The simple-looking nature of bands can be deceptively deceiving. These giant elastic bands may be able to build you more muscle than you think! This post explains how big you can get with resistance bands.
Beginners can build a noticeably bigger physique using resistance bands. By following an effective program, the average untrained person can expect to gain at least 10lbs of lean muscle in 3-6 months. This is not considered to be “huge”, but it is definitely visible.
I used bands for an entire year during the 2021 gym restrictions. I also used them in conjunction with free weights at the start of my skinny-muscular transformation (5 years ago!).
Below, I try to explain just how much muscle you can expect to build using bands.
- Are Resistance Bands Alone Enough To Bulk You Up Considerably?
- Why Resistance Bands Can Build Big Muscles
- How Much Weight Resistance Bands Add
- How Big Does Reddit Think You Can Get With Resistance Bands?
- How Resistance Bands Can Replace Free Weights
- How To Get Ripped With Just Bands
- Timeframe To See First Muscle Gains With Bands
Are Resistance Bands Alone Enough To Bulk You Up Considerably?
Resistance bands are enough to considerably bulk up a beginner. Assuming the person uses heavy bands, applies progressive overload, and follows a good nutrition plan, they can expect to put on at least lbs of lean muscle. This is a noticeable amount of muscle gain.
For you’re reference, you can see what 10lbs of muscle gain looks like.
It’s hardly enough to transform your skinny physique into a bodybuilder’s physique.
But it’s by no means a small amount of muscle gain either; quite the opposite in fact.
10lbs can considerably bulk up a beginner’s physique.
Here are the changes I noticed from gaining 10lbs with bands:
- Bicep diameter increased.
- Chest became more defined.
- Back started to take on a v-taper.
- General muscle tone and definition.
Additionally, this was only from a few months of training.
If you can progressively overload (use heavier bands) over 1 or more years, I’m confident you can bulk up quite a bit using bands!
Why Resistance Bands Can Build Big Muscles
Resistance bands can build big muscles. The muscle-building process, also called hypertrophy, requires repeated cycles of heavy resistance training, recovery, and growth. Bands can provide a sufficient amount of resistance to promote a hypertrophy response in muscles.
First, let’s dive deeper into how big muscles are built:
- Heavy resistance training. This means “heavy” relative to your strength levels. As a beginner, bands, free weights (dumbbells/barbells/kettlebells), and even bodyweight training can be sufficient to promote muscle growth.
- Muscle microdamage. This results from heavy resistance training which presents mechanical stress to your muscle fibers. If the weight you’re lifting is challenging enough, microscopic damage forms in your muscles.
- Repair response and recovery. Your body uses energy and protein from your diet to heal the damage done to your muscle fibers during resistance training.
- Muscle growth. Repeated cycles of resistance training, microdamage, and repair cause your muscles to get bigger and stronger over time. Lifting progressively heavier weights over time will facilitate this process.
Now that you know the basic hypertrophy process, it becomes easier to understand why resistance bands CAN (on paper anyway) get you big.
As long as you lift heavy loads and use progressively heavier weights, bands can drive muscle growth just like any other form of training.
How Much Weight Resistance Bands Add
A heavy band can add up to 150lbs of resistance. Band weight varies between manufacturers, but the heaviest resistance bands usually produce 80-150lbs of resistance depending on how much they are stretched. Some specialized bands may produce even more tension.
You can check out my other post if you’re unsure why resistance bands have a range of weight.
But the important thing to know is that bands can produce a surprisingly high amount of tension.
To put things into perspective; I usually barbell bench press 220lbs (100kg) for 5 reps at the gym.
And I struggle to do 10 good reps (slow and controlled) of banded push-ups using the Undersun heavy 80-120lb band.
Don’t forget; bands usually come as a set.
80-120lbs is just the extra-heavy band in the Undersun set.
I also have access to the extra-light, light, medium, and heavy bands. These all give different amounts of resistance.
Additionally, I also have the option to stack bands to form different weight combinations.
Combining all 5 bands in the Undersun set (link for the cheapest price) gives me over 300lbs of resistance!
In my experience, resistance bands can add more than enough weight to make your bodyweight exercises harder. And this is enough to build bigger muscles!
How Big Does Reddit Think You Can Get With Resistance Bands?
Speaking from personal experience, I feel resistance bands can build you a considerably bigger physique.
But don’t just take my word for it.
I tracked down the following Reddit threads to find out what other people think:
- “Can I get ripped using only resistance bands?”
- “Can resistance bands be used to gain muscle?”
- “How to get ripped with resistance band training?”
- Dumbbells vs resistance bands
- Resistance bands vs dumbbells at home?
- Bands vs weights?
- Does anyone prefer using resistance bands to dumbbells?
Interestingly, 100% of responses agreed that bands can indeed build a noticeable amount of muscle.
However, the majority 65% also said that free weights are better if you want to get really big.
You can check out my other post if you can’t decide between buying resistance bands or dumbbells.
The article explains the differences and gives you the pros and cons of using both.
How Resistance Bands Can Replace Free Weights
Resistance bands, when used properly, can replace free weights. A band can generate considerable amounts of resistance. For a beginner, this is often sufficient enough to build muscle, lose fat, and tone the body as effectively as free weights can.
Here are some of my best tips on how to use bands to gain muscle:
- Lift with a full range of motion.
- Use a slow lifting tempo.
- Choose an appropriate amount of resistance.
- Progressive overload by increasing weight and reps over time.
- Use a good set of bands rather than single bands.
For more details, you can check out my other post which explains if bands build muscle as effectively as weights.
How To Get Ripped With Just Bands
Some people don’t necessarily want to build a bodybuilder-like physique.
Instead, they’re simply looking to build some muscle, lose some fat, and develop a toned and defined physique.
Bands can be used to achieve this too.
If you’re interested, you can check out my other post on how to get ripped with resistance bands!
Timeframe To See First Muscle Gains With Bands
It can take 3-6 months to see results with resistance bands. Muscle growth usually occurs slower than fat loss, but both processes require a significant amount of time. Some people may see results faster than others depending on the training and nutrition program undertaken.
You can check out my other post to see how long it took others to see results with resistance bands.
In that article, you’ll find real-life examples (with before and after pics) of how long it took others to gain muscle, lose fat, and tone their bodies.
I’ve tried to explain how big you can get with resistance bands.
Bands are an effective way to build muscle and most beginners can expect to build at least 10lbs of lean muscle mass within their first 3-6 months of training.
This is significant enough to develop a visibly more athletic and toned physique.
Those who stick to their program will likely gain even more muscle.
But the average person should not expect to build a bodybuilder’s physique using just bands.
How much muscle are you looking to put on with bands?
Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions! You can find my details on the “contact us” page.
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 (with printable worksheets) I used to go from skinny to ripped!
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)