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Resistance band training has increased in popularity over the past few years due to workout programs emphasizing using them. But how effective is resistance band training? Do little rubber bands actually do anything productive for developing and strengthening muscles? I will address all of these questions in this post and hopefully by the end of the post you can walk away with a sure fire confidence to either use or not use resistance bands. I can tell you one thing for sure, if you get the wrong resistance bands and they snap and hit your face it stings for a good amount of time. Yes I have done this more than once! Lets unpack resistance band training shall we..
The resistance bands in themselves have been around since the early 1900's. They were originally used for surgical tubing and also rehabilitation. About the mid 1900's resistance bands began to show up in gyms and used for strength training. However even though resistance bands have been around for over a century they had not been perceived as a great way to build muscle. In fact resistance band training was perceived for elerly people, women, and still for rehabilitation. Over the past decade especially this perception has been shattered, top fitness programs, professional athletes, movie stars, etc all have incorporated resistance band training into their workout regimen. But does resistance band training and little rubber tubing actually work your muscles the same as dumbbells?
Dumbbells and free weights have been the go to method for strength and muscle building for decades. So you can imagine when people started to push resistance band training to a bunch of people using free weights it probably wasn't the warmest response. Dumbbells and weight for that matter work by pushing your muscles to their peak and beyond. Resistance training in general builds up lactic acid, tears muscles fibers, and exerts the muscles from its weakest point (at rest) to its strongest point (at the top of the movement). Resistance band training does the same thing actually. Its the resistance that counts the most. When you use resistance bands for a bicep curl for example you have close to no tension at the starting point. As you curl up the tension increases all the way through the peek of the movement. For the dumbbell you start out with resistance at the bottom, which can inhibit people from increasing the weight load because they can't get past the initial part of the lift. When you use dumbbells for resistance training you can use momentum to your advantage and cheat a bit to squeeze out a couple more reps. You do not have this option with resistance bands due to the nature of the bands. When doing resistance band training you need to ensure that you have the right tension that creates the "burn" feeling. Same goes for dumbbells, or bodyweight exercises you need to always shoot to hit the "burn" feel with each exercise you do. Both dumbbells and resistance band training build work the muscles in a similar way. So do bodyweight exercises, any time you put resistance behind your movements, you are making your muscles and nervous system work at an accelerated rate to keep up with the stress you are causing the muscles.
I initially thought it was a joke a few years back. I remember the first time I used resistance bands I broke them and they snapped in my face (I still remember the stinging). Apparently the little rubber tubing couldn't take the resistance that I was making it do. So my first initial thought was "these things are worthless". But as I researched more and began to find more and more people using them I had to give them another try. This time I would shell out a little more money to find ones that would not snap in my face. Well the same thing happened again, I was using them for lat pulls and snap, right against my forehead again. This time I thought about chucking those things as far as I could through them, but just tossed them in the garbage. Unsatisfied and annoyed I went back to searching the most durable and heaviest resistance bands I could find. Once I found them I put them to use, stretching to their breaking point and no snap to the face! After that I began to experiment with these with various exercises and workouts and I actually got great results. I use them occasionally intertwined with my bodyweight training that I do and it is a great combo. I also use bodyweight training plus resistance bands plus dumbbells certain times of the year to really beat my muscles up, and believe me this combo does the job.
Resistance band training is effective and provides loads of variation. You can do countless exercises with them. If you would of asked me a few years ago if I thought resistance band training was effective, I would of looked at you with bewilderment on my face. Resistance band training offers another component to working out.
Note: Learn how to build your own home gym equipment at https://www.trulyhuge.com/gymplans.htm