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How to Get the Most Out of Working Out with Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are an effective workout tool—not only can they be used to supplement your regular weights, but they can be used alone for a more effective workout focused on continuous muscle contractions.

If you want to get the most out of working out with resistance bands, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Mix it up with bodyweight training. Want to make your bodyweight training even harder than it is? Use resistance bands! For example, do push-ups with a resistance band across your shoulders and back. That way, the difficulty will increase as you push up, forcing your chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles to engage. Or try doing Pull-Ups using resistance bands wrapped around your lower legs. The higher you pull, the greater the strain. This addition can make any bodyweight exercise significantly harder!

Mix it into your resistance training. If you want to make your weightlifting harder, use resistance bands in addition to your regular weights. For example, run a set of resistance bands around the dumbbell you're curling, and it will force your muscles to work harder as you reach the peak of your curl. Or, try using a set of resistance bands when you perform cable pull-downs to engage your biceps, shoulders, and upper back more effectively.

Do it as an "after set." If you want to increase your muscular endurance while focusing on your muscular strength, perform an "after set" using resistance bands after every heavy weighted set. For example, do your regular bicep curl set of 6-10 reps, then immediately transition into a curl set of 12-15 reps using a lighter resistance band. It will activate the fast-twitch muscle fibers and lead to better muscular endurance. Plus, it will help to build up to muscular fatigue more quickly.

Finish your workout with resistance bands. If you don't want to mix the resistance bands into your regular workout, at least finish off your training session with a few sets of light resistance band exercises. It can be the perfect way to burn off the last of the energy in your muscles and promote fatigue, or to give your muscles an endurance workout on top of the strength training session you just completed. A few light "finisher" sets will do wonders to complete your workout at total muscular fatigue.

The great thing about using resistance bands is that they increase resistance on the part of the exercise that usually has the LEAST amount of resistance. Take a Bicep Curl: by the time your arms pass the 90-degree angle, you're already done most of the hard work. But by adding a resistance band, you force your muscles to work hard all the way to the top of the movement arc. This increases the strain on your muscles, burning more energy and leading to better hypertrophy. The ultimate result: better muscle-building!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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