Do Resistance Bands Work?

Hi Davey,

I was wondering if resistance bands are a good dumbbell alternative for building muscles – or are they only good for toning muscles?

Lots of love,

Hey Sean,

Resistance bands offer many benefits over conventional weights and dumbbells. For one, they’re lighter and more convenient to pack while on vacation. Moreover, resistance bands offer constant tension on your muscles during the entire concentric and eccentric portions of the movement. That’s something you won’t get with free weights wherein resistance is dependent on gravity. And resistance bands can be used to work any muscle in your body; they’re very versatile.

If you’re looking to increase your definition, then resistance bands are a viable option. I’d still recommend incorporating free weights into your routine, but an effective resistance band routine will yield results. I’d recommend keeping rest periods short; as you move quickly from exercise to exercise, you’ll be able to get some great fat-burning cardiovascular benefits as well.

If you’re looking to build some serious muscle, resistance bands alone won’t cut it. They’re great to use when on vacation, or to occasionally switch things up, but not as your entire muscle-building fitness program. To build muscle, you must use a heavy amount of resistance that fully fatigues your muscles in fewer than 10 repetitions. With resistance bands, it’s very hard to max out – and to incrementally progress to slightly heavier levels of resistance. You really need free weights for that level of fine-tuning.

Resistance bands definitely do work – and they can be a great part of any fitness routine.

I hope that helps!


About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Hey Davey,

    My problem with resistant bands is that I never quite get how to hold them the right way. Well, at least it seems so to me. I’m working on a DVD workout program called P90X and it seems like the resistant bands are not really “working”, though it might be because I’m using really light weights (5, 15,20) I am a 21 year old out of shape guy, but I’m not large.

  2. I have a fear of stretching rubber bands.

    • LOL, me too! Every time i use resistance bands i have a fear of ripping them and hit my face haha.

  3. Thank you Davey. That does help a lot.
    Sean xx

  4. yet another versitility for rbbers ๐Ÿ˜‰ I use the resistance bands. The type I have has available an assortment of resistance strengths, plus, the handles I have which works with those bands, has the ability attach 3 bands to each handle at once. So you get a very wide range of usability.

    I’m not really a fitness pro, so these work out my body just fine for my needs. As Davey said, I too use other exercises during my exercise sessions as expressed in the book “You are your own gym.”

  5. Hey,
    I actually have bodylastics and its amazing! You can get something like (254 total) of resistance per side and they allow for adjustment in small increments. You can recreate over 140 different exercises and they fit in the space of a pair of shoes.
    I’m currently in Iraq and do not have access to a gym so I am using these and building actual muscle. Give it a try if your looking for a good home gym that doesn’t take up space!
    I know I sound like an add but I love these things and want to share =)

    • No you don’t! You are not building muscle! Just an illusion.

    • You ARE an ad.
      Bodylastics is a good product but there are WAY too many fake reviews on that.
      Not sure if the company is paying for that?
      As for me, I
      ve used bands and bands only for 3 yrs due to personal reason and couldn’t go to the gym anymore. Bodylastics say their product can provide over 200 lbs and all that.
      Your muscle knows the difference between 200lbs from bands vs 200 lbs from weights.
      With weights, you perceive the most resistance at the begining of a movement when rightfully so, muscle fibers have to get recruited the most to lift up an object.
      Bands work in an opposite way where the resistance gets more as a movement gets made.
      Haven’t met anyone who’s really muscular and claims he/she only uses bands for their training. Bands have their merit but not for noticeable muscle gain.
      Let’s be realistics about that. I met a few folks who advocate the efectiveness of bands like there is no tomorrow. None of them had muscular body..

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  8. Great article, I would like to add that for very strong individuals, many resistance band will not offer enough tension for the muscles to grow, most cheap bands don’t, they are too thin so you have to add them together which is sometimes not ideal.

    I sell resistance bands, and offer high tension ones for strong people. The Black Mamba band has more tension than any other band in existance and my products are used by and recommended by Pemier league Rugby players here in the UK. If you live in the UK, check out ElastiTone. Buy and change your mind? No problem there is a 100 day return policy, no restocking fees!

    Also, no need to be afraid off them breaking as they are enclosed inside a safety sleeve, they cant hit you if th snap ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kind regards

  9. bruno gattuso says:

    I have been using bodylastics for 3 years now and they give me the same results as using free weights and even more superior. I strongly recommend for anyone to use them, as their sole means of developing muscles. I have been training for over 40 years and this is the best kept secret.

  10. Bruno G. says:

    How can some critics say that training with elastics doesn’t really increase muscle size?
    If you train with bodylastics, they are proven to be as effective as free weights.I have been using them for over 5 years now and have gotten away from training with weights and I can attest to serious muscle gains without the pains in the joints that result from free weight training. You just need to know how to train with resistance bands.
    I have been training for over 40 years now and I’m in the best shape of my life.
    Hope that this clears some of the mystery and debate.Thanks.

  11. My hombre is Redamis.
    I no has much dinero for gyns so I buy rubber bands from Boca Ratons company by nane is Buddylastic.
    Mucho bueno this goma for its make me very build and fuerte too.
    My physique is better than Tony’s Hortun fron px90.
    My compadre owner of rubberlastics in Rats Mouth Florida mean that Boca Rataoni is very herculues like guys.
    He do routine DVD and on tibeyu with cardio karaate too.
    Senior Klake Bassell is genius by develop best rubber band exercisio in the mondo!
    And that no man just these truths.


  1. […] out in your room and making use of body-weight exercises (i.e., push-ups, etc.) or buying some resistance bands to keep in your suitcase. They’re easy to travel with and relatively effective. Remember that […]