The basic concept behind strength training is as simple as can be – isolate a muscle or group of muscles, place them under stress by forcing them to act against weight or resistance, and then watch the muscle grow in size and/or strength. So, the classic dumbbell and free weights approach makes complete and total sense. Unfortunately, they can also be an outdated or incomplete workout compared with other strength training methods. One of the approaches that offers more comprehensive results involves the use of resistance bands instead of traditional weights.
The plasticized rubber bands weigh just ounces a piece, but are calibrated in thicknesses or viscosities that match the force of resistance of a specific weight. Then, a person pulls or stretches the band to engage the muscle and expand the band. Upon release, the band returns to its original state. The key benefit that is unique to resistance bands is that no matter what direction the band is pulled, the resistance always applies equally. Conversely, with free weights, the resistance only applies in the direction of gravity. If a person performs bicep curls with free weights there is a point where the exercise ceases to be difficult based on the position of the weight. With a resistance band, however, the resistance is constant. Also unique to resistance bands is the fact that in addition to constantly being present, resistance also increases variably the further the band is stretched. In this way, the muscle must maximize its effort all the way through the entire movement. Though incremental, the small amount of additional effort adds up over time, offering better definition and a more complete strength profile.
And, because bands take up a fraction of the space of free weights, you can pack them and take them anywhere or keep a set with you wherever you might need a quick workout (like, say, the office or your girlfriend’s apartment).