Resistance Band Training versus Weight Training – Part 1

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Differences Between Resistance Band Training and Weight Training

Do muscles know the difference between resistance band training  vs. weight training?

Muscles do not think or show emotion. They adapt and react to the stimulus that is being applied to them. So chances are they do not know the difference between a dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell or a resistance band.

Therefore, by using a strong enough resistance band we can cause muscles to adapt and react while increasing overall muscle strength—just like if you were using weights.

Benefits of Resistance Band Training

Apply these benefits of resistance band training  vs. weight training and it will become apparent that resistance bands are an unmatched training option to getting the body not just gym strong, but real world strong.

1. Movement isn’t just up and down

Our body during performance or daily activities does not move in single planes or generate force along single force vectors. We are multi-plane, multi-force vector creatures. We must be able to create and control force horizontally, rotationally and vertically.

Weight training can only create force and move in a vertical vector due to the dependence on gravity. Resistance band training  versus weight training can create true vector force in all planes because it is not gravity dependent like free weight training.
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2. Ever try stretching with a dumbbell??

The elastic nature of resistance bands causes muscles to lengthen further when band tension is effectively maintained. Free weights will not cause an overstretching of muscle tissue except in the vertical plane. To gain true flexibility we must be able to lengthen the soft tissues in all planes which means multi-plane stretching must occur.

Resistance bands provide both a passive stretch by using a dynamic stretching system, and an active stretch by challenging the body to go through full ranges of motion during strength training exercises.

3. Deceleration (loading) always comes before acceleration (unloading) of movement

A band’s elastic properties speed up the loading phase of every exercise which, in turn, creates a greater need for eccentric control. Eccentric (loading) strength is the key to an explosive acceleration or concentric contraction.

If loading is poorly controlled, unloading will not optimally happen.

Bands challenge the phase of strength necessary to actually move the applied resistance. Free weights are gravity dependent and cannot alter the effects of gravity.

4. Muscles react, they don’t just contract

Muscles are reactive by nature and take their feedback from sensors that quickly measure muscle or tendon lengthening or tension development. Again, free weights can definitely create vertical vector sensor response but muscles must be strong in all vectors not just up and down.

Only resistance band training can truly create that sensory lengthening needed to train reactively in all planes.

5. Strengthening movements not muscles

It has become a training cliché that it’s all about strengthening movements not muscles. That said, the body moves horizontally, vertically, rotationally and in combinations of all of these. Free weight training (versus resistance band training) essentially allows the body to move vertically.

Yes, you can push weights horizontally and throw a weighted ball rotationally but training with bands versus weights allows you to strength train by actually running, jumping, swinging, hopping and kicking without altering the mechanics of those movements. You can’t run, jump or hop mechanically well with a weight strapped on your back.

Up Next

In Part 2, I will cover the “Real World” benefits of strength training with resistance bands.

Are You Ready to Master Band Training?

If you’re ready to master band training and create a unique position for your business in the fitness market, grab your RBT Certification today and get started on your journey to becoming the resistance band training expert in your area.