If you're an avid athlete and you don't have access to a gym, there are two possible scenarios: you already have resistance bands in your house, or you're considering buying them.
Mike Wilson, strength training specialist and Strength and Conditioning Coach among others, provides text and explanation.
Does it make sense to train with resistance bands at home?
Yes absolutely. Resistance bands are a great substitute for weights in Corona times and are an effective means of exercising at home, especially if you don't have anything else.
So what do you have to pay attention to if you want to buy a set of resistance bands?
You have to be careful that the set has the resistance that is suitable for your level. In other words, don't go for elastics with the most resistance. After all, you can stretch a loose elastic so that you create more tension. But if you buy too strong an elastic you can not make it weaker. In that case, buy something lighter.
What are the biggest advantages of resistance bands?
One of the biggest advantages of resistance bands is that they are excellent for doing insulation exercises. This is particularly useful for your upper body. It is very easy to train your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest individually, so you can get the most out of your muscles.
And where you need a lot of space and storage for weights, elastics are so small that you can even put them in the inside pocket of your jacket. This allows you to work out in your bedroom or in the park for example. Another advantage is the greater mind-muscle connection. This is because the resistance increases the further you stretch them. As the power curve increases so do the resistance. Finally, the load on your muscles and joints is also less intense than with heavyweights. This allows you to recover faster after a training session, so you can also train more often. This is a fun activity to break your day now you have to stay at home 24/7 during these corona times.
What are the main disadvantages of resistance bands?
For some people, it is nice to be able to work with elastics instead of iron but for many serious lifters, it is exactly the other way around. They want to see and feel iron on the rod. It is also still an ego thing if you can tell when you can lift 5 kilos heavier again. That you now grasp the resistance band a little lower is a bit less tough. Furthermore, with real weights it is easier to keep track and whether you are making progress. This allows you to feel that you have reached a plateau faster with elastics which can decrease motivation. It is also more difficult for advanced athletes to find the right training incentives. You simply cannot replace a heavy 1RM squat with elastics. Two other points that I mentioned earlier as an advantage are also a big disadvantage. As indicated elastics ensure less muscle damage. This means that resistance bands are less effective for muscle growth. It is unlikely that you will grow huge biceps or chest muscles with elastics. Nevertheless, they are a good way to keep stimulating your muscles so you lose muscle mass less quickly.
What is your final verdict on resistance bands?
Resistance bands are really good to have at home but also in your sports bag when the gyms are open again. They are certainly not a full-fledged replacement for weights and you will never make as much progress with them as with iron. But especially now that the gyms are closed I advise all my clients to train with elastics so as not to deteriorate. The real progression will come later but then you are in any case not even further from home.
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