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Can You Burn Calories and Build Muscle with Resistance Bands?

Updated on March 4, 2015
Resistance bands are available in a wide variety of styles and strengths.
Resistance bands are available in a wide variety of styles and strengths. | Source

Some fitness enthusiasts tend to assume resistance band workouts are not particularly challenging. However, with the right equipment and routine, resistance bands can give individuals of any fitness level an effective workout. They can be an extremely useful tool for both losing weight and building muscle.

Resistance bands can be particularly helpful for individuals who have difficulty finding the time or money to use more traditional weights or resistance machines. Even if you go to the gym for most of your workouts, purchasing a few resistance bands can be handy for times when you are traveling or too busy to get to your usual workout. Of course, the calories you burn during a resistance band session depend on the tension of the band, the difficulty of the workout and your own body weight.

Lighter resistance bands can be a perfect option for individuals new to resistance training.
Lighter resistance bands can be a perfect option for individuals new to resistance training. | Source

Building Strength with Resistance Bands

Some may think that there is no such thing as "heavy" resistance band training. Many serious physical fitness enthusiasts tend to associate resistance bands only with light, casual exercise routines. But, if you select high-quality, high-tension resistance bands and use them for the correct exercises, a resistance band routine can be even more challenging than many traditional workouts. As with ordinary weights, make sure that you choose a band that is not too difficult for you to handle comfortably; exercising with an excessively heavy band can lead to poor form, drastically increasing your risk for injury.

The right resistance band workout can be challenging for individuals of any fitness level.
The right resistance band workout can be challenging for individuals of any fitness level. | Source

Calorie Burn with Resistance Bands

Your body weight has a significant impact on the total calories you burn during a resistance band workout. If two people perform an identical workout, the one who weighs more will burn more calories. For example, a person who weighs 100 pounds will burn approximately 143 calories during a 30-minute routine of heavy resistance training, according to Bodybuilding.com. A person who weighs 150 pounds will burn about 214 calories in the same amount of time, while a person who weighs 200 pounds will burn about 286 calories.

Many people incorporate a blend of resistance bands and other types of workout equipment into their routines.
Many people incorporate a blend of resistance bands and other types of workout equipment into their routines. | Source

Choosing a Band

The first factor you must consider to ensure that your resistance band workout is sufficiently challenging is the band itself. The bands available in the fitness sections of a typical department store will likely not be sufficient for most fitness enthusiasts. Most dedicated workout equipment stores or online companies, however, will offer a much wider selection of bands. The heaviest are several inches across and 1/2 inch thick, and provide plenty of resistance for even an experienced powerlifter.

Choosing a Routine

The second factor you should consider to make sure your workout is difficult enough to push you to improve is the actual exercises you perform. Compound exercises and supersets, which combine several different exercises into one, can be very difficult and can work very well with a resistance band. For example, try mixing exercises like bicep curls to shoulder presses or explosive squat jumps into your resistance band routine.

Resistance bands make it easy to increase the difficulty of your workout as you become fitter and stronger.
Resistance bands make it easy to increase the difficulty of your workout as you become fitter and stronger. | Source

What resistance workout equipment do you use?

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What resistance band exercises and routines work best for you?

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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      3 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice introduction to the area. Having used then for rehab exercises I know they can give a great workout. They're particularly good when adapted to sports like swimming and kayaking although I do find quality ones expensive.

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