Resistance bands are useful for a variety of fitness goals but you do need the right ones. Find out how heavy your resistance bands should be.
To grow and strengthen muscles you have to pressure them with enough weight and repetitions. Exactly how many pounds/kilograms you need varies from muscle to muscle and person to person.
You first want to choose your exercise, for example shoulder presses, and your training goal, for example muscle growth.
After that, you need to do this exercise with resistance to figure out how heavy your resistance bands should be to stay within the muscle growth repetition and set ranges (3 to 6 sets of around 6 to 25 shoulder presses).
In this example with shoulder presses, resistance training beginners may need resistance bands of 55 pounds (25 kg) while advanced lifters could need 110 pounds (50 kg) of resistance to see the same results.
How can you know what resistance band you need?
When it comes to choosing the right resistance bands there is not one single rule or resistance type for everyone.
At the same time, there are still some guidelines that can help you know what resistance bands you need to achieve your training goals.
Choose the muscles you want to work with bands
One of the benefits of resistance bands is that they are extremely versatile. You can use them to work a variety of different muscles. This does make choosing the right model more complicated.
The different muscles in your body have different sizes and strengths. Your glutes (butt) will be able to move a lot more weight than your biceps.
This is important because you have to challenge muscles with enough resistance to grow and strengthen them.
In heavy resistance band exercises that work strong muscles, you will need more resistance than in lighter exercises for weaker muscles to see results.
The same general principle applies to both beginners and advanced lifters although the resistance bands they need to achieve this will be different in practice.
Choose the fitness components you want to focus on
You can also do resistance training exercises with different rep, set, and weight ranges to focus on different fitness components and goals.
For example, to grow the muscles you work, you want to do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 repetitions with a resistance band that is so heavy you can barely complete these ranges.
On the flip side, to train muscle strength you want to do around 4 to 8 sets of 5 repetitions. Again with resistance bands that make these ranges very challenging.
These training ranges apply to most exercises.
So if a resistance training beginner is not able to do enough pull-ups to get in the ranges above, this person can do an assisted version with resistance bands.
On the other hand, more experienced lifters may need bands to create enough resistance to get in the muscle strength ranges.
Do your exercises with some form of resistance
Once you have the exercises you want to do and the repetition and set ranges for your fitness goals, you need to do your workouts with some resistance.
This is necessary because two people with the same age, height, and body weight can still vary in strength and need different resistance bands.
You simply need to get in action with some resistance to figure out how heavy your resistance bands should be.
Ideally, you would complete a set with an exercise with low weight, rest, and then do the next set with more weight until you hit your goal ranges.
Another option is using a 1 RM calculator/chart. For example, if you are able to deadlift 200 pounds (90.7 kg) once, you can estimate that you will be able to deadlift 130 pounds (59 kg) about 16 repetitions in a row.
Are thicker and heavier resistance bands better?
If you ask someone how to build muscle, they will likely answer “lift heavy weights”.
However, by now it should be clear that thicker and heavier resistance bands are not always better.
For optimal muscle growth and strength increases, you also want to move the weights (here resistance bands) a certain number of times.
You can lift heavy with resistance bands but if they are too heavy, you are not able to move them enough times or even at all.
On the other hand, there are definitely situations where people would see more results with heavier resistance bands too.
If you are able to do a resistance band exercise more than 50 times in a row, you likely need something more challenging.
The exact number depends on things like the exercises you want to do, your training goals, and your strength level. For example, to grow your deltoid and tricep muscles with banded shoulder presses, you want a weight where you can barely complete 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 repetitions.