How Do Resistance Bands Work? A Complete Guide

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In light of recent events, it’s almost impossible to go out to the gym right now. Even if your gym is open, you may prefer just to work out at home. However, home exercise equipment can be pretty expensive, and many of the best weights and exercise machines are out of stock due to high demand and a slow down in production.

This is where resistance bands come in.

Using resistance bands on their own could be an excellent complete workout. They have many benefits, one of them being that your muscles are working the whole time you’re using them.

But, how do resistance bands work? In this article, we’ll explore the answer to that question.

Let’s dive right in!

What’s the Difference Between Weights and Resistance Bands?

Resistance bands work using force, as weights do.

The difference between them is that when you’re using weights, you’re working against gravity. When you’re using resistance bands, you’re working against tension.

Let me elaborate with an example. If you’re squatting using weights, then the hard part would be coming back up.

So the real exercise and the real muscle tension comes only when you’re coming back up with your arms lifting the weights.

On the other hand, if you have resistance bands around your legs, your leg muscles are working for the entire duration of the exercise. Naturally, your legs shouldn’t sway left and right when performing the exercise.

To maintain this balance when you’re using a resistance band, your calf muscles become tense.

Your muscles are always pushing the sides of the band so that you maintain a balanced posture. The tension of your muscles and the band only stop when you’re done with the exercise.

So the difference between resistance bands and weights is that by using resistance bands, your muscles are always working against it.

You may be wondering, “does this mean that resistance bands are better than weights?”.

Could Resistance Bands Replace Other Gym Equipment?

The best thing you could do to your body is to give it the variety that it needs.

Resistance bands are versatile and can be used to work many muscles of the body. However, incorporating other gear in your workout is always a good idea.

Resistance bands could make a big difference when they’re used with weights. When you’re using equipment, you’re engaging several different parts of your body simultaneously.

Back to the squatting example, what would happen if you’re using weights and a resistance band?

To begin with, your abdomen, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves are all being worked out from just squatting. Using weights will engage your triceps and biceps. Add the resistance bands, and there’s even more pressure on your calves.

Most athletes use resistance bands with weights because it makes a huge difference in increasing strength and power. However, there are some exercises you could try out if you want to use the resistance bands on their own.

Woman during her fitness workout at home with rubber resistance band

The Benefits of Resistance Bands

We’ve already established that resistance bands are fantastic for a workout. Do they have any other benefits?

Compact and Travel Friendly

What could be easier than carrying a lightweight rubber band with you? Mini-resistance bands will even fit in a purse if you decide to put them there for any reason.

This is one of the few workout equipments that could be easily transported.

Versatile

You could use resistance bands in many different ways. You could have it around your body, around something firm that won’t move, or even a c of both. There are no limits with a resistance band because of how easy it is to use. You could get creative and experiment with some new exercises or yourself.

Resistance bands could be used for a full-body workout, a warm-up, or for toning small body muscles. It depends on the band’s resistance and how you use it. The band’s color is a great way to determine what you’re going to be needing.

Yellow

resistance bandsThese are for beginners. They aren’t very tense and so will help anyone just starting out get a feel of the exercise before they begin. They’re mostly used for exercises that involve joints.

Green

You can work out your triceps and biceps with a green resistance band. They have medium resistance so it would be more effective than a yellow band.

Red

Red resistance bands have more resistance than yellow and green bands. As you can tell, they’re listed in order of weakest resistance to strongest.

You can use the red band for muscle work after you’ve built up muscle strength from using yellow or green bands. They work fine for muscles such as the back, arms, or legs.

Blue

This color is harder to pull against. It could be used for bigger muscle groups like back, chest, or legs. Some of these resistance bands could be used when you’re working out with a partner and could be very effective for both of you.

Black

Finally, the boss of all, black resistance bands. These shouldn’t be taken lightly and should only be used if you have developed some muscles. You could use them to work out with a workout buddy or for large muscle groups.

Tips to Use Resistance Bands Effectively

Now that we know that different colors mean different resistance, we need to know how to use them.

There are plenty of fantastic workouts you could do at home with these bands. You could get creative with your workouts but be sure to do them effectively. The following is just one good one we found:

The trick to do so is to make sure that the band is secured in place. You could stand on it with your feet if you’re using a band with handles to make sure it stays in place under your weight.

Secure it however you like but make sure you stretch well when using it. If the band is slacked then you won’t benefit from using it.

These days there are many great portable home gyms that use resistance bands available. They can be used as a full body workout and in place of (or in conjunction with) a gym membership. These often come with training videos and info on how to get good results.

Here are some of the best available:

Final Thoughts

The importance of resistance bands is often overlooked by many people. They’re a great and fun shortcut to developing your strength and muscles fast.

Using resistance bands of the right color and resistance level consistently is key.

Don’t forget to check out different ways to spruce up your workout routine because your mind and body benefit from that. Whenever you can, throw in some resistance bands and start stretching your body.

About the author

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is a husband, dad, fitness enthusiast and personal trainer who has been working out since he was 18 years old. He enjoys the gym as well as exercising at home, and loves testing new fitness equipment and gadgets that aid in fitness and recovery.

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