Based on scientific studies, resistance bands deliver outcomes comparable to free weights when employed with equivalent resistance. This implies that you can attain outstanding results and substantially enhance your muscle mass by utilizing sports resistance bands, as long as you adhere to certain fundamental guidelines. In this article, discover the 5 crucial guidelines to enhance your workout sessions with resistance bands and maximize your muscle gains.
Rule 1 : Extend Your Resistance Bands to Feel Tension from the Start of the Movement
To build muscle with resistance bands, it's crucial to experience resistance right from the beginning of the movement, ensuring your muscles are under tension throughout the exercise. The progressive resistance of fitness bands, (resistance that increases during a movement) is not a hindrance to muscle strengthening, as long as you feel enough resistance from the start of the movement to engage your muscles.
To achieve this, ensure you properly stretch your resistance bands to create tension on the elastic tube even before starting your movement. For instance, when doing a Biceps Curl, anchor the bands with your feet shoulder-width apart instead of together.
Application examples :
- On "pulley" exercises performed with a door anchor or an outdoor anchor, such as the standing press or triceps extensions : stand far enough away from your support so that your resistance bands are stretched before starting your movement (approximately 2 meters).
- On exercises where you anchor the resistance bands with your feet, such as biceps curls or squats : spread your feet wide enough to feel the tension in the bottom position.
- On exercises where the bands are not fully stretched due to positioning, such as deadlifts, rows, or bench presses : training techniques and tutorials are available on the SmartWorkout YouTube Channel or the SmartWorkout Mobile App to show you how to shorten the resistance bands and feel the resistance band resistance from the beginning of the movement.
Note : Thanks to its unique manufacturing process, SmartWorkout natural latex resistance bands are designed to provide a significant amount of resistance from the beginning of their stretch, allowing you to easily feel the resistance and tension on the targeted muscle in all exercises.
Rule 2 : Maintain Muscle Tension During the Eccentric Phase for Optimal Resistance Band Muscle Strengthening
Building upon the previous guideline, it is crucial not only to stretch your sports elastic bands correctly to sense tension at the movement's onset but also to sustain muscle tension throughout the exercise, including during the eccentric phase (the return to the neutral position after contraction).
While there might be a temptation to release the bands between repetitions, particularly during the eccentric phase when tension lessens, this practice is suboptimal for fostering muscle development. Disengaging your muscles throughout the set can hinder progress. Additionally, constant shifts between a state of tension and a resting state within a single rest may disrupt your nervous system.
Consider a bent-over row as an example : focus on controlling the descent rather than abruptly releasing the bar. Once the movement concludes, avoid leaving your arms extended in a resting position. Instead, transition promptly to the next repetition as soon as you no longer feel tension in the resistance bands. This approach ensures sustained muscle tension throughout the set, akin to the principles of free-weight muscle training, thus optimizing your at-home muscle building routine.
Rule 3 : Enhance Stability for Optimal Results with Fitness Resistance Bands
When working out with resistance bands, ensuring a stable position is crucial to generate more force and achieve superior muscular outcomes.
Stability, in this context, refers to an exercise where you can exert maximal effort without compromising your balance. For instance, anchoring the resistance bands with your feet provides more stability than using a door anchor (or an outdoor anchor) since the bands tend to pull back toward the anchor point, especially with higher resistance.
For compound exercises involving heavy loads, such as deadlifts or bench presses, it's advisable to anchor your resistance bands under your feet or behind your back. This enhances stability and allowing you to recruit your full strength for the exercise.
Workouts with pulley resistance bands are more suitable for isolation exercises where the load is lighter.
However, some compound exercises with resistance bands may require anchoring, like vertical pulls. In such cases, the key to optimising band use is to find a stable position. For instance, during vertical pulls, you can lean your torso 45 degrees to prevent being pulled forward by the resistance. Similarly, during standing presses with anchoring, adopt a split stance with one foot forward and one foot back to maintain stability and support.
Rule 4 : Prioritise Sets to Muscular Failure
Sets to muscle failure are highly effective in stimulating muscle growth, and this aligns perfectly with the suitability of these sets for resistance bands.
A set to failure involves training until your muscles are completely exhausted, meaning you perform repetitions until you can no longer complete an additional one.
During resistance band training muscles fatigue more rapidly as they are engaged throughout the full range of motion. Typically, in muscle-building-exercises, our mechanical leverage favors the contraction phase. This is evident, for example, in Bench Presses, Biceps Curls, Squats, and Deadlifts, where we naturally have more strength during contraction than at the beginning of the movement.
Since the resistance of elastic bands is progressive, increasing with your strength curve, it allows for full muscle engagement throughout the movement duration, not just at the beginning. Therefore, training with fitness bands facilitates muscular exhaustion quickly.
To maximise effort and complete body strengthening, continue repetitions by gradually reducing the range of motion when you can no longer fully extend the bands. For example, towards the end of the set, perform repetitions at 75% of the range, then at 50%, and finally at 25%, until you are out of strength and can no longer stretch the resistance bands.
It is essential to note that sets to failure pose a higher risk of injury than regular sets. However, the advantage of resistance bands is that they reduce the risk of muscle injuries, providing an additional reason to incorporate them into your home workout sessions.
Rule 5 : If You Want to Build Muscle, Don't Shy Away from Resistance !
This final rule applies to both free weights and resistance bands : increase the resistance ! One of the most crucial factors for promoting muscle mass gain is mechanical tension, i.e., the force and resistance applied to the muscles during exertion. Yet, many practitioners are hesitant to exert with resistance bands, often using them primarily for cardio exercises or functional training.
The resistance level that promotes muscle hypertrophy is one that allows you to reach muscular failure in 6 to 20 repetitions. For instance, if you reach muscular failure in 25 repetitions using a 20 kg resistance band, you can comfortably increase your resistance from 25 to 30%.
Challenge yourself and regularly increase resistance to create progressive overload and training progression. The SmartWorkout resistance band kit's advantage lies in its range of resistance : you can adjust the load from 5 to 120 KG with a 5 kg increment, providing adequate resistance for all your exercises !
A tip : Note the resistance you use to compel yourself to increase it or use an app like SmartWorkout app, which has a "Tracking" tab to enter the resistance used for each workout session and each exercise.
Conclusion : Optimise Your Muscle Gain with 5 Simple Rules
Building muscle quickly with bands is possible by following the 5 tips for muscle gain explained above :
- Pre-stretch your bands to feel the tension from the beginning of the movement.
- Keep the muscle under tension throughout the movement, even during the eccentric phase.
- Choose the position in which you are most stable.
- Prioritise sets to muscular failure.
- Use high resistance.
Unfortunately, these rules are not useful and/or possible if you do not train with the right workout equipment. The SmartWorkout Elite resistance band kit allows you to adhere to all these rules and optimise your muscle growth : with a high total resistance of 165 KG, a bar for increased stability during strength training, and a library of exercises and band training programs provided to maximize equipment use.
By following these 5 rules and using the SmartWorkout Elite kit, the best resistance bands set for strength training in Europa, you stack the odds in your favor for gaining maximum muscle with resistance bands !
Order your SmartWorkout Elite kit today !