5 Key facts about Resistance Training, compared to free weights that you should know:
1) GREATER MUSCLE STIMULUS
One of the biggest benefits of Resistance Training is the variable resistance applied through the full range of motion when using resistance bands. According to Dr. Jim Stoppani, what this means is that when using resistance bands, "The muscle is receiving greater resistance at its strongest point in the range of motion and therefore is receiving more adequate resistance to better stimulate strength adaptations." With free weights, there are actually parts of the movement when the muscles aren't performing much work due to lack of gravity, such as when you do a bicep curl.
2) STABILIZATION & STRUCTURE ACTIVATION
The constant tension from resistance bands adds an element of required stabilization from your body to maintain form during many exercises. This also means that you will often need to activate your core for balance. The need to control them from snapping back into place means greater stimulation and strength through the muscle’s full range of motion, and the pull of the bands reduces your ability to cheat by using momentum.
When you are performing any exercise using bands, every movement is slow & steady and isolates your muscles to a point where your body adapts to the movement and future motions will feel more "controlled".
3) LESS CHANCE OF INJURY WHILE MAINTAINING PERFORMANCE
According to StrengthandConditioningResearch.com, training with elastics bands provides similar and sometimes even greater muscle activity as weight training. One major difference is that is involves a lower amount of force on the joints, which means that more stimulus can be provided to the muscles with less chance of injury. This is also good news for anyone with existing injuries or joint pain, because resistance bands may allow you to continue working out and performing exercises that you can’t with dumbbells.
4) IMPROVED ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE & ENDURANCE
Power resistance bands are extremely effective for athletic training due to the increased load, variable resistance, and instability. According to one study from TheSportJournal.org, “Experienced power lifters and strength and conditioning professionals have claimed elastic band resistance combined with traditional training produces strength gains for several years”. One test using elastic tension for back squats and bench press demonstrated that the bench press increase was doubled, and the back squat one rep max improvement was nearly three times higher after using bands. “The [resistance band] group’s average lower body power increase was nearly three times better than the free-weight only group.”
Research also shows that using bands with weights improves neuromuscular performance and strength more than weight training alone. These bands can also be used for speed and agility drills for various athletic purposes.
5) MORE WORKOUT/EXERCISE OPTIONS
With dumbbells or barbells, you are limited to certain body positions in a vertical plane of motion to use the force of gravity. When using resistance bands, you can perform exercises in both the vertical and horizontal plane. For instance, you can do a chest press or back row in a standing position rather than having to use a bench. You can also train perform sideways movements, ideal for athletic activities like swinging a baseball bat or golf club, as well as and daily tasks like opening a door or moving a box.
-The BodyBoss Training Team