Can I Use Resistance Bands Instead Of Dumbbells?

Whether you are traveling or just don't have the space for dumbbells resistance bands can help in these situations. A lot of weighted workouts can be substituted with resistance bands.

So can you use resistance bands instead of dumbbells? 

Resistance bands can almost completely replace dumbbell exercises. You can't perform all the exercises the same but you can do modifications for the dumbbells workouts. For example a sitting dumbbell bicep curl would need to be a standing curl with resistance bands. The bands can also be much safer for some exercises while also being able to do more exercises like band pull-ups.

They can also be used together to compliment each of your workouts. If you do a home workout programs there might be days you can't access your dumbbells, but can bring your resistance bands with you that huge positive.

Advantages Of Using Resistance Bands Over Weights

Bowflex has been selling similar equipment to resistance bands for many years and making a killer profit. So there is definitely many advantages to resistance bands over using weights.

  • Manipulation – basically what we mean by this is you can manipulate where the resistance is coming from pretty easily. So if you want to simulate pull-ups based on your position and how you pull those are the muscle groups you will workout. So for example if you are kneeling you can get down a bit lower and can work those lats much more effective. Where if you are standing you can work you can emphasize the work on your back muscles.
  • Safety – yes if the band breaks it can cause an injury although mostly just a slap on the wrist. Make sure to always check your band for any cuts or abrasions. Have you ever been doing a heavy bench press with dumbbells and just didn't feel comfortable through the whole process. This is one exercise where a lot of injuries happen when you are trying to lift dumbbells to get them into position or while performing the actual exercise. With resistance bands you have no tension until the exercise is performed so you can just focus on your form versus worrying about the weight.
  • Keeps you honest – with resistance bands you create the tension with your movement so you really can't force reps where with weights you can shift and move to get that momentum to force reps. Its okay to force reps once in awhile to complete a set, but they really don't do much for you.
  • Rehab – if you have ever rehabbed a muscle you have probably used resistance bands to work on during your session. This again is because you create the resistance with your movement so you can push the limits as much as you want to.
  • Changes In Resistance – with free weights depending on what you have, but you will need to usually change the weights to increase/decrease resistance. With resistance bands you can make a loop, create a bigger loop, move your feet out and other options to quickly increase the resistance and decrease as well.

Below are some further answers to questions you might have on resistance bands.

Can I Use Resistance Bands Instead Of Dumbbells For Home Gym?

Resistance bands are a great replacement for dumbbells in a home gym. As anybody with kids knows your home gym may turn into your living room or the play room or wherever your kids may be. You can take your resistance bands anywhere with you even to the back yard. You can simulate pretty much any gym workout using resistance bands there are even attachments to further help you do things like a pullup or bench press.

Can I use Resistance Bands Instead Of Dumbbells For Bench Press?

Resistance bands can be used instead of dumbbells for bench press in a number of different ways. You can simply put under your back foot and step forward. This way you can complete the pushing motion. With a simple door wedge attachment you can simulate incline, decline and regular bench press with your resistance bands with ease.

Can I Use Resistance Bands Instead Of Dumbbells For Zumba?

Resistance bands are usually a good idea over dumbbells however not always when it comes to Zumba. If you are doing the dancing portion I would not use resistance bands as it would hinder your ability to move quickly that is why dumbbells are used. Zumba is focused mainly on cardio with the dancing exercises. They do now have a class concentrating on Zumba toning where resistance bands may be incorporated to replace dumbbells.

Can I use Resistance Bands Instead Of Dumbbells For LIIFT4?

Resistance bands can be used instead of dumbbells for LIIFT4. There is a resistance band modifier throughout the program to easily do this in your home or on the road. If you have dumbbells we would highly suggest you use those to get the full muscle building advantages of the LIIFT4 program. The modifier option is a separate screen so make sure you look for the MOD button to enable.

Can I use Resistance Bands Instead Of Dumbbells For 21 Day Fix?

Resistance bands are a great fit to use instead of dumbbells for 21 Day Fix. Most of the workouts they either show using resistance bands or explain it out for you. There are a select few you will have to figure out on your own but it is quite easy to do. If you have no clue just go to Google and type in “Workout” + with resistance bands. So for example “bicep curls with resistance bands”. Go right to videos or images tab to get a better visual of what to do since it will be quicker.

Can I use Resistance Bands Instead Of Dumbbells For Beachbody Programs?

Most all Beachbody programs have a resistance band version of an exercise making them a great thing to use instead of dumbbells. The only program you shouldn't really use resistance bands for is Body Beast since this is meant to put on more muscle and you should be really pushing the heavy weights. When you get to this point Dumbbells will be your best option. For the pullup portion of Body Beast the resistance bands is a great alternative to the pull up bar. But for programs like LIIFT4, P90x programs, 21 Day fix, among others resistance bands work great.

Can I use Resistance Bands Instead Of Dumbbells For 10 Rounds Beachbody?

You can use resistance bands instead of dumbbells for Beachbody's 10 Rounds. It may not be the best option but it will work to get the job done if that is all you have. You already do use the resistance bands for the warmup, core workouts and cardio portion of the boxing. Joel does add them in during week 4 as a burner for the weight workouts.

Can I use Resistance Bands Instead Of Dumbbells For Muscle Burns Fat Beachbody?

Resistance bands should not be used for Beachbody's Muscle Burns Fat. You are moving around too much so it would slow down that movement that is needed to get the results you deserve. You will need a light, medium, and heavy dumbbells to go along with the cordless jump rope.

Resistance Bands VS Weights

Below we curated information from numerous forums so you can get actual opinions from average people using Resistance Bands and Weights so see which they prefer and overall opinions.

Real Users Of Bands Opinions

1.  Soulsizzle “Great Tool” – Resistance bands are a great tool for doing certain accessories at home, but the fact is they don't allow progressive overload in an easily measurable way. For strength training, being able to add resistance in clearly measurable increments is essential. Because of this, weights (either barbell or dumbbell) are pretty much necessary.

2. Regularfo129 “Isolate Movement” – Resistance bands are poor for strength training. When you're using free weights, you are – surprise – moving weight. This is not the case with resistance bands. Having heavy objects on your body (e.g. squat) or holding onto them (e.g. deadlift) puts stress on muscles, tendons, and joints. They all get strengthened in unison.

Resistance bands only imitate and isolate a certain movement pattern, whereas with free weights you're actually doing the movement, be it lifting dumbbells over your head or whatever. Resistance bands are a lot like machines in this regard. For any kind of strength training, always prefer free weights.

3. NimbleKit382 “Provide Difference Points” – They are no way the same, the resistance bands will provide different forces at different points – for example once they are stretched further out they will provide wayy more force than they did when they weren't stretched out

4. Arg_Max “Different points of resistance” Resistance band behave like a spring throughout a large part of their range, ie resistance increases linearly. So if you do a pullup with a 20kg weight plate you get the same increase in resistance at any position, if you use a resistance band and attach it to the ground and yourself, you will get very little extra resistance at the bottom position. Especially for pullups that's pretty crap as the bottom position is the hardest part for most people and you won't train it effectively with a band.

5. Xiaxiao12 “Vary in strength” – Most importantly the bands vary in strength depending on how much they are stretched. This means that it's less precisely quantifiable what the difficulty level is. Another important difference is that the bands have practically no inertia so you can't ‘cheat' by swinging etc e.g. comparing dumbell bicep curl and rubber band bicep curl.

6. AquaticBonnie “Great Addition” – Personally I think bands are a great addition to a bodyweight workout for targeting specific muscles in isolation (really helped my shoulders), adding resistance to certain movements, or helping lower your weight for progressions like getting to do a one-arm chinup. Plus it really helps for training biceps.

7. Baffled_Soap “Take up less space” – To summarize, bands take up less space & are less expensive. Make sure you don't go so cheap that they snap on you, though. Personally, I think they're less effective if you're trying to bulk up, but there are people here that have used them to bulk up. Weights are great because you don't have to make loops out of them to change the resistance; they're just there being consistent. But they take up a lot of space & require an investment to get the right array.

8. Amlucent “Bands are acceptable” – I am lucky enough to have both a nice set of bands and a pair of bowflex adjustable dumbbells. Bands are acceptable but you should treat them as a temporary solution until you get weights or a way to work out while traveling. You can pick up just a few dumbbells at a time and get heavier ones as you need them. I recommend looking at craigslist, exercise equipment goes for pennies on the dollar on craigslist. Used weights with a little rust will get you just as ripped..

To answer your question, the “weight” on resistance bands is wildly inaccurate. If you do get some make sure they are quality so they won't snap on you. I can recommend the bodylastic brand. You can find them on Amazon for about $35 for a set.

9. Anonanonetc “Can't scale like plates” – A single resistance band represents a single variable weight. A single plate represents a single static weight. Using only a resistance band runs the same problem of using the same weight over and over. You need progressive overload to grow muscle. If you had a bunch of resistance bands that had increasing “loads,” that could work. But I don’t feel like that’s ever going to scale as much as plates will.

10. SirKolbath “Best if used together” – Use them together. Same with chains that deload as you negative and load as you positive. Football training uses such methods to develop explosiveness. There are a number of vids on YouTube or in the Jefit app.

Final Thoughts

There are many different opinions on this, but overall there is an overwhelming agreement that resistance bands are a great fit in the home gym. Mostly as an add on to weights, but if you are a beginner you can get away with only using resistance bands. As you progress and plateau you may want to look at purchasing dumbbells.

If space is an issue look at adjustable dumbbells we have PowerBlocks and love them. The only thing is that you have to perform your workouts a bit differently but you can change them pretty quickly as well.

So if you are traveling bands are a great way to go I know we bring our bands and lighter weights with us if it is a road trip or just bands if going via airplane.

Never a bad idea to purchase Resistance bands just to have them just in case especially with it being much cheaper then purchasing a set of dumbbells to fill your needs.

You can find our list of Best Cheap Resistance Bands HERE.

Tab Winner

We are fun loving family that lives on a small farm and tries to be healthy. We are not fitness fanatics we are just trying to keep things simple especially with how busy our lives are. We have a few horses, a few dogs, and a young daughter along with a big extended family. Follow us on our journey. I hope you enjoy the website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Please check back for updates!

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