Scientific studies suggest that resistance bands yield comparable results to free weights when matched with equivalent resistance. This means you can achieve impressive outcomes and significantly boost your muscle mass using sports bands, provided you adhere to specific key principles. In this article, delve into the 5 essential principles to boost your resistance band workouts and maximise your muscle gains.
Guideline 1: Stretch Your Resistance Bands for Immediate Tension at the Start of the Movement
To build muscle with resistance bands, it's vital to sense resistance right from the outset of the movement, ensuring consistent muscle tension throughout the exercise. The gradual resistance of fitness bands, which increases during the movement, isn't an impediment to muscle gains, as long as you feel adequate resistance at the movement's start to engage your muscles.
To achieve this, ensure you properly stretch your bands to create tension on the elastic tube even before you begin your movement.
- When performing a Biceps Curl, position your feet shoulder-width apart to secure the training bands rather than keeping your feet together.
- For pulley-exercises with the door anchor or anywhere anchor, as Overhead Triceps, move far enough from your support to stretch your bands before starting the exercise (around 2 meters).
- Regarding strength training exercises where the bands are not fully stretch due to their length, as Deadlift or Bent Over Row, several tutorials are available on our YouTube Channel or our Fitness App to show you how to shorten the resistance bands and feel the tension from the start of the movement.
💡Good to know: thanks to its unique manufacturing process, SmartWorkout Resistance Bands for Strength Training has been designed to offer you the most part of their resistance from the moment they start to stretch: you will feel easily the resistance and the tension on your muscles during all exercises.
Guideline 2: Maintain Muscle Tension During the Eccentric Phase for Maximum Muscle Strengthening with Bands
The second principle reinforces the first: apart from correctly stretching your gym bands to feel tension at the movement's commencement, it's crucial to maintain tension in your muscles throughout the exercise, including the eccentric phase (returning to the neutral position after contraction).
It's often tempting to release bands between repetitions, particularly during the eccentric phase when tension diminishes. However, this practice isn't optimal for muscle development, as your muscles aren't engaged throughout the set. Furthermore, it could disrupt your nervous system by constantly shifting from a tensed to a relaxed state within a repetition.
For example, during a Bent-Over Row, control the descent instead of abruptly releasing the resistance band bar. After completing the movement, avoid leaving your arms extended in a resting position; immediately proceed with the next repetition as soon as you no longer feel tension in the elastic bands. This helps maintain muscle tension throughout the set, similar to training with free weights, thereby optimising strength training workouts.
Guideline 3: Prioritise a Stable Position for Optimal Results with Fitness Bands
When training with resistance bands, having a stable position is essential to generate more force and achieve better muscular results.
A stable position refers to an exercise where you can provide maximal effort without losing your balance. For instance, securing the rubber bands with your feet provides more stability than using a door anchor (or an outdoor anchor) because the bands tend to pull back toward the anchor point, especially with higher loads.
For the best resistance bands exercises involving heavy loads, such as Deadlifts or Bench Presses, it's crucial to secure your resistance training bands under your feet or behind your back. This enhances your stability and allows you to exert your full strength for the exercise.
Pulley-based exercises with resistance bands are better suited for isolation exercises, where the load is lighter. However, there are compound resistance band exercises that require anchor use, like the Lat Pulldown. In such cases, the key to optimising your workout is to find a stable position. For instance, during Lat Pulldowns, you can lean your torso at a 45-degree angle to avoid being drawn forward by the band. Similarly, during Chest Presses with an anchor, adopt a stance with one foot in front and one behind to maintain stability and posture.
Guideline 4: Embrace Sets to Muscular Failure
Sets to muscle failure are highly effective for stimulating muscle growth. Fortunately, resistance band trainings are well-suited to these sets.
A set to failure is where you train until muscle exhaustion, meaning you can't perform any more repetitions.
During resistance band workouts, muscles tire more rapidly as they're engaged across the full range of motion. Generally, in strength training exercises, our mechanical leverage favours the contraction phase. This applies to exercises like Bench Presses, Biceps Curls, Squats, and Deadlifts, where we naturally have more strength during contraction than at the start of the movement.
Because elastic resistance is progressive, increasing in line with your strength curve, it allows for complete muscle engagement throughout the movement's duration, not just at the outset. Consequently, you reach muscle exhaustion quickly when training with fitness bands.
To maximise effort and complete body strengthening, continue repetitions while gradually reducing movement amplitude as you can no longer fully stretch the bands. For instance, towards the end of the set, perform reps at 75%, then 50%, and finally 25% of the amplitude until you exhaust your strength and can't stretch the exercise bands any further.
Remember that sets to failure carry a higher risk of injury than traditional sets. However, the advantage of long resistance bands lies in their ability to reduce the risk of muscle injuries, making them a valuable addition to your home workout routine.
Guideline 5: Don't Hold Back on Resistance If You Want to Build Muscle
This final guideline applies equally to free weights and resistance bands strength trainings: increase the resistance! One of the most crucial factors for muscle growth is mechanical tension, i.e., the force and resistance applied to muscles during effort. Yet, many enthusiasts still hesitate to push their limits with heavy-duty resistance bands, primarily using them for cardio or functional training.
The resistance level that promotes muscle hypertrophy is one where you reach muscle failure in 6 to 20 repetitions. For example, if you reach muscle failure in 25 reps using a 20 kg band, you can safely increase your resistance by 25 to 30%.
Challenge yourself and regularly increase resistance to create progressive overload and training progress. The SmartWorkout resistance bands with bar set's advantage lies in its range of resistance, allowing you to adjust the load from 10 to 260 lbs in 10 lbs increments, providing suitable resistance for all your exercises.
A tip: keep track of the resistance you use to motivate yourself to increase it. You can use an app like SmartWorkout, which features a "Tracking" tab to record the resistance used for each exercise session.
Conclusion: Build Muscle with Resistance Bands with 5 Simple Principles
Achieving rapid muscle growth with adjustable resistance bands is attainable by following these 5 muscle-building guidelines:
- Pre-stretch your sport bands to feel tension at the start of the movement
- Maintain muscle tension throughout the movement, including the eccentric phase
- Choose a stable exercise position
- Prioritise sets to muscular failure
- Use higher resistance
Unfortunately, these principles won't be helpful or feasible without the right workout equipment. The SmartWorkout Elite resistance band set allows you to adhere to all these principles and enhance muscle growth. With a high total resistance of 360 lbs, a resistance bar for strength workouts, and a library of exercises for muscle gain and workout routines with resistance bands, this set will allow you to optimise each training session and make the best use of your time.
By following these 5 principles and utilising the SmartWorkout Elite, the best resistance bands set in the UK, you're increasing the likelihood of achieving maximum muscle gains through resistance band workout routine!
Order your SmartWorkout Elite set today!