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Resistance Bands vs Free Weights

by | Jan 30, 2019 | Optimize Weekly

CONSISTANT RESISTANCE

Resistance training is an excellent way to build muscle and lose weight. Free weights are a staple in the fitness world, but despite their widespread use, free weights have their drawbacks. Let’s analyze some of the key differences between weights and resistance bands. Exercises performed with weights can be performed using momentum throughout the range of motion causing a portion of the exercise to be weightless. Resistance bands provide constant tension through every movement, no matter how fast you move. In fact, resistance bands deliver what is called progressive resistance, which means the resistance actually increases across the concentric phase of an exercise. So not only do resistance bands maintain tension throughout a range of motion, they help develop speed and power.

PLACEMENT OF LOAD

In resistance training, different muscle groups can be targeted by changing the placement of the load on the body. When using free weights, this is accomplished by changing your body position relative to weights you are using. You must move your body to get in the correct position because weights are gravity dependent. Gravity only pulls the weights in one direction and that is down. So we adjust the angle of our body to put our joints in the correct position to work the desired muscles. The big difference with resistance bands is that they provide resistance independent of gravity. Depending on where the end of the resistance band is anchored, you can achieve a different line of pull and target the same muscle groups that you would have had to change your body position to hit using free weights.

THE WEIGHT OF WEIGHTS

The last and maybe most obvious difference between resistance bands and free weights is that resistance bands weigh almost nothing. This is important because it makes resistance bands a much better option for traveling or transporting around. Additionally, when you have a 20 lb dumbbell, it can only provide 20 lbs of resistance. If you have a resistance band that is rated at 20 lbs than, because of progressive resistance, it will provide anywhere from 5 lbs (barely stretched) to 20 lbs (fully stretched) of resistance. So you have a lot more versatility and freedom with resistance bands to work a variety of exercises and clients of different fitness levels.

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