Ask Alfonso: Are Resistance Bands As Good As Weights?

Hi Alfonso,

I’m new to exercising and I’ve seen on your Instagram that you use bands quite a bit. I asked my friend about them and my cousin (male) laughed and said they aren’t as good as weights. He said I need to use bars and dumbbells to get fit.

Is this true or can I use the bands and tubes for my in home workouts? I don’t have the space for a lot of things and real weights are expensive.



Hey Rebekah! Yes! I do love resistance bands.

But I’ll be honest and tell you that I clearly remember seeing people use them in their routines 15 – 20 years ago and laughing at them. I thought they were wasting their time and had a mindset much like your cousin.

I was wrong.

Resistance bands are AWESOME training tools and as far as I’m concerned, everyone should be using them in their fitness routine.

What’s really cool is that they work well with how your muscles function – in other words the bands resistance gets stronger the more you pull on them or stretch them, the same way your muscle gets stronger as you flex it, they work right in line with your body’s ‘natural strength curve’. We call this progressive resistance.

Also, resistance bands are very much like free weights in that you have to control the range of motion – in fact, I believe they call upon even more core and stability muscles than free weights. They really are quite a dynamic training tool. I also think the risk for injury is significantly lowered when you use bands.

They’re also great for hitting the fast twitch muscle fibers with explosive movements and you can even use them in jump squats, pushups and virtually every other bodyweight exercise. I’m embarrassed that all those years ago I dismissed their use and value. Clearly those people I was watching back then knew something I didn’t.

Years ago I worked out with bands only for three months and I can say for sure they (when used properly) build and maintain muscle mass as well, if not better, than free weights! I know, I just heard a huge GASP from everyone who read that. But I really do feel exercises more when I use bands as , especially the peak contraction at the end of the range of movement. The contractions are more intense. With many free weights exercises, gravity and leverage cause a drop or loss of muscle recruitment in certain points of a lift.

The fatigue I feel afterwards is different than with free weights. That’s one reason why I use bands in some form or fashion in almost every single workout. Too many people think that “resistance” or “strength training” has to be a dumbbell, barbell, kettlebell or something else big and bulky. In truth your body knows no difference – what it does know is if it’s being challenged and if the stress being placed on it warrants muscle growth.

That said in keeping with my philosophy of always changing things up, I’d say use bands as PART of a program in addition to other modes of exercise. There is no one perfect way or tool to exercise with, but anyone who dismisses band use as a viable training method doesn’t know jack!

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