How Do Resistance Bands Work for Gaining Muscle?
Resistance bands are a relatively new addition to many exercise routines. More and more people looking for an affordable and portable alternative to weights are choosing resistance bands to help them get the workout they need.
You may be wondering though, can you build muscle with a resistance band?
Resistance bands are elastic loops or tubes that stretch in size when pulled. Pulling on a resistance band creates the resistance that exercises the body. There are many benefits to using these bands, and they are an ideal alternative for people who wish to keep up a daily workout routine.
The benefits of resistance bands include increasing physical strength and lean muscle mass, circulation improvement, improved balance, and improved mobility.
Exercises with bands feel different because there is no gravity involved when you workout, unlike weightlifting. Bands are an excellent solution for older people who want exercise to maintain mobility and for people who don't have access to weights or a gym.
With the right equipment and the right workout routine, your resistance bands can give you a great workout to help you reach your fitness goals.
Building Muscle With Resistance Bands
Studies show that resistance bands are a worthy alternative to lifting weights. Bands require increased muscle activity in the ancillary muscles. The increased muscle activity is likely due to the instability the muscles feel when pushing or pulling against the band's resisting weight.
Bands improve your power and increase muscle mass because the ongoing resistance you feel will teach your muscles to contract faster when you do the exercises. Since pulling on a band creates resistance, strength is what allows you to overcome that resistance.
Resistance bands offer you various exercises to help you build muscle through resistance training.
Two Types of Resistance Band Training
Resistance training refers to physical activity, which forces your muscles to work against weight. There are two kinds of resistance training, known as isotonic exercise and isometric exercise.
Isotonic exercise involves moving your muscle groups like legs, arms, or shoulders against any resistance. Lifting weights, using dumbbells, or working against a band's resistance are forms of isotonic exercise.
Isometric exercise is holding a specific muscle group in place against resistance. Isometric exercises you might know are wall sits, or plank holds.
The benefits of resistance training are enhanced muscle strength, joint protection, and improved stability. Both isometric and isotonic exercises grow muscle because these exercises will firm and strengthen muscle groups.
The increase in muscle strength allows you to withstand heavier resistance. Any muscle group will benefit from this kind of training, and it is the primary reason resistance bands help you gain muscle.
Choosing the Right Resistance Band
There are several kinds of resistance bands that work best to strengthen and build different muscle groups. If you want to use a resistance band, think about which particular muscle group or groups you want to build, and then select the right kind of band for exercises.
Therapy bands: These are flat loops that don't have handles. They are best for many kinds of rehabilitation exercises.
Fit loop bands: Fit loop bands form a loop with a flat design. The shape and resistance are great for building muscles in your lower body. These include hips, glutes, and large buttock muscles.
Clip tube bands: Clip tube bands are tubular with handles that you can remove depending on the exercises you want to do. Detaching the handles allows you to do full-body resistance training.
Compact Resistance Bands: These have fixed plastic handles and are best for upper body and arm exercises and lower body exercises.
Figure 8 Bands: These bands are shorter in length and have fixed handles connected to both sides. Figure 8 bands work best for upper body and arm exercises.
Ring Resistance Bands: These bands have two soft handles integrated with the tube. These also work well for lower body muscles.
You will likely need a few different kinds of resistance bands for your workout routine. The different sizes and shapes are what make each band ideal for a specific muscle group in the body. Select a few that can target multiple groups for versatility.
Most brands organize the weight of resistance for each band through a color-coded system. Yellow and red bands offer the lightest resistance. Green indicates a medium amount of resistance, and both blue and black colored bands are typically the heaviest.
You can build the most muscle from your workout by selecting the proper bands for the muscle groups you want to build and then also selecting the proper weight based on your current strength.
Guidelines for Resistance Band Training
When exercising with this equipment, keep in mind that you should feel the band's tension at all times. A band's resistance will increase towards the end of the range of motion—so you want to make sure that you pick a band that allows you to have a full range of motion for your body.
When working with a band, do each exercise slowly, in a controlled motion. Feeling the resistance throughout the exercise keeps the muscle active throughout the range of motion. There shouldn't be any slack at any time when you workout with a band.
It is always best to consult a personal trainer for a workout routine. Their expertise and experience will help in the design of a personalized workout for your fitness goals. As a general guideline, though, the recommended exercise time for adults doing muscle-strengthening exercises is twice a week. Ideally, you will have 48-72 hours of rest in between each session for improved muscular function.
Your routine should have between 8-10 exercises for each of your major muscle groups. For each of these exercises, you should do about 8-12 repetitions for two or more sets. You can adjust these numbers to suit your current comfort level and fitness needs. Resistance bands offer you another way to build muscle outside of the typical weightlifting routine.