Dumbbells or resistance bands – which should we use for building muscle, and why?
We often hear about the great benefits of strength training, but knowing what kind of resistance equipment can help you achieve your body goal can be confusing even for fitness professionals. A lot of people question if it’s better to use resistance bands or dumbbells? and how we should use them for maximum efficacy. Resistance bands and dumbbells can both help you build strength to be stronger and improve your fitness level, and can be great additions to a home gym setup in case you don’t go to a gym. They’re for sure helping you achieve your body goal. They both have pros and cons and depending on your fitness goals, one may be better for you than the other.
Let’s start with resistance bands
- They’re Accessible.
Resistance bands aren’t expensive. In fact, you can get a whole set with different levels of resistance for as low as $10. They’re also portable and don’t take any space as they can stow away in your drawer, bag, or closet and you can even take them when you travel. As they are easily packed and can use anywhere.
- They work your small muscles effectively.
Resistance bands can be used for most movements that you usually perform with free weights, including squats, triceps extensions, bicep curls, lateral raises, and rows. They also come with a somewhat low risk of injury. overextending your joints is more difficult when using a band as compared to free weights because the elastic simply limits your range of motion. There’s no risk if you dropped a heavy weight on your foot with bands.
Resistance bands are constantly used in rehab exercises because they allow you to target small muscles that otherwise don’t get as much love when your big movers (like glutes, quads, delts) take over. They also allow you to train from a variety of angles that dumbbells might not necessarily allow for. For example, you can push and pull them, which makes them great for rehab work on rotator cuff injuries, shin splints, etc.
They relieve a lot of the load on your joints. Furthermore, you may apply elastic force in any direction. You can more effectively target stabilizer muscles, which is critical for joint injury rehabilitation. This also applies to rehab, as getting those stabilizer muscles in shape is critical for avoiding injury when lifting large weights or participating in sports. This also makes resistance bands great tools for warming up before a more intense strength workout or run. They’re great for activating small muscles.
- They Can Build Strength.
Although they aren’t that heavy compared to free weights, bands still create tension and resistance in your muscles. So definitely, over time, they help strengthen your muscles, especially if you’re building beginner-level strength.
For beginners, bands can build upper- and lower-body strength much like free weights, according to a February 2019 review in SAGE open medicine.
Now let’s talk about dumbbells (free weights)
1- They’re easy to overload and track.
“If you’re trying to put on muscle and make moves in terms of strength gains, it’s going to be a lot harder with resistance bands because you don’t know how much weight is on there.
The way to build muscle and strength is through progressive overload, or gradually increasing weight as you get stronger to keep challenging your muscles so they can get stronger and bigger. That concept is hard to follow with bands because you can’t really track and increase the exact resistance. You can go from a light to a medium to a heavy band, but it’s far from precise.
With dumbbells and barbells, you can measure the exact weight you add or take away. You can add large amounts or increase the weight in gradual, small increments, all while knowing exactly how much you’re moving. For the simple sake of tracking progress, free weights win out.
- They build compelling muscles
For those who desire to develop stronger and larger, free weights are the next stage in strength training. While you may notice improvements in your strength when you initially begin utilizing bands, your development will eventually stagnate. To put it another way, resistance bands may be thought of as a stepping stone to more advanced lifting.
When someone is no longer challenged or reaching a plateau with bands, it’s time to graduate to using free weights.
Resistance bands are available in quite limited resistances compared with free weights — the weight you can lift with a barbell is virtually limitless — so there’s an upper limit on how much “weight” you can use. If you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll need to use equipment that lets you increase resistance over and over and over again.
- They’re Functional
Honestly, you rarely ever pull or lift large stretchy bands in everyday life. It’s a lot more functional to lift a free weight because it’s a lot like the heavy items you may lift in real life (like a suitcase or grocery bag).
You may also learn to move through entire ranges of motion by using dumbbells and other free weights (Rom). After all, resistance bands can only stretch and can only move in straight directions. Although a limited range of motion (Rom) may help newbies nail workout techniques properly. There is a practical benefit to moving weights in multiple directions or planes of movement (safely).
When it comes to burning fat, your workout program is more important than the tool itself. With bodyweight workouts, you can burn as much fat as you desire. As a result, both resistance bands and free weights will work.
All you have to do to burn fat using resistance bands or free weights is keep your heart rate up for the whole 20–30-minute workout. The exercises should be difficult enough to test you, but not so difficult that you can’t continue because you need to rest. A little rest is OK for a fat-burning workout, but you can’t let your heart rate drop below a particular threshold, which varies depending on your age and fitness level. The heart rate required to burn fat is generally 60-70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
HIIT and metabolic workouts are both effective fat-burning exercises that may be performed with free weights or resistance bands. Resistance bands are portable, whereas free weights intending at a gym (or garage). That’s all there is to it.
A set of loop resistance bands weighs around 5 pounds and provides up to 170 pounds of resistance, but a 5-pound dumbbell provides just 5 pounds of resistance.
Resistance bands are popular among regular travelers for this reason. They are simple to transport on the road. They occupy roughly the same amount of space as a pair of jeans. Resistance bands are especially popular among weightlifters since they can be thrown in your suitcase and taken to the park for a nice high-intensity exercise and pump, with the added advantage of vitamin D!
Next, let’s talk about Multiplanar Training!
Sagittal, Frontal, and Transverse are the three planes of motion.
Although free weights are the clear winner in the sagittal and frontal planes, resistance bands are far more effective in the transverse plane and this is due to the elastic vs. gravitational force discussion previously in this essay. You can anchor resistance bands in such a way that you can provide rotational force or resist rotation. To achieve this with free weights, you must first get into certain positions (i.e., high hinge offset position). As a result, resistance bands are far more adaptable in all planes of motion. We can’t ignore the transverse plane if we want real-world strength. Every day, we turn, twist, and rotate, especially if we’re athletes, therefore transverse plane exercises are essential, and resistance bands are an excellent tool for this.
For balance training:
Balance training is one of the most important aspects of fitness that many people overlook. In all aspects of life, balance is essential. We feel that free weights are superior to resistance bands when it comes to strength training. You can load one side (unilateral training) and undertake workouts that actually enhance your balance using free weights. When you utilize an offset training instrument like the steel mace, it’s much more effective. However, by attaching the bands such that tension pulls you to one side, you may develop balance with resistance bands.
All of this is to say that we prefer free weights over resistance bands for balance training since it is much easier to train balance with free weights. To teach balance as successfully as free weight unilateral exercises, resistance bands will take a bit more “thought.”
For muscular endurance:
It’s difficult to say which is superior because both resistance bands and free weights can help you build muscular endurance. We’re going to offer it to resistance bands since they provide consistent tension and muscular endurance activities don’t require big weights (they demand lesser weights with higher volume). Resistance bands provide consistent tension throughout the activity, which is ideal for increasing muscle endurance.
For warming up:
Both free weights and resistance bands can be used to warm up. You only need a lightweight with free weights to get your blood flowing and body temperature up.
Warm-ups, on the other hand, are best done using resistance bands. Like free weights, they may get your blood flowing to your joints and muscles and raise your body temperature, but they can also be used for mobility exercises to ensure your range of motion is adjusted for the activities ahead. Overall, bands are more adaptable for warm-ups and are as effective for each warm-up task that free weights may perform. As a result, you’ll see a lot of folks employing resistance bands before beginning a weight-lifting workout.
We’ll keep it short and sweet this time. Resistance bands have a wider range of applications. They may use for warming up, working out, and recovering. They can use for everything that free weights can use (albeit not as well in some areas), as well as a lot more. As a result, if you’re seeking the most adaptable training tool, bands are the way to go.
Risks & injuries:
Free weights are far riskier to use than resistance bands are. There is no doubt. Gravity has the potential to be a very terrible beast. Free weights provide the biggest benefit in terms of muscle and strength development, but the danger is far higher than with bands.
Bands are wonderful if you don’t care about gaining weight and just want to stay in shape. They’ll do a fantastic job at it, and the risk-to-reward ratio considerably improves. Resistance bands can help you become in shape (i.e., skinny, shredded, toned, move well, and feel good).
Because resistance bands are so adaptable, you can use them for anything from warm-up to exercise to recuperation. They are certainly a one-stop shop. So, if that seems appealing to you, you should absolutely invest in a set of bands.
Other applications for resistance bands include:
Assistance for bodyweight and calisthenic exercises (pull-up assist, dip assist, etc.)
Individual muscle groups such as the legs, chest, shoulders, back, and abs should be targeted. Sport-specific exercises (plyometrics/explosive training) (i.e., rotational power exercises for racquet sports or resisted bear crawls for D-line football players).
If your goal is to put on a serious mass of muscles and build brute power and strength, free weights are the best bet as resistance bands can be better if you’re looking for more versatility, especially if you’re a beginner and you can level up from there and eventually use weights. but after knowing how they’re different and useful for you, you’ll need a fitness plan that will help you get your body goal and make you look better than ever and that’s when HealthCodes DNA comes into place.
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