Not everyone is a fan of using free weights. Which is probably why many are looking to use tools like resistance bands.
But what are some of the benefits of using resistance bands vs dumbbells?
Depending on your fitness goals, you will see that resistance bands can be just as effective as dumbbells.
Can resistance bands bulk you up?
If you’re goal is to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, you may find yourself a bit disappointed. But it still may be possible to get that nice toned look you’re looking for.
Below you will find the differences of using resistance bands compared to dumbbells. Which will give you a pretty good idea which tool will be best to get you the results you’re looking for.
Why Use Resistance Bands?
There are many reasons why someone would prefer using resistance bands to other fitness tools. Many of these reasons I plan on going over in detail soon. But some of the reasons could be:
- You have a home gym
- Rehabbing an injury
Now that you see some of the reasons why one would use resistance bands, let’s go over some of the difference between resistance bands and dumbbells. This should give you a better understand of the benefits of both fitness tools.
Resistance Bands vs Dumbbell Weights
Risk of Injury
Resistance bands used to be a great tool for those recovering from injury or surgery to the shoulder. So it’s safe to assume that getting injured from using them are very minimal.
Due to the fact that not much gravity is required when using bands, the chance for injury is lessened.
Even better is the range of motion that is allowed when using resistance bands. This allows the joints to move freely as possible without having to worry about putting unnecessary stress on them.
Depending on how heavy the weights are and the level of experience you have with using dumbbells, there can be a very high risk of injury. There is always a chance of your shoulder giving out or weights slipping out of your hand.
Although they allow for free movement as you workout, there can be a lot of stress put on the joints. A big reason for this is the body needs to be in a fixed position in order to perform certain movements.
Therefore the gravity put on the weights can cause stress on the joints if the exercise is not performed correctly.
Edge goes to: Resistance Bands
Levels of Resistance
Increasing resistance used to be one of the biggest negatives when it came to resistance bands. You would have to buy multiple bands that gave you the tension you needed to build strength. It’s safe to say that this was a very annoying process.
Now you can buy kits where there are multiple bands that can be attached with ease. Allowing you to increase the tension as you get stronger.
Keep in mind that you are limited when it comes to the difficulty level. You pretty much have to work with whatever resistance band kit you decide to purchase.
The great thing about using dumbbells is that they offer a variety of resistance levels to help you get stronger. If you’ve ever been in a gym, then you know you can find weight levels anywhere from 5 to 130 pounds.
The one negative with this is if you have a home gym, you would need a quite a bit of sets to get an effective exercise. But now with adjustable dumbbells, you can easily adjust the desired weight level with just the turn of a dial.
Edge goes to: Dumbbells
There’s nothing better than being able to bring your fitness equipment wherever you go. This can make working out simple especially if you are someone that travels often.
Obviously bands are very lightweight and portable, allowing you to take your workout on the go.
The weight of dumbbells can make bringing your workout on the go very difficult. There’s really no convenient way to take them with you when traveling unless it is by car. This can cause your workout routine to be very inconsistent.
Edge goes to: Resistance Bands
The versatility of resistance bands make them a really popular choice when it comes to working out. Whether you are working on speed, power or strength, bands allow you to do this with ease.
There are endless things you can do with them when it comes to your workout as bands allow you to perform many different exercises. Using different angles and the range of motion that is allowed can make your workouts both quick and effective.
Assuming you have all the necessary weight amounts to complete your workout, dumbbells also allow for a variety of exercises to be performed.
Also, with the ability to increase the resistance, you can add a level of intensity to your workouts which is key to getting results.
You can pretty much get a total body workout that will help burn more calories, which is key to effective weight loss.
Edge goes to: Both
Another issue with bands was their tendency to break. Which would cause you to have to purchase a new set. Now with advancement in technology, instead of the rubber made bands many are used to seeing, they are now made of a cord like structure.
Allowing for more durability during each workout. Although there is always concern for breakage as wear and tear develops, you can expect the length of use to last for quite a while. Of course this depends on the type of band you purchase.
There’s not a lot of worry when it comes to using dumbbells as they tend to be made of iron or steel. You can use them for years and the most damage you will probably see are some chips and dents.
Since resistance levels are determined by things like the length, width and thickness of the band, it can be difficult to measure how much stronger you are actually getting. So when it comes to tracking progress, it’s not something you can put an actual number on.
This can make it difficult for those that like to track their progress on paper. You would have to go with more of a look and feel to see how you are progressing.
Tracking your progress is made simple since dumbbells are measured by a weighted number. You know exactly if you are stronger as you increase or decrease in weight.
It’s also easier to have an idea of which weight is needed depending on which exercise you are doing. Compared to resistance bands, this can be difficult since there is no accurate way to really measure your strength with.
Are Resistance Bands Effective For Building Muscle?
When determining which tools to use to get the best results, it all comes down to what your goals are. If you’re looking to bulk up and develop a lot of muscle mass, then you might have some trouble using resistance bands.
Since building muscle is about creating enough resistance to tear muscle fibers, and then allowing them to heal, which is how muscle builds. Bands can be a bit limited when it comes to creating enough resistance against the muscles.
More Reading: How Many Calories Can You Burn Lifting Weights?
But if you’re looking to build lean muscle and get that nice toned look, you can definitely achieve them using resistance bands. As long as you get the kits that allow you to switch up the tension level whenever you want.
This will allow you to progress through your workout as you continue to get stronger. Many kits have color coded bands so you can identify the bands with the stronger tension level. This makes getting through your workout much easier.
What Exercises Can You Do With Resistance Bands?
There are probably too many exercises to mention here in this article that you can do with resistance bands. But I will mention the key exercises that help you build muscles the quickest.
Working the largest muscles of the body like the chest, back, glutes and legs, will allow you to see results much quicker as opposed to working smaller muscles like biceps and triceps.
But here are some of the exercises that can be performed using resistance bands:
- Push ups
- Chin ups/Pull ups
- Bicep/tricep curls
- Shoulder press
These are just some of the exercises that can be performed that will give you the best results using resistance bands. There are many more exercises you can find that will allow you to maximize your workouts.
Resistance Bands Or Dumbbells: Which Is Better?
Both tools have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to helping build muscles. But when it comes to deciding which one will give you the best results, that will depend on what you are trying to accomplish.
If you’re trying to maximize the amount of muscle you can build, dumbbells will help you do just that. Since they offer the greatest resistance against your muscles, this will allow you to bulk up more if this is what you’re looking to do.
More Reading: Best Adjustable Dumbbells – A Buyer’s Guide
At the same, this type of resistance can be risky in terms of injury potential. Which makes resistance bands a better option. You may not be able to build the same type of muscles you would using dumbbells, but you can still get great results.
So when it comes to the benefits of using resistance bands vs dumbbells, knowing what you’re goals are will be key to making a decision.
So which fitness tool do you prefer? Feel free to share below.