Do Resistance Bands Build Muscle?

Resistance bands are inexpensive, efficient, effective, compact, and handy pieces of exercise equipment that allow you to perform myriads of exercises anytime and anywhere. But do resistance bands build muscle? If yes, what are the best exercises to build muscle with a resistance band? Let’s find out the answers based on studies and research.

Do Resistance Bands Help Build Muscle Strength?

Yes, resistance bands can be as effective as weight training (using weight machines, barbells, and dumbbells for building muscle strength.

Training with a resistance band provides similar strength gains in the upper and lower body compared to training with weight machines or free weights (dumbbells and barbells) showed in a meta-analysis published by the SAGE Open Medicine on the National Institute of Health website. 1Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis – National Institute of Health Database

Note: The above meta-analysis included a total of 8 studies, comprising 224 individuals aged between 15 and 88 years who had a systematic habit of performing strength training.

Resistance band workouts can be useful for building muscular strength but they are not superior to other forms of resistance training for improving functional performance and muscle strength. 2Effects of Elastic Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Functional Performance in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Do Resistance Bands Exercises Activate More Muscles Than Weight Training?

Resistance Band Exercises to Build Muscle
Do Resistance Bands Help Build Muscle (Image by User18526052 – www.freepik.com)

The muscle activity during some of the resistance exercises is higher than dumbbell and barbell workouts.

The resistance band exercise elicited the highest muscle activation in the upper body (deltoideus anterior, biceps brachii, and latissimus dorsi) than dumbbell workouts – demonstrated in a study published by the Journal of Human Kinetics. 3Muscle Activity in Upper-Body Single-Joint Resistance Exercises with Elastic Resistance Bands vs. Free Weights – Journal of Human Kinetics

29 participants including 17 men and 12 women (whose mean height was 160-175 cm and age was 23 to 27 years) included in that study.

Another research suggested that the resistance band exercise can be a feasible training modality for lateral pulldowns and unilateral rows in terms of muscle activation. 4 Multiple-joint exercises using elastic resistance bands vs. conventional resistance-training equipment – European Journal of Sport Science

If I conclude, doing weight training using machines, dumbbells and barbells highly activate the muscle, build strength, and increase mass than resistance band exercises alone.

However, if you’re looking for less expensive but accessible and effective equipment to build muscle, a resistance band can be a perfect choice.

Does Resistance Band Really Build Muscle Mass?

Does Resistance Band Can Build Muscle Mass?
(People photo created by master1305 – www.freepik.com)

Yes, a resistance band can help you build muscle mass. It allows you to perform countless exercises for each muscle group from chest, shoulder, triceps to back, biceps and leg.

The resistance bands also provide a better range of motion, so you can target each muscle specifically.

The resistance band exercises have shown beneficial effects on muscle mass, muscle quality, and physical function in older women with sarcopenic obesity demonstrated in a trial conducted by Scientific Sports and published on Nature.com. 5Effects of elastic band exercise on lean mass and physical capacity in older women with sarcopenic obesity: A randomized controlled trial – Scientific Sports

Note: The experiment was done only on females so the results may and may not be the same for males.

If you increase the intensity and load, allow your trained muscles to recover efficiently, and feed your body healthy nutrients, then you can easily build muscles with resistance band exercises.

You check out recommended nutrition for muscle growth on the National Institute of Health website. 6 Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review – Sports Basel

You can incorporate resistant bands workouts in your routine to increase muscle mass, strength, and mobility.

Although, free weight training is superior to band exercises for hypertrophy because of progressive overhead which plays a key role in muscle growth.

The Best Resistance Band Exercises to Build Muscle

Resistance Band Bench Press To Build Chest Muscle

  1. Place the middle of the band under the bench, grab the handles and lay down on that bench.
  2. Bend your elbows and hold your hands at your sides at your chest level.
  3. Place your feet properly on the ground or keep it on the bench by bending your knees. That’s the start.
  4. Brace your core, inhale and contracting your pecs press the band upward until your arms are fully straight.
  5. Exhale, pause for a moment at the top, and then slowly return your arms to the start. That’s one rep.
  6. Do three to four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions each with as little rest as possible.

Cross Over with Resistance Bands to Build Muscle

  1. Loop the resistance band around the stationary post to an appropriate height.
  2. Grab the handles of the band with a neutral grip, stand against the stationary post and take one step forward.
  3. Keep your arms straight out to the sides (parallel to the floor) with a slight bend in your elbows and palms are facing forward. That’s the starting position.
  4. Squeezing your pecs, bring your arms in front of you until they are together in front of your chest.
  5. Pause for a moment, you’ll feel the contraction in your chest and then return your arms to the start. This is your one repetition.
  6. Do three sets of 8 to 12 reps each with as little rest as possible.

Resistance Band Standing Overhead Triceps extension

Resistance Band Exercise to Build Tricep
  1. Stand in the split stance, place the middle of the band under your one foot and grab the handles with a neutral grip.
  2. Bend your elbows and keep your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing forward and palms facing each other. That’s the start.
  3. Keeping your back straight and core tight, extend your arms overhead until your triceps fully engaged.
  4. Hold and squeeze triceps for a couple of seconds and then slowly lower your upper arms to the start and repeat for the desired number of times.
  5. Keep your elbows as fixed as possible during the entire movement.
  6. Do as many reps and sets as you like.

Resistance Band Front Raise To Build Shoulder Muscle

  1. Stand straight in the shoulder-width stance.
  2.  Place the one end of a resistance band under your feet and hold the other end firmly with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keep your arms straight downward with your palms are facing inward. Maintain flat back and core tight, that’s the start.
  1. Raise the band in front of you until your arms are parallel to the ground.
  2. Hold for a moment, you’ll feel the contraction in your front deltoids and then return your arms to the start. That’s your one repetition.
  3. Complete as many sets and reps as required.

You can also do single-arm front raise.


Lateral Raise with Resistance Band For Muscle Building

  1. Stand straight on the middle of the resistance band with your feet hip-width apart and hold the handles of the band firmly with an overhand grip.
  2. Keep your arms straight at your sides with your palms are facing inward.
  3. Contracting your deltoids, raise the band out to the sides until your arms are in line with your shoulder or parallel to the ground.
  4. Pause for a couple of moment and then slowly lower your arms at your sides. That’s one rep.
  5. Do a couple of sets of 8 to 12 repetitions each with as little rest as possible between sets.

If you don’t have handles attached to the band, you can perform one-arm lateral raise.


Band Upright Row For Upper Muscle Gain

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and place the one end of a resistance band under your feet and hold the other end firmly with an overhand grip, hands hip-width apart.
  2. Keep your arms straight in front of your thighs with your palms are facing inward.
  3. Pull the band upward until it reaches close to neck, your elbows are facing outward and you feel the contraction in your upper trap and shoulder muscles.
  4. Hold for a couple of seconds at the top, squeeze muscle and then lower the band until your arms are straight downward. That’s one rep.
  5. Complete 2-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions with 1-2 minutes rest between sets.

Seated Resistance Band Row to Build Muscle

  1. Sit on your buttock on the floor with your legs are straight in front of you, heels on the ground and fingers facing upward.
  2. Loop the middle of the band around the soles of your feet and grab the handles with a neutral grip.
  3. Squeezing your shoulder blades pull the band toward your waistline until the muscles of your back engaged.
  4. Pause for a couple of seconds, you’ll feel the contraction in your back muscle and then return your arms to the start to complete one repetition.
  5. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each.

Resistance Band Standing Reverse Fly

  1. Stand straight in the shoulder width stance and loop the band around your soles of your feet and grab the handles firmly with a neutral grip.
  2. Slightly bend forward by pushing your hips back and keep your arms straight underneath your chest. Maintain flat back. That is your starting position.
  3. Raise your arms out to the sides until your hands reach at your chest level.
  4. Pause for a moment (you’ll feel the contraction in your back) and then return slowly bring your arms to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the required number of sets and reps.

Standing Band Single arm Biceps Curl

  1. Stand upright and place the one end of a resistance band under your right foot and hold the other end firmly with your right hand.
  2. Keep your working arm straight and tucked at your side. That’s the starting position.
  3. Contracting your biceps curl your arm toward your shoulder until your bicep are engaged.
  4. Pause for a moment, feel the contraction and then extend your arm to the start. That’s one repetition.
  5. Do three 3 sets of 8-12 reps each with as little rest as possible.
  6. Keep your elbow (of working arm) tucked and fixed at your side and avoid driving it back while curling your arm, as it will make your exercise less effective.

Resistance Band Squat

  1. Standing in the shoulder-width stance place the one end of band under your feet and wrap the other end around your shoulder and upper back.
  2. Keep your chest up, back upright and core tight in the standing position. That’s the start.
  3. Bend your knees and push your hips back to squat down until your buttock is parallel to the ground.
  4. Press into the floor through your feet to return in the standing position. This is your one repetition.
  5. Do three to four sets of 10 to 15 reps each with as little rest as possible between sets.

Resistance Band Calf Raise

  1. Anchor the band to the lower point to something and grab the handles firmly and stand straight in the hip-width stance.
  2. Stand upright, bend your elbows and keep your arms at your sides to your shoulder level, palms are facing upward. That is your starting position.
  3. Raise your heels as high as you can, pause for moment, squeeze calves and then slowly lower your heels back on the floor. That’s one repetition
  4. Do a couple of sets of 15 to 20 repetitions each with as little rest as possible between sets.

Final Words

The resistance bands are a great piece of exercise equipment that helps you build muscle strength and mass, stability, balance, grip strength, and flexibility.

They are inexpensive, effective, and accessible that you can use to do a plethora of exercises anywhere such as at home, club, or gym.

If you increase the intensity and load, allow your trained muscles to recover efficiently, and feed your body healthy nutrients, you can easily build muscles with resistance band exercises.

Moreover, combining elasticity band exercises with weight training may help you gain more strength and build muscle mass.

Also Read: How Long Does It Take To Build Noticeable Muscle?

References

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