Can You Gain Muscle Mass with Resistance Bands?


Did you know that the earliest recognition
of resistance bands came in 1896 when a Swiss man by the name of Gustav Gossweiler requested
a patent for an elastic exercising device? To be used as a “gymnastic apparatus”
to replace other apparatusesses, Gustav’s invention laid the foundation for other patents
to follow up to this day. And yes, these rubbery tubey porta….bly
things has become pretty popular over the years. Question is, do they actually build muscle? Let’s get one thing out of the way first. If you’re a beginner, absolutely positively
you will see results using bands. Beginners, you guys are lucky. You’ll pretty much respond to any type of
exercise, including band exercises. Let’s also get a few more other things out
of the way. Bands are great for people going through physical
therapy, rehab, and the elderly, since it’s lower impact, easier to control, for the most
part, and something easy to do at home. And yes, bands are extremely portable. You can get all different colors of the rainbow
with very different resistances that can do a bunch very different exercise. Awesome! BUT! Now let’s get to the good stuff. Can it give you all of them beautiful gainz? We know the research definitely show a whole
bunch of muscle growth and strength benefits when it comes to beginners. But as you get out of the phase athletes call
“newbie” gains, making sure to use progressive overload and providing proper stimulus to
your muscles is mucho importante for growth. So, what does that mean for bands? Well, let’s talk a little bit about the
physiology of muscle contraction first. Warning: boring science ahead! Contraction occurs within a sarcomere via
the sliding filament theory, where cross bridges are formed by a reaction between the elements
of contraction, actin and myosin. The head of a myosin filament attaches to
an adjacent actin filament and forms the so-called “bridge” and then pulls the sucker towards
the center of the sarcomere. The more it pulls, the shorter the muscle
fiber becomes. Such as when you go from straight missiles
to gun show! Now, based on different lengths of the muscle
fiber, the amount of force you can produce changes. At its longest, force production is lowest
due to low contact between the contractile elements. In the mid-range, force is the highest with
the most contact occurring. And then weak again at its shortest length,
where you’re fully flexed, due to overlapping. Here, take this funky scenario for example. A guy is pulling a stone towards him attached
to a rope. As he creates slack on the rope, another guy
decides to join in behind and help, producing more pull power. The more they pull, the more and more people
help out, and produce more power! Eventually, they run of rope space and start
stepping back. But, little did they know there was another
group pulling another stone right behind them. The two groups get in each other’s way,
forcing some people out, and force production dwindles. Now, apply this to muscle force production,
and you’ll see a chart like this. Weakest in the beginning, strongest in the
middle, and weak again at the end. I’m not sure if that made any sense… Anyway! You’re probably wondering, “How the heck
does this have anything to do with resistance bands?” Well…I’ll tell you!… After I explain what that means for your traditional
dumbbells! Now, if I were to take a weight where I can
lift pretty confidently at the middle range of motion, where I’m the strongest, the
weight is probably still no good because I can’t lift it for reps at the weakest part
of the range. That means I have to go lighter, of course. But now, the weight is too light in the middle
and I’m not getting the maximal stimulus I need for growth. And as far the bicep curl, I’m not getting
much of a stimulus at the end neither. I know, I know, I said that you’re weaker
at the end of the movement, too. But in this case, something in biomechanics
known as a moment arm, is very short, meaning the line of resistance is very close to the
axis, or your joint or elbow in this case. The shorter the moment arm, the less force
needed to move an object, thus, in the bicep curl, not a lot of force produced at the end. I probably confused you even more than before,
but let’s continue… Okay, now let’s FINALLY look at resistance
bands. The resistance applied from elastic bands
are different from that of traditional weights. Duh! The WAY it is different is that it applies
a growing level of resistance the more you pull through the range of motion. That means, at the very start, the amount
of tension and resistance is at its lowest, and then at its highest at the end of the
movement. That’s good though, in the case of the bicep
curl, because that’s what you want! A growing resistance since you’re weakest
in the beginning, strongest in the middle, and weak but low moment-arm at the end! But, it’s not great for ALL exercises. Take the side raises, for example, where you’re
super struggling towards the top of the movement because the moment arm is much greater. And some bands, especially loop bands that
are stronger, has an extremely wide range of resistance, like this one, where it goes
from 50 to 125 pounds of force, almost 3 times as much from start to finish! So, this is a huge disadvantage to resistance
bands, along with the fact that you’ll grow out of the very light bands really quickly
and then using the heavier bands will be tough because it’ll start pulling YOU instead
of you pulling it. As far as gains, it looks feasible, but only
up to a certain point. Hold on a minute… We know weights have a constant load, which
can be good but it also means not enough resistance for the middle range of motion to create an
optimal stimulus. And we know bands are good because of a continuous
load, but is too low in the beginning and too tough at the end. So, why not combine them together? (windows ta-da!) That’s right! Adding bands onto your weights is probably
the best way to go to compensate for the differences in muscle force production. That means greater stimuli, greater volume,
and greater gains! In fact, the studies back this up, where one
even found, as far as strength, subjects improved their one rep maxes twice as much with bands
than using weights alone. (results may vary)
So, the “smart” way to use bands is to simply use them with your exercises now. But, if you do choose to use bands alone,
maybe you can use it as a warm-up set before jumping into weights. Some people even find it useful to supplement
a workout with band exercises at the end to push volume up a bit more and creating a heavier
pump. And you probably even have some awesome ideas
to use with your bands. And if you do, share it in the comments! Anyway, I hope this video was more helpful
than… confusing, and if you enjoyed it, please like, share, and subscribe! As always, thank you for watching!

100 thoughts on “Can You Gain Muscle Mass with Resistance Bands?

  1. I started bands 2 years ago stopped got back on em this year doin 90 pounds they get u cut and shape the muscle thats wha they doin for me and my muscles harder then ever they never was that way with weights for building muscle they maintain and if u stoped doin weights like me u will lose muscle cause of not liftin but not much i didnt lose much people still think i lift cause like I said im doin 90 pounds of bands for gaining alot of muscle it wont never be like weights but if u wana be all cut bands will do that most people in the world not all buff from workin out so that big look is like played out unless wana be on tv or do contest

  2. Built mybody with bodyweight exercises exclusively for about 2 years and decided to transition to weighted calisthenics which caused me to neglect advanced bodyweight exercises like pistol squats to backflips to muscle ups to levers so I stopped weighted stuff after about a month and decided to add in bands and it was much better supplementary and accessory component to gymnasts and calisthenics athletes work but apart from those specific goals I think it's better to combine them with weights or to focus on weights exclusively. Even as a bodyweight exclusive guy free weights will always be at the top of the food chain, then bodyweight, then bands then machines. But in the end you can build muscle with bands it just won't be as effective as free weights or bodyweight unless you train excessively with them.

  3. The body can't tell if the 100+ pound load you're resisting is iron plates or elastic bands. You can combine more than one of those "lighter bands" you mentioned to get a more specific load using most band-based systems. The video already mentioned the continuous load vs static load advantage of bands. Bands are portable, lightweight, and relatively cheap compared to similar dumbbell sets with the same load. In short, unless you're planning on being a pro powerlifter or bodybuilder, a proper band-based program will be enough. Just don't buy the cheap shit that will snap, even the "high dollar" bands are relatively cheap.

  4. Resistance bands can build muscle by themselves. However you may apply them to weighted or calisthenic training as well. You can use them as a warm up, during, and or after your workout.

  5. Beginners will build muscle simply by not eating whole pizzas every night. LOL.

    Now: before you call me a fat shamer: I'm talking about myself, specifically. A year ago I was scarfing down whole 'zas almost every night. So I know what I'm talking about.

  6. This video was boring and some of what he said was just completely wrong, for instance he said that bands where terrible for side lateral raises which couldn't be more incorrect……..
    I did six sets of that just yesterday, so I know what I'm talking about, this guy has obviously just going off of what he heard and not off of what he has experienced!
    That is an absolutely excellent exercise for bands, it actually feels even better than dumbbells. With dumbbells you can't go all the way down to your sides without loosing tension in the muscle, because after you go to low you loose tension, with the bands under your feet and your feet spread apart, and the bands crossed over you have tension all the way through!
    Also as you come up to the top of the movement the bands only get harder because they are being stretched, unlike dumbbells Wich in that movement get harder because of the weight of the dumbels and as you move your arms higher you are at a mechanical disadvantage!
    The bands, and the bands Handel's don't weight but a few ounces!
    So…….. The only difference with side rases is that with bands you can do a full range of movement and have tension all the way through!
    I alternate with dumbbells and bands every few weeks, but I think bands are actually slightly better in that movement!

    Short and simple…… Hell yes bands can grow biger muscles regardless of how advanced of a weightlifter you are!
    As a matter of fact the more advanced of a weightlifter you are the more important it is to incorporate bands into your training because when you are new to weightlifting you don't need as much variety to keep growing but when you are Advanced you need more variety so actually bands are even more important as you get stronger!

  7. My idea for using resistance bands, since you asked to leave my ideas in the comments? Simple. Use actual bands rather than tubing, and gradually layer multiple ones together. For squats, learning to press overhead may be quite necessary to get sufficient resistance at the bottom of the squat. See how many different bands you can layer together over the course of several months for said compound movements. Then see how much better your posture becomes and how much easier it is to lock out when you want or need to lift something heavy. Maybe don't expect the pull weight of the bands to immediately translate to actual constant weight immediately. Also, unloading some of those band layers a little bit occasionally and executing the concentric phase of the movement as fast as possible (while releasing slowly) may ease the transition to real weight, but don't make that tempo a habit. You definitely won't be able to move real weight that fast at first. Well, that's my little idea. Hope you like it, tell me what you think.

  8. This guy has yet to do a bulk on a resistance bands routine only. I think he'll be pleasantly surprised at what you can achieve without the gym as an advanced user. It's because it's more difficult to grow as an advanced user that is why you should use them. You will have a much better muscle memory connection to contracting therefore will look for the burn more accurately in the strength curve of pulling on the band. Tbh bands are actually an advanced tool because you actually have to know what you're looking for.

  9. Kids gave me one (a medium) for Christmas . It's not eazy. Love using it to worm up with before going on the iron.

  10. I know, old video, and I'm a complete newbie in the fitness/bodybuilding world, but I have a question. Wouldn't resistance bands work better with bodyweight/calisthenics exercises, instead of using them as replacements for weights? Like, I have a loop band that I use for squats, pushups and dips, and it makes the exercises that much more challenging…

  11. Funny that I found this video. The Athlean AX2 program just so happens to incorporate resistance bands in the very same way to get the best of both worlds.

  12. Would there be any change if you double up lighter bands? You mention growing out of the light bands quite quickly, once that happens can you just double up the lighter ones to replace something that would be between the lightest and thickest?

  13. The other thing I like about bands is that they can have resistance in different directions. So, for ravk pulls and shrugs, a band at an angle less than 45 degrees from horizontal, add a short row near the end of the movement.

  14. All I know is this, I pushed iron for 7 years until I was pushing heavy iron. My first stretch tube workout lasted maybe 10 minutes maximum, and I was sore as hell from that single workout for a solid week. There’s gotta be something to these resistance bands. Not only are they portable, but they take up no space in my house.

  15. Why is a 12 year old giving advice on gaining muscle ?
    I honestly used to have a lot of troubling gaining lean mass.
    Anyone who's serious should honestly follow the plan in this link instead. Changed my life
    ​http://bit.ly/2UzcW16​​

  16. That's bodybuilding 101 you're the weakest at the attachments and strongest in the mid-range… bands are only useful working at the end range or the contraction of an exercise….. does anybody remember the Bowflex machine? It's the same idea, it works the end range or the contracted range of a movement!

  17. Short Answer: For Beginners – Yes. For Advanced – No, for the most part. The recommendation is to combine resistance bands with weights to get proper gainz. IMO, you can get results with resistance bands alone too, just of progressive overload with the bands and the proper excercise that give you a full range like bands + dips, pushups, ring(replaced with bands) bicep curls, tricep extensions over the head, etc.

  18. How bout build Speed with Leg Resistance Bands + Angle Weight together? Combine each Strength, get 2X effective result ! ! ! 😀

  19. I'm a beginner (I've strength trained plenty but haven't been at it for a while) and am seeing great gains in strength especially in my back. I never saw these strength gains with dumbbells. I'm using a three band kit from Everlast and haven't maxed out the heavy and medium (used together) bands yet.

  20. Yeah
    When it comes to exercise and supplements there are tons of OPINIONS out there… I just watched a different video from Athlean-x saying that resistance bands do work for building muscle…. It's all about how hard you're willing to work for it

  21. Of course they build muscle, resistance is resistance. They sell high quality bands of all resistance levels now. You can build muscle using weights, your own body weight, bands, lifting rocks, throwing bales of hay, etc…. Our bodies are amazing machines that will adapt to what we require of them. If our muscles are being overloaded, then they will grow and strengthen to help us complete the given task. We can argue about what is the most effective way to build muscle, but any resistance that overloads your muscles will build more muscle.

  22. Wow…i would never have tjought of kombining those things with dumbells. ….just wanted to keep fit ,when i cant go to the gym.Is that realy something people do?

  23. If you have a dumbbell thats a bit too easy to curl with can you make up for it by just doing more reps?

  24. I’m 45 and have forgotten about massive gains. I’d like for my joints and tendons to work well when I’m 55 and so on. My goal is to be lean and strong, so far so good. I LOVE using them👍

  25. Simple answer is Yes they do build muscle, but as you progress you'll need a thicker band.
    Although they have their use nothing compares to actual weights.

  26. I didn't get the case with lateral raises. Why is it bad for the exercise to be harder with bands if I can execute the reps I'm after with proper form?

  27. Why do people use bands, aren't they pretty inconvenient to use? (You always have to buy new ones, etc)

  28. Just watched some Arnold interview where he says to "shock da muscle." Will I gain muscle if I use electricity? How much voltage do I need?

  29. Can you increase protein synthesis with bands? Yes.
    Therefore you can gain muscle mass.

    I mean yes, you will need to be creative with progressive overload to maintain gains over time – but that's actually pretty much the case anyway. They're a great complement to other gym equipment, & whilst they are not good for everything they are certainly good for some things (e.g. facepulls) and that means you can better focus your gym time.

  30. So if I do heavy weights for biceps and I keep going till the point of light weights and then use the resistance bands at the end when I’m almost totally done or totally tired after weights. Should it help right?

  31. Believe me if you apply progressive overload when working out with resistance bands you will get results regardless of whether you’re a beginner or not.

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