Resistance bands vs. free weights



When deciding to work with resistance bands or to exercise with free weights, the question is not ‘which is better?’, but ‘how are they different?’. The reality is they target your muscles in different ways. Nevertheless, this is both a common question and a debate that we would like to talk about. Free weights will feel heaviest at the beginning of that arc, while resistance bands make your muscles work harder at the end of the arc. Either way, your body is moving against resistance, in turn, giving your muscles an effective workout.

FORCE The main difference between resistance bands and weightlifting is the difference in force. Resistance bands are driven by elastic force while free weights are driven by gravitational force. Because of this, free weights can only provide resistance in a vertical plane while resistance bands can provide resistance in both horizontal and vertical planes.

SOMETHING NEW You are likely are more familiar with weightlifting and know what exercise you want to complete during the workout and what muscle groups these exercises will work. Resistance bands, however, are a new concept to most. You now need to create a whole new way to hit those same muscle groups which might leave you feeling frustrated and your $49 resistance bands in box until until you move again.

SPACE AND MONEY Resistance bands are a low cost, space saving alternative to gym memberships and home fitness equipment. They also travel easily. If you have mastered the way to get your resistance bands to produce the same results as the weightlifting, you are in luck! MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY If your goal is to improve muscle mobility and flexibility, we advise incorporating resistance bands into your routine. Their flexible nature allows for a greater range of motion, allowing you to focus on deeper stretches and joint mobilization. There are a few ways to increase mobility with free weights, but there are countless ways to do so with bands. Resistance exercising tips: If you are just starting with resistance bands exercises these are some tips to keep you calm and keep you training, even on the days that you can’t make it to the gym.

  • Much like free weights, weight or reps can be progressively added during workouts or routines as your strength tolerance increases.

  • The resistance pattern matches the natural strength curve of our muscles, as the bands increase in weight the further they are stretched. This means resistance bands allow you to feel the tension when you want to, when it’s most beneficial for strength building, rather than as gravity dictates.

  • Like training with free weights, resistance bands can be used for either isolated or compound exercises. The magic is in finding the right ratio of reps and sets which is ultimately dependent on your goals.

  • It is important to keep making improvements and keep track of your progress. You must make the workouts increasingly difficult (i.e. more sets, reps, and most importantly, heavier weight). Don’t let your muscles get bored.

If you want to be the most well-rounded athlete and fitness enthusiast, your best bet is to make use of both free weights and resistance bands. Use resistance bands for HIIT days, explosive bodyweight exercises, and assistance if necessary to complete additional reps. They can also be used for mobility work, warming up, and so on. Use free weights for strength and hypertrophy days. CONCLUSION Booth. As you can see this is a tough one to choose from as use of both resistance bands and free weights contribute to improved muscular endurance and development. If you have an opportunity to do both, we suggest doing so, as combining these exercise methods will maximize your strength, flexibility, mobility, muscle gains, and overall improved health.