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Building Muscle With Rubber Bands: Benefits, Tips, and Exercises

Elastic bands have become a top-rated tool for bodybuilding enthusiasts, whether to work on strength, restore muscle imbalance or even for rehabilitation. Here you will find advice on the benefits of elastic bands and exercises to use them properly.

Until now, elastics were mainly used by physical therapists for rehabilitation. Today they are tools that accompany occasional practitioners or even high-level athletes according to different programs established according to the objectives.

They can build muscle mass, work on speed, strength, recovery, joint mobility or strengthen joints. The space-saving and the ease of transport are among the many advantages of the use of rubber bands.

Elastic bands reduce the risk of injury depending on the amount of tension you put into the effort. The gains in strength, speed and power when using rubber bands are explained by the fact that in the eccentric phase, rubber bands lead to greater muscle recruitment because of the rate and power of the elastic return.

Unlike bodyweight exercises or loads with constant resistance, work with elastics generates variable resistance. The more you pull on a rubber band, the greater the tension, increasing the muscular force required to lengthen and stretch the band.

Knowing this, we can use rubber bands to facilitate the learning of a movement and, on the contrary, make it more difficult by increasing the force necessary to perform it (squats, push-ups…). The elastics can therefore help with specific movements, for example, during pull-ups.

They are strong enough to lift you to the bar and help you start to build strength for pull-ups. The variety of programs with elastics allows you to train without getting bored while reducing the risk of pain and injury. For example, there is a wide variety of “mobility” oriented programs that allow you to increase your range of motion.

Resistance

The resistance of the elastics can be translated into the weight to have equivalence with the dumbbells or the bars of musculation. The correspondence in kg is often indicated on the top of the packaging of the elastic.

Depending on their thickness, they will be more or less rigid and of progressive resistance; the more you pull, the greater the tension because the elastic seeks to regain its original shape.

It is essential to know that there are different elastic bands: flat bands, tubes, or systems with integrated fasteners to attach directly to doors.

All of them are generally made of natural latex. However, do not hesitate to check the composition to avoid those that contain harmful substances.

How, where and for whom?

Elastic bands can be used as part of a muscle strengthening or weight gain program or just as a complement to your usual program to correct specific muscle imbalances. Hang the rubber band on a post or smooth structure without sharp objects so that the rubber band does not get cut as it is handled.

They are made for anyone who wants to build muscle, slim down, gain muscle mass or lose weight. In reality, it depends on the program you set up according to your objectives. Elastic bands are for everyone, whether you are a beginner or advanced in your practice.

Squats: front squat and overhead squat

The front squat:

Walk on the rubber band with both feet and put it on the collarbones. Performing squats with an elastic band will create a permanent tension on the thighs because the elastic band wants to return to its initial shape, and consequently, it will bring the practitioner back to the ground.

As for the squats without a rubber band, it is necessary to keep the wheels stuck to the ground, remain well sheathed with the contracted abdominal muscles, and look ahead. Do not pull your knees in during the execution of the movement. Keep your elbows high, and do not arch your back during the exercise.

The overhead squat:

This involves doing a squat while holding the rubber band taut with your arms extended over your head. The body must articulate around the rubber band to have a perfectly vertical trajectory during the squat. This improves hip and shoulder mobility while strengthening the thighs, glutes, back, abdominals and shoulders.

The overhead squat:

This involves doing a squat while holding the rubber band taut with your arms extended over your head. The body must articulate around the rubber band to have a perfectly vertical trajectory during the squat. This improves hip and shoulder mobility while strengthening the thighs, glutes, back, abdominals and shoulders.

Biceps work

The biceps can be worked with a rubber band in the same way as with a barbell or dumbbells.

Biceps curl

Bend your arms with your hands facing you, then gently release while holding the tension of the rubber band during the eccentric phase. Make an effort to control the movement for efficient recruitment of the muscle fibres.

The ascent of the arms, which is the concentric phase, is essential but not only. It is necessary to know that the work and the construction of the muscle are done much more in the restraint when the arm is held during the descent of the movement. The elbows are fixed and do not move. Contract the abdominal muscles well so as not to hit the pelvis during the training.

Back work

Horizontal pull :

Find a point of fixation for your rubber band, sit or stand with your legs slightly bent and then pull on the rubber band by bringing your elbows along your body.

It would help if you tried to feel the work in the back muscles by having a relatively slow tempo to recruit a maximum of muscular fibres. It is necessary to keep the back straight, the abdominal muscles well contracted. When you bring your elbows along your body, imagine that you have to “crack a nut” with your shoulder blades.

Work on pectorals and triceps

Push-ups:

You can perform push-ups with a rubber band on your shoulders. Hold the rubber band in each hand and place it over your shoulder blades. Get into a push-up position. The rubber band will press you down to the ground so that the concentric phase will be more complex than a classic push-up.

You must try to slow down the eccentric phase (the descent) to recruit a maximum of muscle fibres. The more you will have the hands spread out, the more the pectoral muscles will be solicited. The more the hands will be tightened, the more the triceps will be solicited.

Work of the triceps

Extension of the triceps as with the pulley:

Hang your rubber band high on a door or stair bar. Hold your arms by your sides and reach down to the floor without taking your elbows off your ribs. This exercise replicates the high pulley triceps exercise in the weight room.

Elastic bands are beneficial in bodybuilding, but they are also a perfect complement in the physical preparation of any other sport: martial arts, athletics, team sports… They are also used in the rehabilitation of specific traumas or pathologies.

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