So you got yourself some resistance bands. Great! Now, you may be thinking the longer you use them the better the results right? Wrong! This post explains exactly how long a resistance band workout should last and why.
A typical beginner’s resistance band workout should last between 15 and 30 minutes. As an individual becomes fitter, they can increase workout duration up to 45-60 minutes per session. It’s important not to train for too long to avoid overtraining which can lead to injury and impaired recovery.
These are the general guidelines I learned the hard way.
When I first started training with my bands, I worked out for way too long.
As a result, I felt overly fatigued, and drained, and didn’t see a lot of results.
Below, I share my research and experience so you can avoid my mistake!
- How Training Goal Affects Resistance Band Workout Duration
- Why Your Goals Affect Overall Workout Length
- How Fitness Level Affects Resistance Band Workout Duration
- Why Your Fitness Levels Affect Overall Workout Length
- Importance Of Focusing On Training Volume Rather Than Time
- Resistance Band Training Volume For Beginners
- Why A Resistance Band Workout Shouldn't Last Too Long
How Training Goal Affects Resistance Band Workout Duration
Training goal affects how long a resistance band workout should last. Individuals who are training for muscle and strength gains would typically work out for a longer duration compared to another person who is training to burn fat or improve cardiovascular endurance.
Here’s how long a typical resistance band workout should be based on your overall training goal:
|Training Goal||Resistance Band Workout Time||Relative Workout Duration|
|Strength & Power||45-60 minutes||Long|
|Weight Loss||15-30 minutes||Short|
|Cardio & Endurance||15-30 minutes||Short|
Why Your Goals Affect Overall Workout Length
And here’s why training goal affects the overall duration of a resistance band workout:
- Hypertrophy band workouts require a standard amount of time. Hypertrophy means muscle-building. This type of workout typically involves completing a high volume of sets, reps, and exercises to give all the muscles in your body the stimulus required for maximal growth.
- Strength band workouts require the longest amount of time. Building strength works similarly to building muscle (they are highly related processes). But if you’re looking to emphasize muscle power over muscle size, then you’d typically use heavier resistance band colors for lower reps but increase the amount of rest in between sets. This allows for full power regeneration before the next set.
- Fat-burning and cardio band workouts require the shortest amount of time. Burning fat and improving cardiovascular performance generally require very little to no rest in between sets. In other words, exercises are performed back to back without waiting around. This makes them the quickest type of resistance band workout to complete.
New to band training? You can check out my 10-step guide on how to use resistance bands at home!
How Fitness Level Affects Resistance Band Workout Duration
A person’s fitness level affects how long their resistance band workout should last. Fit people who have a long training history would typically need to train for 30-60 minutes or more for an effective workout. In comparison, beginners can complete an effective workout in 15-30 minutes.
Here’s how long the average resistance band workout should last based on your personal fitness levels:
|Training Level||Resistance Band Training Duration||Relative Training Duration|
Why Your Fitness Levels Affect Overall Workout Length
And here’s why your overall fitness is a big factor in determining how long you should be using resistance bands:
- Beginners should keep their workouts short. A beginner has been training for 1-12 months. As a beginner, your muscles are typically naive and don’t require as much stimulation to promote health benefits. You also want to be careful about overtraining. Keep your workouts short and sweet as you focus on building your fitness levels!
- Intermediates can work out a little longer. An intermediate has been training for 12-24 months. As an intermediate, you’re usually a lot fitter. Your muscles are used to the workload you present to them. As such, you can train for a longer duration of time.
- Advanced trainees can work out the longest. An advanced lifter has been training for over 2 years. By now, you’re relatively well-conditioned. To gain the full benefits of a resistance band workout, your muscles usually need more stimulation than a beginner. Therefore these guys can use resistance bands the longest.
Importance Of Focusing On Training Volume Rather Than Time
By now, you should be able to see that the recommended band workout duration varies considerably depending on your goals and training level.
Training volume simply refers to the total amount of work you complete every week (as measured by the number of weekly reps, sets, training days, and the weight you perform.).
Rather than focusing on how long you train, it’s usually better to focus on how you reach a sufficient training volume instead.
After all, you could spend 5 hours using your resistance bands.
But if most of that time was spent scrolling IG and not doing much lifting, you probably won’t see as many benefits as someone who has just completed a 20-minute high-intensity workout.
You get what you put in at the end of the day!
I would recommend short and intense resistance band workouts for the best results.
But that begs the question, how much training volume (i.e. work) should a beginner be completing each week?
Resistance Band Training Volume For Beginners
Rather than worrying about how long you should be using your resistance bands, I recommend you focus on reaching the below training volume instead:
- 5-10 sets per muscle group per week. Each major muscle group (arms, shoulders, chest, back, abs, and legs) should be hit with 10 sets every week. These 10 sets could come from a single exercise (e.g. band presses only) or a combination of different exercises (e.g. band presses and flyes). The important thing is to make sure each muscle group gets those 10 weekly sets.
- 8-25 repetitions per set. Generally speaking, you should do low reps to emphasize strength, moderate reps to emphasize muscle size, and high reps for cardio (relative to the 8-25-rep spectrum).
- A resistance that challenges you. Regardless of how many reps you perform, it’s essential that the resistance band you use challenges you. A good way to tell is that your target muscle should feel fatigued by the end of each set. I use and recommend these Undersun resistance bands. They come as a set of 5 bands with different tension levels which makes them ideal for all exercises for all training levels.
- A suitable inter-set rest duration for your goals. Inter-set rest duration refers to the length of time you rest in between each set. Those looking to build strength, take a 3-5 minute rest. For those looking to increase muscle size, take a 1-3 minute rest. And those looking to burn fat or increase cardiovascular performance, take a 0-60 second rest.
By following these guidelines for resistance band training volume, you ensure you’re doing enough work regardless of the time spent working out!
Unconvinced about the effectiveness of resistance bands? You can go to my other post to find out how resistance bands really work!
Why A Resistance Band Workout Shouldn’t Last Too Long
There are 2 reasons why resistance band workouts shouldn’t last too long. Excessively long workouts could mean:
- You’re not working hard enough. As mentioned before, if your workout takes 2 hours to complete but you spent most of that time doing non-workout-related activities, then you’re not actually working out as long as you think you are. Focus on your exercises to reduce the overall time spent working out!
- You’re working too hard. As a beginner, aim for 15-30 minutes. It’s OK to train slightly longer, depending on your goals and program. But generally speaking, you shouldn’t be training for more than 60 minutes a time. If you are, you increase the risk of overtraining and injuring yourself.
These are general beginner guidelines for all resistance training workouts, and not just for bands!
You might also be interested in my other article to see how long it takes to see resistance band results when they are used properly!
This post has explained how long a resistance band workout should last.
Just like any other type of workout, exactly how long you should train with bands will depend on your current fitness levels and training goals.
But as a general rule, beginners are advised to keep their workouts to around 15-30 minutes per session.
This is expected to increase as you become fitter.
With that being said, what’s even more important than workout duration is satisfying your weekly training volume (as recommended in this post!).
How long are your resistance band workouts?
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)