
Resistance bands last (on average) anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
However, if you are investing in high quality and store the bands properly. Then, they can last for up to 3 years.
But, can resistance bands break?
Resistance bands can be a great and inexpensive exercise tool.
But, as with any piece of fitness equipment, proper maintenance is a critical aspect to ensure safe and proper function.
If you use yours regularly, such as a couple of times a week (like you should, by the way), you can expect your band to last for a long period of time.
Use it every day, on the other hand, and you’ll likely have to replace it in roughly six months or so.
Are resistance bands good for building muscle?
Resistance Bands are definitely good for building muscle. They are a great addition to your workout because they easily adjust to your fitness level.
As your strength increases so can the resistance level to ensure you can always work to failure and maximize your gains.
When performing any resistance band exercise, make sure to get into the habit of isolating and flexing the muscle during the descent portion of the exercise.
This, will increase the blood flow to the muscle, which is necessary to stimulate its growth.
Tension is required to build lean muscle. Without tension, you just can’t build muscle.
Many people who train in the gym only know how to move weight around, but don’t know how to apply proper tension when moving weight.
Resistance bands activate full tension during the entire movement for an effective workout that will get you results fast.
Research has proven that resistance band exercises build your muscles and tighten the skin at the same time.
Are resistance bands better than dumbbells?
Both of them found to stimulate muscle growth, the main difference is resistance.
Unlike dumbbell weight training that generates resistance by the force of gravitation.
Resistance bands use the elastic force. The more you stretch the band, the great the tension is.
Thus, your muscles must generate enough force to overcome this elastic tension.
Moreover, when using free weights the tension is always downward, yet with bands, you can create force in any direction by pushing or pulling the band in the opposite direction.
Which makes them a powerful tool for transverse plane exercises.
How often should you do resistance band training?
The best way to train with resistance bands is to split your routine using different muscle groups every day.
One can split major muscle groups in either upper body exercises one day and lower body exercises the next day, or front and back muscles.
Some muscles can be trained everyday like the core muscles.
Be sure to target the muscles in different range of motions and keeping track of the exercises so you don’t overtrain them.
The number of days you should do resistance band workouts has a lot to do with your goal.
For example, three days of resistance band training with some form of cardiovascular exercise on alternate days work well for people who are trying to tone and shape their body.
For more bodybuilding type resistance band training, you could train five to six days by alternate two muscle groups on alternate days.
Can resistance bands bulk you up?
This is a popular question among beginners who want to get bigger.
But, resistance bands only; won’t bulk you up. Unless you plan on using a ton of power bands all strapped together to increase the resistance.
And still, then, it feels extremely uncomfortable when trying to perform the exercises with so many bands put together.
To make a muscle bigger, you have to overload it. That creates small tears in the muscle fiber where new muscle tissue can then grow.
Even lifting your own body weight overloads your muscles — and so do resistance bands.
But, in order to see the desired results, you will likely need heavier weights or increase the resistance once your strength has improved.
Do resistance bands build strength?
When you think of strength training, working out with something related to a large rubber band probably never enters your mind.
But, the fact that resistance bands come in variety levels of tension, can actually improve and build your strength by progressively increase the amount of tension you’re using.
Training with elastic gym bands lets you take advantage of the unique properties of elastic material, scientifically proven as a superbly effective strength training tool.
What is the best workout with resistance bands?
Using exercise bands is one of the safest forms of workouts, with far less chance of injury compared to free weights.
Below, we have listed some resistance band exercises that target specific muscle groups.
How do chest resistance bands work?
Here are 3 effective exercises to build your chest using resistance bands:
Standing Chest Press With Bands
The Standing Chest Press With Bands is a great exercise for working the Chest muscles.
Since the anchor is placed a little lower you will be able to adjust your body better as well as position the bands lower so that they do not rub against your arms.
Standard Push Up With Tube Bands
This is one of the best exercises for building strength and size in your Chest.
It is the same exact exercise as the weighted Bench Press, however, instead of pressing the bar up off your Chest, you are pressing your body up off the floor against the tension.
Crossover Chest Fly With Tube Bands
If you really need a Two-Arm Chest Fly in your exercise mix, then Crossover Chest Fly With Resistance Tube Bands is the exercise for you.
Since you are working against a single Resistance Point, your resistance to the Chest muscles can be limited.
That’s why we added the Crossover. Bringing your arms further across your body makes all of the difference!
How do resistance bands work back?
Doing resistance band back exercises is a great alternative to using free weights.
You can do these resistance band back exercises on their own as a complete workout.
Band Bent-Over Row
Bent-over rows using resistance bands work your back muscles and help improve muscular strength and endurance.
When combined with cardio training and proper nutrition, a toned physique is the result.
Assisted Pull Up
Use a resistance band for pull-ups if you’re not used to do this exercise or if you want to do higher reps.
You can also use it to prepare yourself for more difficult calisthenics movements like muscle-ups or front levers.
Simply attach the band onto the bar, put both feet into the other end and do pull-ups as normal.
- Secure the band at waist height and stand square on holding the band in front of you.
- Pull the band towards your face, lifting your elbows and keeping your back straight.
- Hold the final position, squeezing your shoulder blades together, then return to start.
- Standing further away increases the resistance.
How do resistance bands get rid of flabby arms?
It’s no secret that resistance bands are the way to go, because they’re easy to use and super versatile.
You can create a great full-body workout, or simply do resistance band exercises for arms, like the ones listed below.
Band Bicep Curl
As its name suggest, this move targets your biceps. To do it:
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Place the resistance band under your feet and hold a handle in each hand, palms facing up.
- Curl the band up to shoulder height, then lower.
Band Triceps Kickback
This move sculpts your triceps and core. To do it:
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Place the resistance band under your feet and hold a handle in each hand, palms facing in.
- With a flat back and core engaged, hinge forward at the waist and bend your arms to 90 degrees.
- Keeping elbows tucked close to your sides, extend your arms straight back behind you.
- Then return to start position.
How do I get abs with resistance bands?
You don’t need any fancy equipment or even a set of weights to burn belly fat and strengthen your core.
This resistance band ab workout will convince you that this is a fact! Plus you can do all the following 3 exercises anywhere.
Side Plank With Resistance Band
The side plank is a great exercise for strengthening the oblique abdominal muscles, which don’t get worked during ab exercises such as crunches.
Incorporate it with resistance band and you will get the perfect oblique exercise.
- Start on floor in a push-up position with center of band wrapped around sole of right foot, holding one end of band in each hand, palms flat.
- Keeping abs engaged throughout the resistance band ab workout move, pull right knee toward chest; round back toward ceiling slightly as if bringing head to meet knee.
- Press right heel back to straighten leg, then lower foot to start. Maintain push-up position throughout.
Belly Fat Blaster
- Lie faceup on floor with legs together, band wrapped around soles of feet, holding one end of band in each hand, arms by sides.
- Pull on the band with both arms as you lift into a V-sit position.
- Hold the V-sit for 3 to 5 counts, then slowly lower upper and lower body back to the floor.
Are resistance bands good for toning legs?
Resistance bands offer the best bang for your buck, challenging your lower muscle groups to make a big difference!
Lateral Band Walk
The lateral band walking exercise looks pretty strange. But, it’s actually the perfect way to improve and strengthen the hip abductors and increase stability of the knee joint.
Jump Squats With Bands
- Place a looped band above your knees and stand shoulder-width apart.
- Lower down into a squat, then jump, propelling yourself upward using the muscles in your legs.
- Land softly back in your squat position and repeat.
Lying Leg Curl
- Lie on your stomach with your toes pointed down and a resistance band around your ankles.
- Bend your right leg at the knee, bringing your foot to a 90-degree angle.
- Pause, then lower back down to the floor.
Final thoughts – Are resistance bands good for toning?
The research is pretty clear that using resistance bands is good for toning and they are very effective at burning fat and building muscle pretty rapidly.
The other added benefit for doing bodyweight workouts including resistance bands is that you can do them anytime and anywhere without fancy gym equipment or expensive memberships.
So, if you can’t access the gym or you don’t have time to do, you’ll still get a pretty challenging and effective workout using resistance bands that will help reach your fat loss goals.
Let us know in the comments below if you have ever tried using resistance bands for muscle building! If so, tell us your results.