Can you build muscle using resistance bands

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Most people are still training home and a lot of people are realizing that they want an economical way to train home without having to convert a room or their garage into a home gym. Bands are lightweight portable and easy to store, but are they an effective way to build muscle?

short answer is they can be. Now there are some problems with bands and we will go over them along with how you can overcome these problems but first let’s look at the advantages of bands.

I’ve already mentioned lightweight and portable and you can virtually do any exercise with them.

Bands tend to be easier on the joints and you’re less apt to cheat your reps by using momentum or bad form which reduces the odds of injury.

Bands aren’t limited by gravity which allows us to set up some exercises in a way that can protect us from injury. For example, If you have trouble keeping your back in a neutral position when doing bent-over rows you can end up rounding your spine putting yourself at risk of injury. With bands, we can set it up so that we can pull in a standing position eliminating this risk.

Next, I want to talk about the strength curve. With bands the tension is constant but varied, as the band becomes more stretched the resistance becomes more intense, the 2 ways we can use this to our advantage is first, we create a little more time under tension with each rep. An example of this would be a bicep curl with traditional weights they get easier at top of the movement as they lose the resistance of gravity. With bands, this is where the tension is the highest. This top position is also where the bicep is the strongest. Which is the second way we can use this varied tension to our advantage.

Another example would be squats where we are weaker in the lower part of the movement and stronger in the upper part. Bands even out this strength curve providing less resistance at the bottom of the movement and more at the top.

That all sounds good for bands and it’s ability to build muscle. I’ll even leave a link at the bottom of the description to a meta-analysis that found whether you were a beginner or an experienced athlete there was no difference in your ability to build muscle between bands or conventional resistance training methods. This analysis looked at both the flat continuous bands and the tubing type that are typically bought with handles.

But there are problems with bands.
In order to build muscle we must make our workouts progressive at first this might seem easy enough. We advance from the red band to the black band to the grey band. Or some bands come with lb ratings. But there are times when the resistance, is adjusted by the distance our body is away from the anchor point. And it is important to be consistent with this distance from one workout to the next in order to track progress. If we are in a different spot each time we might have more or less reps than our last workout with no idea if we have progressed or not.

I do my banded leg curls on a bench and to keep each workout consistent I step out the distance from the anchor point to the back of the bench. Then track it as 3 sets, 10 reps, black bands, 4 steps from the post. Once I’ve hit my targeted amount of reps I don’t necessarily have to go to a heavier band I can just move the bench one more step away from the anchor to increase the resistance.

While we mentioned the variable resistance of bands as an advantage it can also be a disadvantage, because we might not fully exhaust the muscle through its full range of motion. The best way to overcome this is through part reps. I do this with my tricep pushdowns. Doing full range of motion repetitions until I can no longer complete a full rep then without stopping I do as many part reps as possible until I can’t move the band anymore. Logging how many full reps I did along with how many part reps it took to completely fatigue the muscle. Then in the next workout the goal will be to do one more full rep then the last workout. Watch this video next to find out how to build muscle injury-free. So we can keep working out while having fun.


    44 replies to "Can you build muscle using resistance bands"

    • Lose Fat Get Jacked

      Another great explanation and demonstration Laurence 💪 I’ve definitely enjoyed incorporating band training into my workouts and will continue using them even when the gyms open back up

      • Fit and 50

        Scott, I’ve recently added a cable machine to my workout space, but I’m with you and will still use bands for a few of my exercises.

      • Lose Fat Get Jacked

        Fit and 50 the cable machine is what I’m missing most from the gym. But remaining grateful for the equipment I have 💪

    • Steven Barra

      Very timely for me, as I have added bands to my workout. For me, it’s a matter of finding a sensible, yet challenging routine. I liked the distance analogy … I’ll need to pay attention to that variable. Excellent job, Laurence!

      • Fit and 50

        Building a great routine is part of the fun.

    • BlaineDP

      Good video. I almost view bands as “making all of the muscles functional” type approach. Whether it’s rehab, just starting to work out after a long time off, testing how strong targeted muscles/muscle groups are ect.. with low to medium gains in overall strength pretty much the only result you’ll get. It sounds like I’m knocking using bands but quite the opposite I’ve had to revert to using bands after pulling a groin, hamstring, abductors (piriformis) ect..and they have helped a lot and I will continue to incorporate them into occasional home work outs. I prefer free weights and explosive movements but everyone works out for their specific desired result. I’m 46 and still want to play basketball, baseball and run around coaching kids teams so I need functional strength and explosiveness while maintaining flexibility using foam rolling and other stretching. Find your weak/turned off/underutilized muscle groups, turn them on/strengthen them thru their full range and work on all aspects of your health like the Fit and 50 channel promotes and you’ll have a good long term foundation for the rest of your life.

      • Fit and 50

        The popularity of bands has really risen from physical therapy. Now a lot of powerlifters use them to assist in there training because of the strength curve. I think most people are like you (myself included) using bands as one of the many different tools we have in our tool box to help us build muscle and reach our goals.

      • BlaineDP

        Agreed. You see them added to many exercises that include free weights. I like the point you mentioned about them being easy on body joints also. The older we get the more we realize how important that aspect is. We beat ourselves up enough participating in our sport/sports of choice so our work outs shouldn’t also beat us up… 🙂

    • warak anda

      Already two months now I’ve not been in the gym, instead I workout with the resistance bands daily at home. Muscles still grow. Really really awesome. Thanks bro..😬💪💕

      • Mani Krishna

        @Kiona McNutt share the bands link, which one is good

      • Steve

        Its actually surprising how many exercises you can do with them without a bench, Dumbbells, or even a door anchor, its like when I use weights because my weights are adjustable and it can be a pain to take or add another plate I just use the resistant bands like when doing a bench press just use a band with the Barbell that way you don’t need to keep adding or removing a plate.

      • Nitin Arora

        do muscles grow with resistance band

      • Steve

        @Nitin Arora Yes.

      • iabd98

        Gooddd

    • sirenmuscle

      I got resistance bands since the gyms are closed. I only paid $30 for the on Amazon.. I got a deal as I see they went up in price. I really love them! I love that I can work out as much as I want and when I want without driving to the gym. I have made lots of progress with them and I can definately see muscle growth. It is kind of a thing of thinking where to place the bands as to do the exercise motion as if you were doing a machine or weights by being creative. I learned a few positions from your video here… like the hamstring exercise. I have been telling everyone how happy I am with the resistance bands… they are the best thing! I also have been walking 2 miles a day also which has strengthened my back and stomach. I am on a mission now to be the best I can be. I also have some 25 lbs dumbells for chest press, shoulder press, etc.. and I am using my ottoman/footstool as a flat bench… lol. It works perfectly and I can also put the bands under it also or chest presses….Just have to be creative. Thanks! Subscribed!

      • Fit and 50

        Thank you for sharing your experience and welcome to the channel.

    • Brian Wilson

      I ordered some bands that should be arriving today. I’m looking forward to getting started as I’ve never really worked out before. I appreciate the information and advice in this video.

      • Fit and 50

        Nice! Feel free to message me if you have any questions.

    • John Wicks Dog

      Thanks Lawrence for posing a great question. I believe yes you can build muscle with the bands but it takes a little intelligence. It’s different from weight training AND different from body weight training too. I feel sorry for all the commenters who do 100+ reps and haven’t figured out how to increase resistance by simply stepping out further from the anchor point or grabbing the band in a different spot. The muscles don’t know the difference between iron and rubber, they respond to resistance and time under tension

      • Fit and 50

        Bands check all the boxes when it comes to providing resistance. The rest of it is up to us.

    • Anthony

      Thank you so much for making this video! I run 5+ kilometers per day, but I know virtually nothing about resistance training. The Bow Flex adjustable dumbbells that I wanted a few years ago have gone from $200 to $500 so your video really helped me out! I hope you post more content about resistance bands. I love your content! 🙌🔥

      • Fit and 50

        Stay tuned there will be more resistance band video’s to come.

    • Tony King

      With COVID-19 and the strict rules at the YMCA (must wear mask while working out) I decided to put my membership on hold and workout at home. Yesterday I bought a resistance band but came with no instructions. Thank you Sir for the video now I know what exercises I can do. 🙂

    • Brian Hutchison

      Great to see your assertion you can build muscle with bands! I’m in my early 60s & struggling with a couple of long term (training related!) injuries & relying on bands more & more; in fact, apart from squats & chins, I use them for everything. I’m no expert but personally find bands work the muscle in a more natural way: They stretch as the muscle contracts & keep stretching as you keep pushing the muscle, rather than coming to a dead stop like weights. I feel I can contract the muscle for longer & harder, incorporating elements of isotonics into my reps, without the danger of dropping heavy weights. Looking forward to trying your 5 day split!

      • Fit and 50

        I enjoy using bands too Brian, I have a wide variety of equipment to choose from and adding in bands gives us one more unique way to work the muscle and as you say it is much more joint friendly

    • Swellhead Spur

      Appreciate this, always been into heavy lifting with dumbbells but after injury at the age of 26 my joints can’t handle the pressure

      Bands look like my way forward, you can get some very strong bands too!

      • Fit and 50

        True, I’ve seen bands up to 350lbs resistance and I’m sure they go heavier than that.

    • Black Goblin

      I found for me taking every set to failure works the best with bands. Then going through failure with partials. I don’t worry about the distance or the number of reps.

      • Fit and 50

        That is going to work. I just like to keep track of the other information as it helps me know what the goal is for the next session. Always trying to push for one more rep.

      • Black Goblin

        @Fit and 50 oh yea I totally understand. Just sharing what works for me. Great video! I think especially for beginners who don’t really know what failure feels like yet that your approach is probably the better one

      • Forest Duffe

        Resistance bands give u more of a pump

    • 209 ESOV

      Fit over 50 I know this is a old video,but I use undersun bands,but what I did was use your 5 day a week split routine you put out in the past but I added some extra volume because I know my body.I would like to tell you something.Being a former pro athlete and bodybuilder the use of bands will give you the same results as free weights,Period! Done correctly along with proper diet.Our muscle know resistance.If it comes from a weight,a band,a rock,or a elephant

      • Fit and 50

        I appreciate the testimonial Tom, keep an eye out on my channel. I have a full body band workout coming soon.

      • 209 ESOV

        I will for sure.

    • AL-1407

      Bro, you’re literally the gift that keeps on giving !!!
      I consume it all !!!
      Thank you for everything !!!

      • Fit and 50

        Awesome, glad you’re enjoying the content. More to come in 2022!

    • Kristoffer Miller

      Great info in a short clip. Been doing weights for almost 25 years. Got into body weight, trx, bands, then loop bands. Starting doing a combo of bandsand freeweights and saw a noticeable change. Doing the Undersun bands now after one of my loop bands snapped and getting the same burn and feeling more athletic.

      Your tip to do partial reps towards exhaustion made a light go off! Will be implementing that!

      Thank you and God Bless

    • Dalcore80

      Great video, the anchoring point was something I hadn’t thought of!

      I don’t have the space or money for a decent home gym so just invested in some resistance bands.

      Just wondered what approach most people take, working one muscle set each work out (arms 1 day, chest another, shoulders another etc) or hitting a few with each work out?

      • Fit and 50

        I prefer full body workouts, but I do body part splits too, often combining 2 different body parts in the same workout. I make a point to work each muscle group at least twice a week.

    • Ashley Zacahula

      Thank you for these tips. I have an autoimmune disorder which causes arthritis, I was recommended to start with band workouts. I’m still learning. I used to lift, once I was diagnosed I lost all my weight and muscle 🙁 I’m trying to be positive and start all over again, but I know it’ll be more difficult now. Thanks!

    • Cliff Black

      Brilliant, such detail and so many things that need to be considered. I really appreciate your input, thank you.

    • GraceAveRu

      I’m not 50 yet but this is definitely one of my favorite channels. I’ve learned so much from you bro.

    • mleni12

      Started using bands 3/4 month ago. Used them in combination with free weights/kettlebells and bodyweight exercises. No gym, working out only at home. And I stoped doing bench press or any chest exercise using free weights like barbells or dumbells. My only exercises for chest were diferent pusshups with bands. So few days ago i finaly went back to the gym, and to my surprise – I can now bench more than what i could before. All tnx to bands.

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