Had you heard of resistance bands before the 2020 pandemic? In the fitness community, resistance bands have always been considered a great tool to develop beginner-level strength and for rehabilitation purposes, but they were still relatively unheard of. Recently, the whole world experienced long periods of lockdown which forced people to workout within the boundaries of their homes. Buying gym-grade fitness equipment at home is not only unaffordable but consumes a lot of space, so naturally, people looked for effective alternatives on the Internet.
Online, there was an explosion of home workout tutorials and recommendations. One of the common recommendations to stay fit at home on a budget was the use of resistance bands. But can you really build muscle with the help of resistance bands? Keep reading to find out.
Can You Build Muscle With High Reps?
While resistance bands are not capable of stimulating the muscle like heavy free weights, you can still gain muscle mass with the high rep ranges. A recent study found that light weight exercises with high reps, performed until failure, was equally effective in stimulating muscle proteins as a heavy weight exercises with low reps.
Gaining muscle will largely depend on progressive overload. Increasing the time under tension or more reps or more sets are practical methods to progressive overload.
This article is not about what's better - bands or free weights - but it's about whether you can gain-muscle mass with resistance bands only.
Tips To Build Muscle With Bands
There are multiple benefits of resistance bands and you will find it easier to gain muscle if you follow the following tips.
One of the biggest mistakes is failing to develop muscle is because of a lack of journaling. Many people get negligent about the volume of training when they train with bands, that's the reason journaling gets crucial.
Start to journal your workout with resistance bands and try to increase the resistance, volume, and quality of the workout to induce adaptation within muscle tissues.
Most people take post-workout nutrition seriously when they work out at the gym but tend to stay careless about nutrition while training with the resistance bands.
Eat enough calories. Keep your nutrition in check, and make sure that you have enough calories a day to develop new muscle tissues.
Progressive overload = more muscle development
Muscle fibers get bigger and stronger as a response to resistance.
You just need to add a few pounds with every workout and you will end up transforming into a stronger version of yourself.
When a beginner starts working out with a resistance band, he/she starts to see results because the muscles are simply not used to doing any kind of physical work. As they progress, adding more resistance gets more difficult with resistance bands: here are the best ways to progressively develop your muscles:
- Increase the time under tension: increasing the time under tension is a great way to build your muscle strength.
- Increase workout volume: if you can add reps to your workout then it's time to increase the number of total sets.
- Increase resistance: bands usually come with limited resistance but you can always increase the number of bands to increase the resistance levels.
- Reducing rest time: reducing the rest time not only helps in burning more calories by keeping the heart rate elevated, but also a practical way to increase the muscle capacity to work harder.
Find the right resistance band
A large variety of bands are available in the market and choosing the right resistance band can be quite tricky. Here at Swimcore we recommend starting with basic resistance bands with handles or also the figure 8 bands.
Cable bands with handle: These are the most common type of bands largely used for the pull and push movements. Cable bands are highly effective in muscle pump and isolation movements like bicep curls, lateral raises, chest press, etc.
Loop bands: Some also call them booty bands since these are extensively designed for the all-round development of hips. Loop bands can take your lower body training to another level.
Pullup bands: Initially these bands were used as a supporter for pull-ups that's why they were named pull-up bands. These are large loop bands which are highly durable and capable of providing a wide range of exercises.
Physiotherapy bands: These are thin bands extensively used by physiotherapists for rehabilitation purposes. Physio bands are also perfect for people and seniors with low strength levels.
Yes, resistance bands can help you build muscle mass if you keep your nutrition in check, stay consistent with training, and take progressive resistance seriously.