Are resistance bands worth it or should I give free weights a chance? You must have found yourself in this situation couple of times, and now it’s time to settle this debate. Resistance bands and free weights occupied our minds whenever we think about strength training. Both of these are home gym fitness equipment that is readily available on the online market and are rather inexpensive when compared to other fitness equipment.
Resistance bands and free weights do not exactly do the same thing for your body. That being said, dumbbells and Kettlebells are absolutely necessary for building strong muscles, but at the same time, resistance bands have their own role to play in your strength training routine. Let’s find out which one would be an ideal pick, and how you can incorporate them into your daily workout.
Benefits of Resistance Bands over Free Weights
1- Easily Accessible, Inexpensive and Portable
This has to be the first benefit you need to know. You can easily purchase resistance bands without wasting your energy searching for them. They are budget-conscious; you won't need to go the extra miles to save up to buy them. And you know what's best, right? The portability feature. Their size and weight make it super easy to store them anywhere in your house. You can put them in a drawer, closet, or in your bag, that’s how portable these fitness bands are. Planning a trip? No worries. You can take them away with you without any hassle or missing out on your workout day.
2- Safe to use, Low risk of injury
Practically most of the movements can be replicated with the resistance bands that you perform using free weights, for instance, bicep curls, squats, rows, lateral raises, etc. Also, the risk of injury is relatively low because you are not lifting any weight. The flexible and elastic nature of resistance bands does limit the range of motion, which makes it difficult to overextend your joint. However, there is no fear of you accidentally dropping the weights on foot.
3- Master new Moves
Resistance band exercises are a great way to master new and challenging moves such as band-assisted pull-ups. Hook one end of the resistance band to the pull-up bar, place your knees or feet in the suspension on the other end, and you are off to a good start. While bands take on some of the bodyweight, it becomes easier to perform multiple repetitions.
4- Activation of small muscles
These fitness bands are often used in rehab exercises because they let you target small muscles that do not get so much attention when you perform movements that only affect large muscle groups. This is also one of the reasons, why resistance bands are a great tool for warm-up exercises before intense training.
5- Strength Building
Although resistance bands are not as heavy as free weights, the elasticity and friction in these bands, bring desirable outcomes by creating enough tension on your muscles. So yes, they will certainly help you to strengthen your muscles, especially if you just started a training routine. A research article published in Sage Medicine stated that resistance bands like free weights can help beginners build the upper and lower strength of the body.
Benefits of Free Weights over Resistance Bands
Now that we have discussed the plus points of resistance bands, moving on, let’s find out how free weights can be a better option than the bands.
1- Non-Variable Resistance
Resistance type is the major difference between resistance bands and dumbbells or any other free weights. Free weights use constant and non-variable resistance, unlike fitness bands that challenge your muscles only employing variable resistance.
To understand this, imagine yourself performing row using a resistance band. When you extend your arms fully, the resistance on your muscles is almost none. As you pull the band farther away from the torso, the more resistance it puts on your muscles. As soon as you straighten up your arms, the resistance level falls. However, this is not the case with weights. The resistance level stays the same during the movement. For instance, when you row using 20 pounds, the resistance level will be about 20 pounds at every point throughout the move.
2- Full Range of Motion
Dumbbells or Kettlebells allow you to move through a full range of motion, unlike resistance bands. After all, how much a resistance band can stretch, and also it will move in a straight line. A limited range of motion, although, is a benefit for the beginners who can master an exercise safely, but there are practical benefits to moving the weights in different directions.
3- Easy to Overload
Progressive overload is the right way to build strong muscles and body strength. Once you start challenging yourself by gradually increasing the weight, only then you can feel the difference. With bands, you can’t really achieve this because there is no way to trace or increase the resistance. You can make a transition from light to medium to a heavy band, but still, it will be far from accurate.
You can measure the precise weight you add or remove with dumbbells, and add hefty amounts of weight gradually in small additions, while just knowing how much you are moving. For the sake of tracking progress, free weights win the race.
4- Stronger Muscles
You can say that free weights are the next step in resistance training for people who want to build stronger muscles. With fitness bands, you can feel the difference in your overall strength while started using them, but at one point, you’ll hit the plateau. You can see the resistance bands as a starting point. When you no longer feel challenged with bands, move forward to using free weights. Resistance bands offer resistance to a certain range compared to barbells and dumbbells, where you can continue to increase the resistance level by using heavy-duty weights. Therefore, if your goal is to build stronger muscles, then you need to use a fitness tool that allows you to keep challenging your muscles by increasing the resistance repeatedly.
Decide for yourself
Resistance bands and free weights both have their own importance that can’t be denied. It is a more practical approach to incorporate both of them into your fitness routine for varying reasons. Fitness bands can be an active part of your warm-up session and are ideal for stretching too. What's more, they can easily accompany you everywhere you go for non-stop fitness.
The bottom line is that you don’t really have to decide between these two. By adding both of them to your routine, you give your muscles every chance to build stronger in a sustainable way.
If you are looking for high-quality resistance bands and free weights, you should check Xn8 sports online store to grab everything you need in the fitness and combat category.