Are resistance bands good for beginners

Are Resistance Bands Good For Beginners? Why They Are So Effective!

As a beginner, it can be difficult to decide what equipment to start working out with. After all, you don’t want to break the bank. Nor do you want to use anything that’s ineffective! This post explains if resistance bands are good, and more importantly effective, for beginners.

Resistance bands are both good and effective for beginners. They provide resistance that is comparable to free weights, are extremely affordable, and are relatively safe. This makes resistance bands highly suitable for people who do not have any exercise experience.

I’ve got 15 years of weight training experience under my belt, 5 of which have been dedicated to band workouts.

During this time, I’ve tried it all.

Below, I’ll explain why in my opinion- resistance bands are ideal for a beginner!

Beginners Resistance Band Recommendation

You’ll see me using a set of resistance bands throughout this article.

They’re the Undersun Fitness bands (you can find the cheapest price here).

I’ve been using them for over 2 years now.

My recommendation for a beginners resistance band

And having cycled through half a dozen brands in the past and present- both cheap and expensive- I honestly feel these resistance bands provide the best value for a beginner.

By the way, that’s an affiliate link so I get a small commission. But it’s a genuine recommendation based on my 5 years of experience buying and using bands.

How beginners can use resistance bands.

At the end of the day, I could be linking to something much more expensive. But I honestly feel these will give you the best bang for your buck as a beginner (find out why at the end!).

Besides this, purchasing through the link comes at no extra cost to you. And you’ll also be supporting the ongoing production of our blog content (if you like it of course!).

Reasons Why Resistance Bands Are Good For Beginners

You’d be hard-pressed to find any fitness professional worth their salt who doesn’t vouch for the benefits of using resistance bands.

As a beginner, they are a highly effective tool for you to get in shape.

Here are my top reasons why resistance bands are so good for beginners:

1) They Are Extremely Safe

Why bands are safe for a beginner.

Resistance bands have a unique property that makes them relatively safe for a beginner; they provide a tremendous amount of tension for not much weight.

In contrast, free weights (like dumbbells) are the opposite; they provide a lot of tension but they also weigh a lot.

This makes resistance bands relatively safe (for you and your property) compared to free weights.

I know I’d prefer dropping a giant elastic band on my foot rather than a dumbbell any day!

Additionally, resistance bands are commonly reported to be much less aggravating for joint pain compared to traditional weight training.

2) Bands Provide Effective Resistance

Resistance bands are just as effective as weights.
Credit: Shape Log

Beginners commonly overlook the unassuming nature of a resistance band.

And who can blame them?

They are, after all, just one big elastic band!

But don’t be deceived.

The humble band can provide just as much resistance as a traditional weight can, if not more!

This has been shown by the team at Shape Log who measured the force generated during a bicep curl using resistance bands vs a weight machine.

Here, they found that a resistance band curl required the biceps to work harder compared to a traditional weighted curl.

3) A Set Of Resistance Bands Can Replace a Gym

Resistance bands can replace a gym.

I first started working out 15 years ago.

And I vividly remember how much I DID NOT want to join the gym as a beginner.

I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it, and I certainly didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of everyone!

Well, resistance bands can serve as a gym replacement for beginners who would rather train at home.

OK- so you won’t have access to all the fancy machines and gizmos you would find at the local gym.

But as you’ll see below, bands can target all of your major muscles.

And not just target them, but also target them effectively and cost-effectively!

4) Resistance Bands Can Build Muscle Size & Tone

Resistance bands build muscle just as effectively as weights.

I’ve already shared evidence that bands can provide a beginner with a good amount of effective resistance.

So how does this translate into real-life benefits?

Well, the resistance provided by a band works excellently for building muscle size and increasing tone.

This has been shown in a 2019 scientific review.

Here, the author compiled the results of 7 independent studies.

“Resistance training with elastic devices provides similar gains when compared to resistance training performed from conventional devices [such as weights]”

Lopes et. Al 2019

Each study examined the effectiveness of resistance bands vs weights for building muscle, and the review concluded that bands are just as effective!

5) Bands Are Effective For Increasing Strength

Resistance bands increase strength better than weights.

Resistance bands aren’t just effective for beginners to build muscle.

But they can also help you to build functional strength.

Bands have a unique force profile – the tension increases as the band stretch.

And this unique property has been shown by a 2016 study to benefit strength and power gains.

Here, the authors compared strength development in 2 groups of rugby players training their bench press:

  • Group 1- trained with a barbell only.
  • Group 2- trained with resistance bands and barbells.

What did they find?

The players who used resistance bands saw an increased rate of strength gains!


If you’re looking to use bands to get stronger, you can check out my other post for a simple resistance band strength workout program!

5) Band Workouts Are Effective For Fat Loss

How I used resistance bands to lose weight as a beginner.

Not all beginners are looking to build muscle and strength.

If you belong to the other group- more interested in burning fat – then I have good news for you.

Resistance bands are an effective way for beginners to lose weight!

This has been shown in a 2022 scientific review which compiled the results of 18 trials that studied a total of 669 overweight individuals.

The authors concluded that resistance bands are an effective way for beginners to improve body composition by reducing body fat!

I can vouch for this.

Resistance band HIIT workouts helped me to get down to ~12% body fat for a lean and toned appearance!


To find out why resistance bands actually work so effectively, you may be interested in my other article which explains how resistance bands work!

6) Resistance Bands Can Be Used For Cardio

🔥 INTENSE Cardio and Abs Workout with Resistance Bands 🔥

Resistance bands can also be effective for beginners to start cardio training.

If you don’t have a treadmill or don’t want to deal with the grief of running outside, then you can turn to your bands.

More exercises exist than you can do. Just go on Youtube for workout inspiration.

Most of the workouts primarily revolve around bodyweight movements such as squats, jumps, lunges, etc.

The bands are simply there to increase the intensity and really ramp up your heart rate!

7) All Muscles Can Be Effectively Trained Using Bands

How to use resistance bands to target the full body as a novice.

Bands may not be as glamorous as their free-weight rivals (dumbbells, kettlebells, etc).

But trust me:

Beginners can use resistance bands to effectively target ALL muscles in the body.

You just need to know which movements to perform.

The main compound movements alone (chest press, shoulder press, row, squat, and deadlift) are sufficient for a full-body workout.

Then you also have the smaller isolation-type movements (bicep curls, tricep extensions, glute extensions, crunches, etc) which can target specific muscles.

Trust me- there’s no shortage of resistance band exercises to work your desired muscle!


You can check out my other article for a list of my favorite band exercises with pictures for beginners!

8) Resistance Bands Are Cheap & Convenient For Beginners

Resistance bands are cheap and convenient for a novice.

Probably THE best reason why resistance bands are good for beginners:

They’re cheap as chips!

Some premium brands can cost hundreds.

But speaking from experience, mid-range models like these Undersun Fitness bands (link for the cheapest price) can be just as good for a fraction of the price.

For under a hundred bucks, you have yourself a gym replacement.

And this can help you to build muscle, lose fat, and get toned!

Resistance Training EquipmentTypical Cost For A Full Home Set-Up
Resistance band set$50
Adjustable dumbbells$500
Fixed-weight hex dumbbell set$1000
Kettlebell set$400
Barbell and rack$1000+

Oh, they’re also super convenient to store and use.

For example, the Undersun bands come bundled with a nifty travel pouch.

You can use them at the park, beach, or wherever you like. And they can be stuffed in a wardrobe or drawer when you’re not using them!


Durability and lifespan are common concerns with bands. You can check out my other post for more information on how long resistance bands last!

Should Beginners Use Resistance Bands?

Beginners can and should use resistance bands. They are a safe and effective resistance training tool for a novice to achieve a variety of goals. Bands are commonly used to build muscle, increase strength, lose weight, and improve general fitness.

I’ve already given you 8 of my favorite reasons why resistance bands are great for beginners.

So it’s up to you to decide whether you want to take it up!

Just know that they are a perfectly suitable option for a beginner to start working out.

Whatsmore, they aren’t constrained to beginners either.

Resistance bands are also popular with advanced athletes too.

Take, for example, James Grage and Erin McCombs; two bodybuilders who focus exclusively on heavy resistance band workouts to build muscle.

And if bands are good enough for them, they must be good enough for us!

How To Use Resistance Bands For Beginners

First of all, you should ideally have more than one resistance band on hand.

I usually recommend 3-5, each giving you a different level of tension, for best results (see next section to find out why).

Beginners can start by doing light isolation-type exercises like:

  • Bicep curls.
  • Tricep extensions.
  • Chest flyes.
  • Lateral raises.
  • Ab crunches.
  • Leg kickbacks.
  • Glute bridges.

You can refer to my other post (linked in “Reasons Why Band Exercises Are Good For Beginners” point 7) for more resistance band exercises to begin your training with).

The above resistance band exercises are considered to be relatively simple and safe, making them ideal for a beginner.

As you get stronger, you’ll want to progress onto a heavier band to keep yourself challenged.

Remember, your workouts should fatigue you.

If they don’t, then you should find ways to increase the intensity (add weight, reps, or sets).

How a beginner should use resistance bands.

When you are ready, you can then focus on a training goal as follows:

  • Building muscle and strength. Focus on big compound movements like pressing, rowing, squats, and deadlifts for full-body muscle gains. Smaller isolation-type movements like curls, kickbacks, and extensions are good for defining specific muscles. Aim to do 6-12 reps per set, 4-6 sets per exercise per session, 2-3 minutes rest between sets, and using a weight that challenges you.
  • Cardio and fat loss. Compound movements are ideal for cardiovascular training and weight loss. These movements, like a squat, work multiple muscles at once. Aim for 20+ reps per set, 2-5 sets per exercise per session, 30-60 seconds rest between sets, using a light to moderate weight.

Recommended Size And Weight For Beginners

Beginners are recommended to start with light to medium resistance bands. These bands provide 10-60lbs of weight. This resistance is heavy enough to sufficiently challenge most beginners, but not so heavy that the person cannot lift it with good form.

Remember earlier I recommended getting 3-5 bands?

Well, 3 would be the minimum, and 5 would be optimal.

Getting 3 bands would give you access to a variety of weights.

For men; I’d recommend a light, medium, and heavy band. For women; I’d suggest an extra light, light, and medium band.

Having access to a variety of weights is beneficial because:

  1. Small and large muscle groups can be worked effectively. Remember, your leg muscles are a lot larger than your biceps (as an example). Therefore a squat and bicep curl would require different bands to work your muscles effectively.
  1. Strength increases over time. As you use your bands more, you’ll find yourself getting stronger. And when this happens, you’ll need to progress onto a heavier band to prevent your gains from stagnating.
  1. Bands can be combined to form new weights. As per above, it’s good to increase band weight over time. Combining multiple bands can give your further room for progression and prevent your gains from stagnating.

If you don’t know what weight classification means on resistance bands, you may want to check out my other post which explains what is considered to be a light, medium, and heavy resistance band.

Best Resistance Band For Beginners

A set of circular loop-style resistance bands are generally best for beginners. These are the most durable types of bands on the market. They also offer more resistance than their tube-style band counterparts. The Undersun Fitness bands are excellent for a beginner.

The Undersun Fitness bands (see here for the cheapest price) are the ones I currently use.

Having tried half a dozen different brands over my 5 years of experience, I can honestly say that these are the ones I would recommend to my friends and family.

Each set comes with 5 individual bands ranging from extra light to extra heavy.

This means they can be used to effectively work all muscles in your body, at all training levels.

Recommended bands for a novice.

Yup, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an advanced lifter. These will work equally well for you.

My favorite thing about them though is their lifetime warranty (requires registration).

This is unheard of in competitors, as far as I’m aware.

The Undersuns should last you forever!

Loop bands are better because they are less likely to break.

I would generally avoid tube-style bands with handles.

They may look nice and slick, but speaking from experience, these resistance bands tend to easily break.

Additionally, the handles are often hard to grip and made from low-quality materials.

However, tube bands ARE around half the price of loop bands.

So they may be suitable if you’re simply looking for something cheap and cheerful.

Out of all the tube bands I’ve tried, I found the Whatafit bands (see the cheapest price here) to be the highest quality.

Conclusion

I’ve explained why resistance bands are so good and effective for beginners.

Out of all the different ways to train, bands are one of THE most suitable for beginners.

Why?

First of all, they are effective for all training goals.

Whether you’re looking to build muscle, lose fat, or just maintain nyour general fitness, studies have shown that bands do indeed work.

But bands are also relatively safe and extremely cheap (unlike free-weights).

Taken together, this makes resistance bands great for beginners to start training with!

WIll you be trying band workouts?

Let me know in the comments!

You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition I used to go from skinny to ripped!

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,

Kal

(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)

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