You step in the gym and are confronted with a myriad of weights, bells, bands, straps, bars, balls, and all sorts of machines that may double as torture contraptions.
The options are endless, but the classic dumbbells and resistance bands tend to be most accessible and are often compared. Which reigns supreme for strength building and overall health?
Well, it relies on your personal preference.
Comparison studies have shown both bands and weights have very similar impact on muscle fiber activation and force production, allow a full range of motion, variable speed, and progressive resistance. Both increase strength, bone density, muscle size, and decrease body fat. Ultimately, you and/or your trainer decide which is better depending on availability, preference, and type of exercise being performed.
Bands are compact, inexpensive, lightweight, perfect for travel, beginners and those recovering from injury. They allow varying levels of resistance because of their elasticity, and allow more functional movement patterns (ie. rotation) as they don’t rely on gravity. Weights are cumbersome (imagine a pair of dumbbells in your carryon!) and possess a very specific load. This makes them ideal for tracking load/resistance capabilities over time, and keeping close record of your strength progressions.
A well rounded training program will incorporate both bands and weights to maximize strength and functional movement for every lifestyle. So, never fret if you have limited access to equipment, keep a band on hand to get a great workout done anywhere! Check out our favorite band exercises to travel with anywhere, any time! And here’s band exercise #2 from our workout library.
Stoppani, Jim. PhD. “Elastic Resistance vs. Free Weights.” Bodylastics.
Lazzari, Zach. “Are Resistance Bands Better Than Weights?” Livestrong. Aug 8 2019. https://www.livestrong.com/article/379676-are-resistance-bands-better-than-weights/
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