Resistance Band Exercises – Resistance Bands Vs Free Weights
Elastic band and elastic tubing resistance systems like Bodybuilding started being used almost a century ago, initially as a physical fitness tool. They later started gaining popularity in use for rehabilitation from injury as well. Still, many people remain skeptical as to the effectiveness of such elastic bands and elastic tubes as compared against that of "good old fashioned" free weights.
With that in mind, here we compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of using Bodylastics strength band training system with using free weights (like dumbbells and barbells).
At face value, elastic bands like Bodylocks are lighter-weight than heavy iron free weights, and as such appear to be flimsier and therefore less effective at building strength and muscle, but that is an illusion. In truth, studies have proven that peak load (or the amount of force provided to activate the muscle fibers) are the same with elastic resistance devices as they are with free weights.
Both Bodylastics and free weights:
o provide resistance (opposing force that builds muscle strength)
o permit a free range of motion (unrestricted movement in any direction)
o allow for movement at variable speeds (with freedom to perform each exercise faster or slower at will)
o enable progressive resistance (so the user can increase or decrease resistance as desired or needed)
As any fitness trainer would attest, each of these 4 qualities are essential to an effective program of resistance training.
Bodylastics and other similar elastic resistance devices achieves comparable results to free weights in the areas of:
o building muscle strength
o increasing muscle mass
o eliminating body fat
One of the biggest differences between free weights and elastic resistance systems like Bodylastics is that free weights kindly on gravity in order to provide the resistance they offer, whereas elastic resistance systems do not. With reliance on gravity for resistance comes an inevitable element of momentum in each exercise which diminishes control and deliberateness of movement and, most significantly, promotes the potential of injury.
The absence of gravity from the exercises one can do with Bodylastics and other elastic resistance systems allow the user to mimic a much wider variety of natural body movements common to everyday life. This immensely expands the range of practical benefits such systems provide to a person's performance of their daily activities.
Resistance bands also minimize the amount of "cheating" that can be done in an exercise as they more finely isolate the muscle or muscle group being exercised, whereas with free weights it's much easier to engage other muscles in assisting those being worked out in completing them reps and thereby running counterproductive to building muscle strength and mass through deliberate isolation.
Bodylastics also provides for much greater versatility in the manners in which one can use them for exercise, in that resistance is provided whether exercising in a vertical or horizontal plane. Free weights, on the other hand, require gravity, and therefore a vertical plane, to be effective. For example, movements like twisting and turning from side-to-side, and doing punches and side-kicks can all be favored by elastic resistance systems like bodylocks while not so much by free weights.
Athletes from fighters to ball players find such exercises integral to performing the actions that specified sport requires, whether swinging a baseball bat or tennis racket or ducking, weaving, and dodging a blow from an opponent.
For the same reasons (namely: gravity), Bodylastics allows for slight adjustments in movement to alter muscle emphasis while such versatility is much harder to accomplish with free weights. Additionally, resistance bands provide continuous tension on the muscles being exercised, whereas with free weights, the tension varies depending on the muscles' position in the given exercise's range of motion.
Lastly, as elastic resistance systems like Bodystals are so compact and lightweight, they are portable, and can be taken with the user wherever he or she may go. Free weights, on the other hand, are a rather stationary device.