Article provided by Australian fitness industry veteran Tristan Hill from Atlas Sports Conditioning.
Resistance bands have developed an unspoken reputation in the fitness world as an exercise tool for beginners. Some weight lifters, in particular, do not take elastic bands seriously. Perhaps, it’s because of their spaghetti shape and consistency, which is radically different than the iron-clad weights being curled and pressed, that give bands such a bad rep. Due to this outlook, elastic bands are typically marketed toward a less-macho audience. Science is now revealing just how useful bands can be when it comes to muscle building and fat loss.
Bands and Weights
Despite the absence of iron, bands are still a valuable exercise tool. Like free weights, bands allow for a complete and full range of motion, different movement speeds, and varying levels of resistance. Although free weights may be ideal for specific fitness goals, such as bodybuilding or powerlifting, bands can still go toe-to-toe for overall fitness.
Let’s take a look at the top 4 reasons that bands are able to hold their own in the world of fitness.
1. Muscle Activation
Several studies have demonstrated the efficiency of elastic bands when it comes to activating a full range of muscle fibers. You don’t need to be holding large dumbbells to get your muscles working. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared three types of squats: weighted, chain, and elastic bands. All three squats activated the same amount of muscle fibers, proving that elastic bands don’t cheat the individual out of a hard workout.
2. Increases Strength
As mentioned above, bands have received an unfitting reputation, especially when it comes to strength training. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research pitted elastic bands against free weights for increasing muscular strength. At the conclusion of the study, it was revealed that both free weights and bands provided similar increases in dynamic and isometric strength as well as ballistic muscle performance.
3. Ideal For All Age Groups
When it comes to safety during weight training, the most susceptible individuals are children and the elderly. One of the core advantages of the elastic band when being used by a child or elderly person is its design. This soft rubber material is safe to use. There’s no need to worry about a heavy dumbbell dropping and causing injury. Best of all, research is showing that bands are an ideal way to improve the health of senior citizens. As demonstrated in this study from Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, elastic bands proved to be an excellent way to enhance physical fitness levels while reducing the risk for age-related impairments.
The final reason to use elastic bands is the convenience. You can take elastic bands anywhere. If you are an avid traveler who also wants to stay in shape, bands can fit inside any bag or luggage compartment. They are inexpensive, safe to use, and make it easy for the man or woman who has a fitness lifestyle on-the-go.
Despite being soft and colorful, elastic bands are able to provide any fitness enthusiast with a hardcore and effective workout. Safe for all and convenient to own, elastic bands have proven themselves to be an excellent addition to any serious fitness enthusiast’s collection.