9 Reasons Why I Choose Bands Over Weights

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Bands Over Weights

Lifting Weights is Fun … Looking, Feeling and Moving Great is AWESOME!!

Over the past 2 decades since I have been primarily strength training with resistance bands, I have periodically slipped back into my free weight training mentality and returned to lifting weights only to quickly return back to band training.

I often ask myself … why band training??

While lifting weights I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. However, when I began looking at the big picture and started listening to my body, it became very apparent. Lifting weights was not a long-term strength training solution if my goal was to stay committed to a fitness lifestyle that included looking, feeling and moving great while staying strong. Below are 9 reasons why I choose bands over weights.

9 Reasons Why I Choose Bands Over Weights

1. Builds “Whole Body” Strength

The body is functionally a 3-dimensional, multi-planer designed machine. It must be strength-trained as a complete kinetic chain if the goal is to look, feel and move better. Band training has allowed me to train the whole body by applying multiple vector forces, variable training speeds and variable rep resistance all while training in any posture or position I choose to use.

During my years of weight training I found myself using the same exercises, positions and movement patterns. This lead to uncomfortable and functionally unwanted joint stiffness as well as soft tissue pain after most workouts. With band training I still get great results without all the post exercise joint pain.

2. Makes it Harder to Get Injured

Without question, band training is going to be easier to learn and more adaptable to any strength level while challenging the body to be equally balanced throughout the joints. This makes it significantly more joint friendly.

Being completely devoted to a vertical vector force does not allow joint forces to be changed. Over time this causes joint soft tissue and joint surface breakdown which ultimately will lead to micro-trauma and pain if taken far enough. Band training allows you to use different vector forces. This allows the forces on the joints to be evenly dispersed, decreasing joint breakdown.

3. Allows for Tremendous Creativity

Body weight training provides you with multiple exercise options. However, once you have mastered most traditional body weight movements, it becomes difficult to progress without adding in some level of resistance. With dead weight training this requires using tools that are very non-portable and are limited by gravity.

Band training allows body weight training to remain highly portable while being able to impact traditional body weight training with multiple vector forces. This includes assisted body weight exercises that are often too challenging for many of us mortals to do. I guess you could say band training makes body weight training even better. The fact is with bands you can train strength, speed, flexibility, power, fat loss and cardio all with one or two bands.

Bands over weights

4. Improves Your Balance

Balance is all about keeping your base of support over your center of gravity. Therefore, to improve standing balance, strength training must be done on your feet. Resistance band training was designed to strength train in an upright standing posture and does not require lying down or sitting in order to strength train. As a result, band training allows you to continually train balance by constantly challenging your center of gravity over what is typically a standing base of support.

5. Provides Greater Convenience

Band training provides you with significantly more strength training convenience in regards to where, what and how you wish to train on a particular day. The portability, unlimited resistance and multi-vector options allow you to train any movement, anywhere, at any intensity. Free weights can’t do that.

6. Allows for Independence of Gravity

This is a huge benefit of strength training with bands. Being independent of gravity, you can create horizontal, rotational, and combinations of vertical-horizontal and rotational vectors. Not only will your joints love this, but it allows you to attack muscles in 3 dimensions, using a multi-planar approach that really improves muscle definition as well as total body “real world” strength. It also eliminates weak planes and makes sure muscles are working in all directions, all the time.

7. Strengthens the Core With Every Movement

Training on your feet 90% of the time allows you to activate your core by taking advantage of upper and lower extremities having to work simultaneously. This, in turn, forces your core to be on call all the time as a dynamic stabilizer. This occurs far less frequently with dead weight because it only influences the vertical vector.

8. Improves Flexibility While Building Strength

A band is a muscle without a nervous supply. It’s true. A band’s elastic qualities function just like a muscle would. As the band lengthens, the muscle is shortening and as the band is shortening, the muscle is forced to lengthening as long as tension remains on the system. As a result, the band causes a muscle to functionally stretch on every rep as long as you allow the band to keep tension on the system.

9. Offers Affordability and Extreme Convenience

When you look at the number of exercises and the cost per pound of resistance and durability of a flat continuously looped band, it quickly becomes apparent that you are spending pennies per workout as compared to going to a gym or having to purchase equally versatile yet bulky free weight equipment.

One band can provide 40 lbs of resistance variability. One free weight can only create one level of resistance variability. Therefore, it becomes very obvious why, as a strength training tool, bands are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck while allowing anybody to train anywhere, anytime at any intensity and perform any movement.

Bands over weightsDumbell Rack - bands over weights

To me bands over weights came down to using a strength training tool that provided me with the opportunity to strength train for the long-term while allowing me to look, feel, and move great while staying really strong without the joint and muscle soreness that came with lifting weights only.

 
For those of you who are finding that weight lifting is not providing you with what you need, I encourage you to think about incorporating resistance band training using flat continuously looped Quantum Bands as you go to elastic resistance options.
 


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Meet Dave

Dave Schmitz, PT, CSCS, PES has been writing, teaching and training how to implement resistance band training for rehabilitation, general conditioning, and performance since 1996. He is the founder & co-owner of Resistance Band Training— the leading band provider worldwide.

Along with being a co-author of the Amazon best seller, Total Body Breakthroughs, Dave is also the author and producer of numerous fitness & nutrition articles, E-books, DVDs. His passion is focused on trainers, clients, and athletes improve their body’s ability to handle momentum, gravity and ground reaction forces using elastic resistance. Dave also consults online with several high schools, universities, private performance training business and is also on the board of experts for the International Youth and Conditioning Association (IYCA).

4 Responses to "9 Reasons Why I Choose Bands Over Weights"
  1. Wes Lindert says:

    I recently found out that regular push-ups hurt one of my elbows in the down position. I have no problem using two bands while standing doing a chest press.

  2. Dave Schmitz says:

    Wes that is a great modification. Another option may be assisted pushups. Just a thought.

  3. roger says:

    Dave, been using your bands about 10 yrs. What is your opinion on frequency of workouts? I have always thought at least 24 hours of rest between. “Body by Science” by McGuff, M.D. claims 1 w.o. per week, four exercises very intense for about 20 minutes. Then 6 days off. I’m 69 and currently do 3 days upper body w/treadmill and then 2 days lower body, core & treadmill. 30-40 min per session. Any thoughts on any of the above?

  4. Dave Schmitz says:

    Roger,

    How are you feeling with that program??
    Do you have good energy? Joint feel ok? Do you get run down or sick frequently?

    Workout frequency is partially based on YOU.

    Recovery as we age is really important but how much is dependent on how hard you workout.

    Harder the workout intensity, the more time needed from that workout to recover.

    Hope that helps

    Dave

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