You can combine bands and free weights for increasing muscle strength, power and size. Most people who begin training primarily with free weights will tout the awesomeness of free weights as the best mass builder, and sure enough, there are an enormous amount of benefits of weight training, but I think ignoring the benefits of resistance band training would be a mistake.
What Makes Resistance Bands Different From Free Weights?
You should know that one of the main benefits of resistance bands, is the type of resistance it provides. Unlike free weights, resistance band training allows the exerciser to focus on the concentric phase of the movement, as a result of the increased resistance when the band is stretched. The body automatically inhibits the protective deceleration mechanism that is associated with free weight training, since it would be really difficult decelerating with a heavy load when doing explosive movements with all the barbell exercises. Therefore, when resistance bands are attached to a barbell for the bench press, as an example, the athlete is given complete freedom and confidence in their ability to explode during the concentric part of the lift. This is how functional strength and power is developed for certain sports.
There are plenty of ways you can incorporate resistance bands with different types of body weight and barbell weight training exercises. Numerous studies shows that when you combine bands and free weights, you gain more power, strength and more mass, than only with free weights. Studies also show that athletes gain 2x more on bench press, 3x more on squat and 2x more muscle mass. It just makes good sense… resistance bands allow increased tension to be placed with all barbell exercises. This is accomplished by maximizing the stress to the recruited muscles over a significantly greater portion of the ROM for each and every rep in the workout.
Watch Muscle and Fitness editor Dr. Jim Stoppani’s Raw Strength Band & Weights Workout video here, and learn more about building muscle with resistance bands and free weights.
So, the next time you hear someone tell you that you can’t build muscle and explosive power with bands, simply ignore them.
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