Working out is not only my profession but also a massive passion & hobby of mine. I love putting on my headphones and completely losing myself in a workout at the gym. Lately it has become more challenging to stick to a consistent schedule with me traveling a lot more due to work and the current situation with lockdowns and gyms being closed. I got a bit frustrated because my progress slowed down due to lesser opportunities to work out and lesser accessibility to free weights. I wanted to keep growing muscle mass or at least maintain the size I so hard worked for.
I looked through my home gym before leaving town to see what I could bring on the trip to be prepared in case the gyms have to close again. I found 3 different types of resistance bands: tubes, flat bands and closed-loop bands. Although every single type of resistance band has its validity to be in my gym I’ll focus on closed-loop bands in this article. I currently use bands from REP Fitness. You can find them HERE
What are closed-loop bands? You have probably seen people use them before as a pull up assistance which by the way is amazing if your goal is to improve your Pull Up game. These type of bands usually come in different strength / resistance options ranging from 5-15 lbs resistance up to 70-175 lbs of resistance. Now the great thing about a band that size is that it can perform or recreate a 70 lbs dumbbell but only weighs about 0.7 lbs. Another great advantage is that you can easily travel with a set of 5 bands by putting them in a backpack or carry-on. TSA might look at you a little weird but that’s okay.
So I traveled with my new gym in my backpack from LA to Miami without any problems.
ADVANTAGE #1 – LIGHTWEIGHT / TRANSPORTABILITY
After I arrived in Miami I immediately challenged myself to not use a single machine or weight in the gym but to recreate my current routine with bands only. The beginning was challenging but after a couple days of trial and error I exchanged every exercise to the best alternative possible. To my surprise, some exercises such as a hip thrust or deadlift felt even better / more challenging than the original exercise with free weights. The beauty of resistance bands is that you can easily and quickly change the intensity of the exercise by adjusting your grip. I did a bent over row with the 70-175 lbs band and started off very “heavy” meaning I gripped the band really close to the part I stood on. After a couple of repetitions I couldn’t perform full range of motion anymore, so I simply let go of the band and gripped a bit higher. This way the resistance got less and I was able to finish my set with full ROM (range of motion).
ADVANTAGE #2 – EASY & QUICK ADJUSTMENTS
After only 1 workout I was hooked. I loved the way the “NEW” workout felt and how my body had to adjust to it. One of best things about resistance bands is that the resistance gets higher during the movement. Imagine a bicep curl with a dumbbell vs a resistance band. If you pick up a 20 lbs dumbbell you have 20 lbs of resistance throughout the entire bicep curl, correct? The weight can’t get heavier during the set, but a resistance band can. I know it’s hard and nearly impossible to find the exact hand position on a resistance band to find 20 lbs of resistance but the more you pull on the band the bigger the resistance which leaves you with the highest tension on the peak contraction. I for my part loved that fact about resistance bands which is why I’m writing this article.
ADVANTAGE #3 – WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION DURING EXERCISE
Another advantage that resistance bands have over heavy dumbbells / machinery is the price. You can get a set of bands ranging from 5-175lbs of resistance for about $100. In comparison to a set of free weights 5-100lbs which could cost you up to $2,500. Don’t get me wrong, I myself have a set of dumbbells at home and I love it. All I’m trying to illustrate is that you can get similar equipment more affordable.
ADVANTAGE #4 – PRICE
I’m completely in love with resistance bands and I can’t wait to create and come up with new exercises my body isn’t used to yet. If you want to give it a try I highly recommend closed-loop bands over tube bands or flat resistance bands. In my opinion closed-loop bands are more versatile and due to their increased resistance / strength they are more suitable if your goal is hypertrophy.