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  1. #1
    Registered User a_chris_1's Avatar
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    Can you build muscle with resistance bands?

    I can't find this anywhere else on the forum for some reason... can you build muscle with heavy resistance bands as efficiently as you can with weights?

    What's the difference, and how are muscles worked differently with each? What is the end result of a muscle (let's say bicep) after training exclusively with each?

    Appreciate help from you guys, I can't even find much of this info on google!
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  2. #2
    Registered User mroth86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by a_chris_1 View Post
    I can't find this anywhere else on the forum for some reason... can you build muscle with heavy resistance bands as efficiently as you can with weights?

    What's the difference, and how are muscles worked differently with each? What is the end result of a muscle (let's say bicep) after training exclusively with each?

    Appreciate help from you guys, I can't even find much of this info on google!
    most likely. Resistance is resistance. Your muscles actually have no idea what you're actually lifting unlike other people actually think. They only know how to stretch and tense, so yes, i don't know HOW since i'm not familiar, but technically you could
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  3. #3
    The BACKMAN DJAuto's Avatar
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    IMO, incomparable to proper free-weight training.
    Bodybuilding is 60% training and 50% diet. Yes that adds up to 110%, because that's what you should be giving it. Change the inside, and the physique will follow.
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  4. #4
    Registered User bigredelts's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DJAuto View Post
    IMO, incomparable to proper free-weight training.
    although, they could be some what beneficial if you use bands in corporation with free weights and the rest of your workout program...i would not advise you to do your entire workout with just bands. you might as well just do body weight exercises
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  5. #5
    Registered User Definitelynotme's Avatar
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    as far as building muscle mass, bands won't do much. they are good for warming up the muscle, especially if you are injured.

    if you want muscle, stick to heavy barbell and dumbell exercises
    If your parents didn't have children, chances are you won't either.
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  6. #6
    Ghost Negger DiamondDelts's Avatar
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    I place resistance bands on my dbs when I do flyes, etc.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Porthos's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by a_chris_1 View Post
    I can't find this anywhere else on the forum for some reason... can you build muscle with heavy resistance bands as efficiently as you can with weights?

    What's the difference, and how are muscles worked differently with each? What is the end result of a muscle (let's say bicep) after training exclusively with each?

    Appreciate help from you guys, I can't even find much of this info on google!
    It won't be as efficiently as free weights...nothing is. Plain and simply you can't get a better workout than with free weights. I don't care what the hell a product claims to do, it can't do what free weights can do for you.

    However, resistance bands aren't the worst thing on the planet. It's still a form of resistance, maybe not like freeweights but still can be challenging and you can develop muscle from it. I use resistance bands for three things:

    1. When I'm traveling...these things really are portable and you can get a really good workout with them if you know what you're doing. I did actually increase my benchpress on one road trip because I used power-pushups 2 and did volume training...it was interesting.

    2. Great for quick workouts. I keep a set in my desk just so I can get a little pump while I'm at work.

    3. If you use bands like you would use chains on movements like benchpress, etc. It adds a little more resistance at the lockout and I've found it to be useful there.

    Not a replacement for free weights...but still a good piece of equipment if you know what to do with it.
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  8. #8
    Registered User FlyingIllini's Avatar
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    I take them when traveling for work... just so that I can do something.
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  9. #9
    Registered User ghostBlade's Avatar
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    I don't get how the muscle knows to build in size or endurance. As long as the muscle is getting pumped and stressed to a great degree, shouldn't it grow? just a question...
    Last edited by ghostBlade; 02-04-2009 at 09:12 PM.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Deederville's Avatar
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    I think that whatever kind of exercise you do, is beneficial for muscle building. I personally use bands all the time during my workouts because weights are extremely hard on your joints, and me being a woman, that is crucial to my health because us women already have joint issues naturally. I do, however, use, both, my bands and some ankle weights when I'm working out my legs. I also, have a set of dumbbells that I don't use for the simple fact, that I cannot find them haha, but if I could, I probably would use them every now and then.

    Bands are tricky, however. You have to know how to use them properly to get the best results. When you increase you tension, it is no different than if you were to use free-weights and increase the weight. Also, posture is extremely important, especially when using resistance bands since you're not just lifting one weight and working out one muscle group only. Resistance bands puts resistance on every part of your body.
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  11. #11
    Registered User kurty8's Avatar
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    bands are good

    I would say they are a great change up or provided a different feel on the same exercise. The resistance isn't constant, its based on how far the band is stretch, and you can't get that same resistance with free weights. I try to use 1 lift per workout (per body part) with bands. So i'll do flat bench and attach 1 band on either side of the weight and then loop it around a db. Its def works. It will help you get though any sticking points during the lift, now of course your not going to be able to do as much dead weight as normal, but it kills you pecs. Another i like is taking a band and putting it on either side of a curl bar, and then stand on the middle of the band and do bi curls,,,burner!!! These help give new looks and can help during plateaus
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  12. #12
    Stay Motivated Every Day! beazy22's Avatar
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    thanks for the info guys, i'm looking into some bands for when i travel, seems like it's better than nothing, but better than most people would give them credit for.
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  13. #13
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    Strong Bumps in this old thread!
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    Registered User ProfessorFunk's Avatar
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    I have a whole year of experience with resistant band exercises

    In my routine, 75% is all resistant bands. I love how you use your natural range of motion, and most importantly, you activate your core from angles you've never even dreamed of before. The bands can provide such a balanced bone and muscle development, which leads me to my point. I think resistant band training is awesome for muscles around the core, like my shoulders, pecs, and back are just BIGGER.. Like my muscles aren't individually huge, but if you try to wrap your arms around me you might as well try to grapple a tree.. not just the muscles, the bone structure has expanded and become pure steel, with lots of definition on even the smallest muscles. It's also comforting to know that the odds of hurting myself using bands are slim, so I can really bust it out and push it to the max (just don't tense the neck and watch for movements that hurt the shoulder, activate the core, channel energy through the feet, like in MMA, or Star Wars). If your into sports or want nice definition, strong bones and mobility, resistant bands have a lot to offer.
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  15. #15
    Banned Tyciol's Avatar
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    You can build muscle, but terms like 'efficiently' confuse me.

    I think measuring a weight is more consistant in estimating force and the progress you're making. Measuring the strength of bands seems less consistant to me. The force you apply changes as the band stretches, some bands lose tension after continuous use, etc.

    I'd incorporate them as a tool, but never get rid of doing bodyweight or freeweight if you've got access to them.

    lol @ Randy Couture's door gym.
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  16. #16
    Registered User JonnyDarko's Avatar
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    Bands work very well for building mass and quickly in fact, you just need to understand to truly get anything out of them you will need some construction lessons from MacGyver.
    The hand grips and ankle straps really negate their potential.
    So far I've built a curling bar and bench press bar out of steel conduit, foam rubber pipe insulator for protection and bicycle handlebar foam rubber grips. I defy anyone to do 50 curls of 4 sections per side of black Thera-band elongated to 200%.

    That's 120lbs!
    On top of which, the way they have a linear increase in resistance as you extend them as well as the retraction resistance is just very different than free weights. You can do a lot more but also get a lot more out of it. I made the switch from a plate type machine and couldn't be happier or have more good things to say. You hit more muscles due to using your body to brace the bands and can so easily alter resistance and target muscles by altering form.

    If someone simply puts together a more thorough package containing more gripping attachments and a sturdy fold up bench, a lot of people would ultimately ditch free weights and plate machines.
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  17. #17
    Registered User biggquis's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JonnyDarko View Post
    Bands work very well for building mass and quickly in fact, you just need to understand to truly get anything out of them you will need some construction lessons from MacGyver.
    The hand grips and ankle straps really negate their potential.
    So far I've built a curling bar and bench press bar out of steel conduit, foam rubber pipe insulator for protection and bicycle handlebar foam rubber grips. I defy anyone to do 50 curls of 4 sections per side of black Thera-band elongated to 200%.

    That's 120lbs!
    On top of which, the way they have a linear increase in resistance as you extend them as well as the retraction resistance is just very different than free weights. You can do a lot more but also get a lot more out of it. I made the switch from a plate type machine and couldn't be happier or have more good things to say. You hit more muscles due to using your body to brace the bands and can so easily alter resistance and target muscles by altering form.

    If someone simply puts together a more thorough package containing more gripping attachments and a sturdy fold up bench, a lot of people would ultimately ditch free weights and plate machines.
    Reps to the anti-broscientist
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  18. #18
    Registered User stranger5's Avatar
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    general

    i just want to know if the total gym xl can build muscle. I have the weight bar and use level 6 with weights on the bar. Thanks.
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    Muscles have no clue as to what the hell they are lifting. Muscles don't say hmmm this is a resistance band not a free weight so there for I will not grow. Resistance bands work and have caught on in some circles. I would agree that there are some things that free weights are better at, but I would also say that there are things that Resistance bands are better at. I use them a lot and you can add a lot of resistance to an exercise. They have been used for years in power lifting circles to break though plateaus. Yes you can grow muscle with resistance bands. My suggestions would be if you have the opportunity use both and combine them with each other.
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  21. #21
    Banned Muschitiott's Avatar
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    похудеть наро

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    диета
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  22. #22
    Registered User page9931's Avatar
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    they can probably help at some points...The further you stretch the band the more resistance it has i mean thats way diff then a dumbell just remember all things have their place in your workout and all things provide different benefits, depends on what ya want
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  23. #23
    Banned Tyciol's Avatar
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    Oh cool, spammer bump. *reports*
    Originally Posted by DJAuto View Post
    IMO, incomparable to proper free-weight training.
    Incorrect, everything is comparable. It's certainly not equal, but comparable != equal.

    Originally Posted by bigredelts View Post
    i would not advise you to do your entire workout with just bands. you might as well just do body weight exercises
    There's not a problem with either kind of training cept they lack the more consistent big progression of weights.

    Originally Posted by Definitelynotme View Post
    as far as building muscle mass, bands won't do much. they are good for warming up the muscle, especially if you are injured.
    This is false. While it's true that many bands out there are weak and not difficult enough for hypertrophy, very strong bands can be made which can be used to stimulate it. It's not just a rehab device. Light dumbbells are used for rehab too, yet heavy dumbbells are used for big rows. Bands are the same.

    Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    It won't be as efficiently as free weights...nothing is.
    What does this even mean?

    Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    Plain and simply you can't get a better workout than with free weights. I don't care what the hell a product claims to do, it can't do what free weights can do for you.
    'Better' is subjective, and can you prove any of these claims?

    Originally Posted by ghostBlade View Post
    I don't get how the muscle knows to build in size or endurance. As long as the muscle is getting pumped and stressed to a great degree, shouldn't it grow? just a question...
    Pump has something to do with it, but also other factors like microtrauma and the stress put on it and the tendons/joints, probably a complex sense that it needs to adapt.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    I think that whatever kind of exercise you do, is beneficial for muscle building.
    This is overgeneralizing. Clearly long-duration low intensity exercise (marathon running) sucks for muscle building.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    I personally use bands all the time during my workouts because weights are extremely hard on your joints, and me being a woman, that is crucial to my health because us women already have joint issues naturally.
    This is false, bands can also be hard on the joints just like weights. The main factor of difference which may make it less harsh for SOME forms of training would be that the bands lack inertia and momentum factors that hefting masses have. This and the increasing resistance as stretch is increased.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    posture is extremely important, especially when using resistance bands since you're not just lifting one weight and working out one muscle group only. Resistance bands puts resistance on every part of your body.
    This is false. Lifting one weight can work the entire body (try doing a bent press) and bands can be used to isolate muscles. There's no magic difference here, how many muscles you stress with your resistance depends on the movement, not whether it's lifting or band tension.
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  24. #24
    The BACKMAN DJAuto's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    Incorrect, everything is comparable. It's certainly not equal, but comparable != equal.
    Okay.
    Bodybuilding is 60% training and 50% diet. Yes that adds up to 110%, because that's what you should be giving it. Change the inside, and the physique will follow.
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  25. #25
    Registered User t0mmyb0y's Avatar
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    bands are good until you start breaking all of them
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  26. #26
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    resis bands

    If you dont have the money to pay for weights and a gym membership, wouldnt bands be the way to go?

    its still resistance non the less.
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  27. #27
    Registered User Judgment's Avatar
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    I used bands exclusively for 2 months to see if it would shock my muscles and next to free weights they really didn't give me good results at all. Now the only thing I use them for is putting them on my feet when I'm doing hanging leg raises for abs.
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    Banned Tyciol's Avatar
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    Bleh, I wrote out a big reply not realizing I had already replied twice, but it's partly new so I'll post it anyway...

    Yes. It's resistance and can stimulate growth.
    Originally Posted by a_chris_1 View Post
    I can't find this anywhere else on the forum for some reason...
    In the future, and to supplement responses you get here, the search function does turn up many threads on this topic. Feel free to bump them. Necroing ancient threads makes you cool.

    Originally Posted by a_chris_1 View Post
    can you build muscle with heavy resistance bands as efficiently as you can with weights?
    You can build them. Are there inefficient ways of building muscle? I thought it was a factor of intensity of training and recovery.

    Originally Posted by a_chris_1 View Post
    What's the difference, and how are muscles worked differently with each?
    One difference is that with weight (more specifically: mass), you have to overcome things like inertia and can generate momentum.

    Another difference is varying intensity. The acceleration of gravity (creating weight on the mass) is constant. The acceleration of bands varies, it grows the further you stretch them.

    Another factor is the direction of the resistance. To use a bench press for example, gravity pulls a weight in one direction, down. If my arm sways out to the side, gravity is going to pull the weight down. Whereas, if I was pressing bands which were attached behind my back or a bench, the direction of pull would vary depending on where my hand was relative to that anchor point.

    It may be easier to imagine if I use a 'chest fly' motion. Weight-training works the chest when you do a flying motion. Bands do not. If you envision the bottom portion when the hands are out to the sides: gravity is pulling perpendicular to your arms, whereas bands would be pulling parallel to them. The bands' resistance would be born by the arm's skeletal alignment, much like both forms are at the top when both's resistance are in line with the arms. Gravity loses skeletal alignment support as the arms rotate, the bands do not because they are pulling towards the back/bench where you've anchored the bands, not the earth.

    Originally Posted by a_chris_1 View Post
    What is the end result of a muscle (let's say bicep) after training exclusively with each?
    It's difficult to tell. It's possible that bands may be safer to train with for some people because when you're doing the eccentric, if you did it fast, momentum wouldn't build up that could risk crushing you or that you would be shocked trying to slow down. There would be some momentum, of course, because your own limbs have weight, and the bands contribute a paltry amount. Another factor is that bands could train strength more evenly throughout a rep, because you can't cheat as much with momentum (again, the primary place you'd build momentum is from the mass of your limbs). With pressing a weight, you could accelerate it from the bottom to such a degree you could get past a sticking point near the top. You might have to confront that sticking point more specifically when training with a band. Especially since the resistance grows at the top (also something chains help with, plus heavy partial RoM weightlifting).

    Originally Posted by mroth86 View Post
    most likely. Resistance is resistance. Your muscles actually have no idea what you're actually lifting unlike other people actually think.
    Your muscles (or perhaps only brain) would sense that the resistance curves up, lack of momentum or varying force direction.

    Originally Posted by DJAuto View Post
    IMO, incomparable to proper free-weight training.
    Everything is comparable to everything I can compare apples and oranges, they have many things in common in spite of being different.

    Originally Posted by bigredelts View Post
    although, they could be some what beneficial if you use bands in corporation with free weights and the rest of your workout program...i would not advise you to do your entire workout with just bands. you might as well just do body weight exercises
    I don't see how these compare, though bodyweight is certainly a good option for any program due to accessibility.

    Originally Posted by Definitelynotme View Post
    as far as building muscle mass, bands won't do much. if you want muscle, stick to heavy barbell and dumbell exercises
    This is untrue, bands can do plenty if they are hard enough. The main problem is that most bands aren't difficult and the hard-to-stretch bands are rare and expensive. Plus, the jumps are probably pretty severe so you can't microload increases in resistance as efficient as most weightlifting which contains many intermediary resistance levels, especially with the big compound movements.

    Originally Posted by Definitelynotme View Post
    they are good for warming up the muscle, especially if you are injured.
    I've heard this too, I guess maybe it relates to the lack of momentum?

    Originally Posted by DiamondDelts View Post
    I place resistance bands on my dbs when I do flyes, etc.
    Where do you put the other end? This would be a major factor in when the movement gets more difficult. Like if they were put further out, this would make them hit the chest as well as freeweights alone, or even better if they were out further than the arms' length.

    Originally Posted by ghostBlade View Post
    I don't get how the muscle knows to build in size or endurance. As long as the muscle is getting pumped and stressed to a great degree, shouldn't it grow? just a question...
    I will grow in general, endurance and size are often correlated. It is mostly a matter of intensity. There is intense endurance (more correlated with bodybuilding hypertrophy) and there is light endurance, like with marathon running or when people do thousands of reps in a set. The low-intense long-term endurance stimulates a lot of aerobic and slow-twitch work. Pump actually doesn't happen a lot during these because they are rythmic and muscles are able to briefly relax between repetitions, and the intensity is so light that oxygen is able to keep up with demands so what little lactate may be produced (if any) doesn't overwhelm the body's ability to get rid of it faster than it's produced.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    I think that whatever kind of exercise you do, is beneficial for muscle building.
    Not necessarily. Very low-intensity long-term exercise (like running a 6 hour marathon) probably is not, and could cause muscle-breakdown for fuel.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    I personally use bands all the time during my workouts because weights are extremely hard on your joints
    'Hard on joints' isn't an inherent property of weight. If lifted slowly, there's no reason to think weights would be any harder on joints than bands would. The danger with weight (specifically mass) is during explosive or high-speed things when we rapidly encounter things in a ballistic fashion like overcoming inertia or counteracting momentum.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    me being a woman, that is crucial to my health because us women already have joint issues naturally.
    I'm a little irked, you don't think men also have natural joint issues? Perhaps women have a higher likelihood of vulnerability in certain joints, I'll accept this.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    I do, however, use, both, my bands and some ankle weights when I'm working out my legs.
    Seems sensible. In something like a leg raise for the abductors (lying on one's side) a stretch band would help to add resistance in the top as it diminishes since weight is hardest to lift at the bottom when the leg is perpendicular to gravity. It would eventually be 0 at the top when the leg is parallel with it.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    I also, have a set of dumbbells that I don't use for the simple fact, that I cannot find them haha, but if I could, I probably would use them every now and then.
    Good luck, I hope you find them.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    When you increase you tension, it is no different than if you were to use free-weights and increase the weight.
    This is untrue. The higher the resistance of a band, the more predominantly you deal with resisting elastic forces and the less you deal with mass-based forces (gravity/inertia/momentum affecting your limbs or body). Using light bands can still feel very much like normal weightlifting if you are lifting your body or limbs (or if you are using bands in conjunction with weights). Using heavy bands in conjunction with nothing else will feel increasingly more "bandish" if we have to call it something.

    Originally Posted by Deederville View Post
    posture is extremely important, especially when using resistance bands since you're not just lifting one weight and working out one muscle group only. Resistance bands puts resistance on every part of your body.
    This is not true. The parts of your body that either weightlifting or resistance band training will put stress on depends on the movement you are doing. If you are lying on your back and pressing a dumbbell or a band, neither movement is going to significantly be stressing your calf muscles. So please throw out that 'every part of your body' garbage, it depends entirely on the movement. It's unlikely there's any exercise which will significantly stress every single part of your body. Inevitably, some muscles are going to be quiet because they would impede the movement if they were working as anything but a dynamic stabilizer.

    Both weights and bands can work out multiple muscle groups. I don't know where you got the idea that weights would only work a single muscle group. This depends on the movement. Whether you do an elbow curl with a dumbbell or a band, you're going to be significantly working your elbow flexor group, and minimally stimulating others. You'll get some isometric wrist flexor stability in the middle and some grip work at the bottom, and your body will do a little balancing, but that last part's minor in comparison. The lower back will do isometric stability if you lift heavy weights with both arms to the front, yeah, but really feeling it there probably means someone has a weak lower back and should perhaps do more deadlifting. I know I suffer that imbalance.
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    Originally Posted by a_chris_1 View Post
    I can't find this anywhere else on the forum for some reason... can you build muscle with heavy resistance bands as efficiently as you can with weights?
    No, absolutely not. No set of bands ever produced has anywhere near the capacity for muscle growth that a good power rack and olympic set have.
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    Originally Posted by JasonDB View Post
    No, absolutely not. No set of bands ever produced has anywhere near the capacity for muscle growth that a good power rack and olympic set have.
    You have some kind of omniscient awareness of every band ever produced and their capacity?
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