Most people think that strength training means heavy weightlifting, such as using dumbbells or barbells. So when asked to use resistance bands, they usually don't believe that these alternatives can give the same results.
While it is true that resistance bands wouldn’t give you exactly the same results from using dumbbells or barbells, these bands still play a vital role in honing your strength when you incorporate them into your complete strength training program.
Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of resistance bands in your strength training.
The concept of resistance bands is simple. The resistance of the band increases as you continue to stretch the band. So, when you use them, the resistance you get from stretching provides a stimulus for your muscles to increase muscle mass and build strength.
Unlike when you use dumbbells or other regular exercise equipment, you use gravity (isotonic resistance) against the weights and you are only limited to using one piece of equipment at a time. But in elastic resistance training (ERT), it allows you to exercise one or multiple joints at a time. You become more efficient and functional as compared to when you do weight training.
You can start off with a single band and move to the next resistance level as you go. Increased resistance depends on the colors and thickness of the bands you’re using.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services incorporated strength training in the national physical activity guidelines in 2008 and recommended that adults should perform moderate to high-intensity activities twice or more every week.
In a 2008 study by Colado & Triplett, they compared 10 weeks of machine-based exercise versus elastic resistance training, both with the same intensities. Results showed that there are no significant differences between elastic and machine-based groups because both exercises significantly increased muscle mass and strength. With that said, ERT provides as much strength and muscle gains without using bulky and expensive weights and equipment.
Performing ERT even for a short time of 6 weeks can increase your strength for up to 10 per cent to 30 per cent for adults. Aside from strength, an individual can increase endurance, power and muscle mass while lowering body fat.
You can also combine ERT with isotonic resistance training which can provide you with greater acceleration and increased power.
Research has shown that the strength curve produced in using resistance bands is the same as the strength curve produced. Aside from this, elastic resistance is not limited to a single plane in motion unlike that of isotonic resistance.
ERT allows multiple planes of resistance: in the frontal, sagittal and transverse planes. So this exercise is best suited for the whole body, replicating multiple joint movements such as running, lifting and even throwing. And based on clinical and biomechanical evidence, ERT is an ideal exercise for functional fitness so there’s no arguing that elastic resistance is not functional.
Here are some tips on how you can get started with elastic resistance:
Elastic resistance training can help you build strength, power and endurance just as well as isotonic exercises do. Even without weightlifting, you’ll still get the same significant gains in muscle and strength minus the expensive and bulky machine and equipment.
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