You need to pump iron to build muscle, right? Errrr, actually no – you don’t.
OK, so if you’re planning on pitting your brawn against the best at the WA Championships, then, of course, there’s going to come a time when piling up the free weights is the only choice for advancement. But for most of us? There are many ways to build muscle without ever using a single free weight or machine.
The key to building muscle is to create resistance. This can be done by use of your own body weight or (as the name gives away) with the use of resistance bands.
One of the most underrated workout tools of today
OK, so for some reason resistance bands have gone out of fashion. Why that is we have no idea because they have massive appeal and a whole host of advantages, such as:
They provide the means to workout anywhere
The bands are one of the best ways to develop mind-muscle connection (and therefore get more value from each and every rep)
Great for targeting specific muscle groups
Can also be utilised for essential stretches
Different bands create a range of resistance
There are various makes available but they all have bands that vary in the level of resistance they provide. The maximum tends to be of around 100 pounds / 45 kgs. And for most of us, this provides enough range to put all the muscles of the body under enough tension to tone and build. As you improve you’ll need to work your way up from the lower resistance bands to higher ones.
The same as when you use free weights, the goal of working out with resistance bands is to reach muscle fatigue. Workouts with bands lend themselves to higher rep training. So instead of carrying out, say, 10 reps per set, with resistance bands you might do 20 or 30 at a time. This sneaky hack means that you increase volume to your workout though adding reps, rather than adding weight.
The mind-muscle connection
One unique aspect muscle building work with bands is that the harder you pull the band the more resistance it provides. So the peak of the movement equates to peak effort required. What this effectively does is cause your brain to connect to the muscles and drive further exertion.*
If you doubt that this is the case, try pausing at the full extension of the repetition, The burn will intensify in a way that simply doesn’t happen when using free weights.
Targeting specific muscle groups
Bands workouts are a super-effective way of targeting difficult muscle groups, such as those between your shoulders and inner thighs. By providing maximum tension with minimum weight it also provides a safe method of working smaller muscle groups without the risk of overload and related pulls or strains.
And let’s not underestimate the importance of stretching
An often overlooked portion of training, stretches become doubly effective when carried out with resistance bands. They promote a deeper stretch, and therefore increased flexibility, thanks to providing support and often generating more range of motion.
Resistance bands can be used for a multitude of different exercises
You can carry out both upper and lower body exercises with resistance bands. These include:
Leg abduction and adduction
For anyone who wants to discover the many ways resistance bands can be used to build muscle the best solution is to consult the experts. Bailey Fitness has gyms in various locations around Western Australia, each staffed by professionals who’ll be happy to show you how to add them into your fitness program. Take advantage of a free introductory 7-day pass to discover all that’s on offer, and chat with one of the friendly team to find out how you can best use resistance bands to maximise your training. Visit their website at baileyfitness.com.au or pop in for a chat at one of the locations in Southern River, Morley or Baldivis.