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Resistance Bands VS Dumbbells

Resistance Bands VS Dumbbells

Resistance Bands VS Dumbbells – Which To Use For THE BEST Results

So the reason you are looking into using resistance bands vs dumbbells is to make the biggest muscle gains and fat loss possible right?

Right!

You want to be sure that you are training for the best results possible, not just “okay” results…

What you are going to find unique about this article is that I am coming from the position of having used both during my journey with P90X, Insanity: The Asylum and P90X2. Most “resistance bands vs dumbbells” reviews out there are from people who have done some reading on the internet and given some opinions…They dont speak from experience. So I am going to explain to you the benefits and downfalls of each form of resistance training tool so that you can make the most informed decision about using resistance bands or dumbbells.

 

Resistance Bands VS Dumbells – The Similarities

When it comes to pinning these two exercise tools against one another, you also need to look at the similarities between the two so that you dont form some sort of uneducated bias toward one over the other.

A lot of people think that you can only get ripped if you go to the gym and lift a ton of free weights, but in reality – you can get ripped from home with free weights and even resistance bands…

So lets set the record straight about what both resistance bands vs dumbbells have to offer: a) both provide some form of resistance, b) both allow a free range of motion, c) both allow variable speed of movement, and d) both allow progressive resistance. All four of these properties are essential for the benefits that come from effective resistance-training program like P90X or P90X2.

 

Resistance Bands OR Dumbbells – The Differences

Aside from the physical characteristics of bands and dumbbells, there are a surprising amount of differences in what you can do with each resistance tool, as well as what type of results you can expect.

But lets break down the differences between the two into advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages Of Resistance Bands

  • The most notable advantage of resistance bands is the transportability of them. They can fold up easily into a laptop bag or carry-on suitcase so that you literally have no excuse NOT to exercise while on the road for work or on vacation with the fam.
  • Another advantage bands have over dumbbells is cost. You can pick up resistance bands for as cheap as $5, but as with any product you usually get what you pay for. I paid $20 for a 100lb pull resistance band and paid another $14 for the handles. I can also switch out the band for something with less resistance pretty quickly which is a nice feature.
  • The potential for increased range of motion with exercises that are more “functional”. You can much more easily use a resistance band with a full range of motion through a baseball swing than you could trying to use a dumbbell.
  • Cant use momentum to get in any cheat reps.

Disadvantages Of Resistance Bands

  • Limited amount of resistance for exercises where heavy resistance is required (think lawnmower pulls)
  • Difficult to accurately monitor strength gains other than “feeling stronger”
  • With increased resistance (stretching of the band), you risk snapping the band resulting in injury…You should see some of the welts I got on my back after some overhead tricep extensions…
  • Variable resistance through the range of motion can produce “dead spots” where you are not engaging muscle fibers fully.

Advantages Of Dumbbells

  • Nearly unlimited levels of resistance (depending on what you have available)
  • You can nominally monitor strength gains and know when you need to bump up your intensity to continue making strength gains.
  • Virtually indestructible (unless you have some cheap adjustable dumbbells), invest in a quality set!
  • Balance – with dumbbells you can lift the same weight in each hand while with resistance bands you can inadvertently have more tension on one side vs the other.
  • Greater muscle recruitment – More of the smaller supporting muscles are used with dumbbells and result in a more complete physique.

Disadvantages of Dumbbells

  • High risk of injury if exercises are performed without the proper form.
  • Takes time to learn proper technique unless you have a trainer guiding you through each movement (Thats why I like P90X…Tony Horton leaves no room for error)
  • The cost of dumbbells can be extremely steep. For a decent set of used dumbbells ranging from 5lbs – 50lbs, you can expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $800. That includes adjustable dumbbells as well.
  • Storing dumbbells can take up quite a bit of room unless you have adjustable dumbbells.
  • Traveling with dumbbells is near impossible unless you want to pay out the but for baggage fees, lol

Here are my P90X results after 180 days of using ONLY bands and a pull-up bar:

 

Should I Use Bands Or Dumbbells For The BEST Results?

Like I said, I have used both bands as well as dumbbells – so let me give you my personal opinion based on the results that I have gotten.

Bands are an extremely effective and useful resistance option if you are on a super tight budget and cant afford a set of decent dumbbells.

If you do choose bands, just be sure you choose a band that isn’t going to prevent you from making strength gains. You dont want to limit your strength and results because you are afraid that your band is going to snap and whip you across the face!

…Trust me, it hurts!

I would recommend getting a set of 3 bands if you are doing a program like P90X, all with different resistance levels depending on your current strength levels and where you want to be after 90 days. I did my first two rounds using a single band and got awesome results, but the reason I snapped that band so many time was because my strength capabilities exceeded the limits of that band. You can shorten the band and increase the resistance by stepping on it, but just be sure you arent over-stretching the band to wear its about to snap…again, it hurts!

Dumbbells are definitely going to get you THE BEST results though.

You are going to be able to monitor and measure your progress much more accurately, therefore you can know whether or not you need more intensity (more weight) in order to continue to produce muscle and strength gains.

You are going to recruit more muscle fibers from supporting tissue during your exercise moves and when your body fat levels begin to drop, you are going to see a much more defined and faceted physique.

The strength gains alone would be the main reason I would recommend you use dumbbells over bands.

…AND when you build more strength, you have more muscle…more muscle burns more fat over time…its a win/win!

I use a set of LifeSmart adjustable dumbbells that go from 5-55lbs. Picked em up for $200 on Academy.com and have been using them for 18 months now! Awesome product!

And here are my 90 day results with P90X2 using dumbbells!

 

Which Do You Prefer?

What’s your take on resistance bands vs dumbbells? Leave a comment below and let us know what you use personally. What kind of results have you gotten? Why do prefer and why? Lets here from YOU!

Be sure to “like & share” this post if you got some value from it!

 

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1 comments
DrewBechtel
DrewBechtel

I use both at the same time. That way there is resistance through the whole movement and you are getting the benefits of both!

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