The debate between resistance bands and weights is hot. Each has champions and detractors, so let’s dig deep and determine which type of resistance training is best for you.

Resistance Bands Vs. Weights Infographic | Ultimate Nutrition

What Is Resistance Training?

Resistance training involves exercises that cause your muscles to contract against an external resistance.

The goal is to increase muscle strength, endurance, and size by working against a force that resists your movement. Whether you prefer the simplicity of bands or the heft of weights, both methods aim to challenge your muscles and enhance your fitness.

But which one truly stands out in delivering the best results? Let’s dive into the specifics of each to find out.

A man performing resistance band exercises | Ultimate Nutrition

What Are Workout Bands?

Resistance bands might look simple, but don’t let their unassuming appearance fool you. These stretchy bands can pack a punch. 

Made from durable latex or rubber, they come in various resistance levels, from light to extra heavy. They're compact, lightweight, and incredibly versatile, making them a favorite for home workouts and travel. 

Why Resistance Band Exercises Are Effective 

Let’s break down why resistance bands pack a punch.

Full-Body Workout Anywhere

Have you ever tried doing a full-body workout in a hotel room? With resistance bands, you can. 

They’re perfect for those who need a portable gym. Whether you’re traveling for work or just short on space, these bands can turn any room into a fitness center. From bicep curls to squats, you can target every muscle group.

Gentle on Joints

If you’ve ever felt the strain of lifting heavy weights, resistance bands can be a game-changer. 

They provide smooth, controlled resistance that’s easy on the joints, making them ideal for people recovering from injuries or those with joint issues. Think of them as the kinder, gentler cousin of free weights.

Progressive Resistance

One of the unique features of resistance bands is their progressive resistance

As you stretch the band, the resistance increases. This push-back means you get a more effective workout as you push through the range of motion. It's like having a smart weight that adjusts to your strength.

A Man Using a Resistance Band | Ultimate Nutrition

Photograph by Ricky Nugraha

Exercises with Resistance Bands 

Let’s explore some of our favorite resistance band workouts. 

#1 Bicep Curl

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, stepping on the band. 

Hold the handles with your palms facing up, curl your hands towards your shoulders, and then lower them back down. This move targets your biceps, giving you a great arm workout.

#2 Glute Bridge

Lie flat on the floor with the band looped around your thighs.

Keep your feet flat, lift your hips towards the ceiling, and squeeze your glutes at the top, then lower back down. This exercise is excellent for your glutes and hamstrings.

#3 Squat

Stand on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the handles at shoulder height. 

Squat down as if sitting in a chair, keeping your knees behind your toes, then stand back up. 

This movement targets your quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

#4 Chest Press

Anchor the band behind you at chest height, hold the handles, and press forward until your arms are fully extended. This exercise works your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

#5 Seated Row

Sit on the floor with your legs extended and the band wrapped around your feet. 

Hold the handles and pull back, squeezing your shoulder blades together, then return to the starting position. This move is excellent for your back muscles.

#6 Lateral Band Walks

Place the band around your legs, just above your knees. Step sideways, keeping tension on the band, to work your glutes and hip abductors.

Dumbbell Rack | Ultimate Nutrition

What Are Free Weights?

Free weights, which include dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and other handheld weights, are a staple in strength training. 

Unlike resistance bands, they provide a constant load throughout the entire movement, making them a favorite for building muscle mass and strength.

Why Weights Are Effective

From gyms to homes, weights are popular for a reason. Check out why we keep coming back to them. 

Consistent Resistance

Weights provide consistent resistance, meaning the load remains unchanged throughout the exercise. 

This consistency is beneficial for building strength and muscle size as it ensures that your muscles work hard throughout the entire range of motion.

Muscle Building

If your primary goal is hypertrophy or increasing muscle size, weights are often preferred. 

Lifting heavy weights causes micro-tears in muscle fibers, which repair and grow stronger and more prominent. This process is essential for building serious muscle mass.

Versatility and Variety

Weights offer endless possibilities for exercise. From compound movements like deadlifts and bench presses to isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions, weights allow you to target every muscle group effectively.

A man performing dumbbell lat rows | Ultimate Nutrition

Exercises with Weights

The following exercises are just a few things you can do with weights. 

#1 Dumbbell Bicep Curl

Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, arms fully extended. 

Curl the weights towards your shoulders, squeezing your biceps at the top, and then lower them back down. This exercise isolates the biceps and helps build arm strength.

#2 Barbell Squat

Place a barbell on your upper back, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push through your heels to return to standing. This compound exercise targets your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

#3 Dumbbell Chest Press

To perform a dumbbell chest press, lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended above your chest. 

Lower the weights until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then press them back up. This exercise works your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

#4 Kettlebell Swing

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands. 

Bend at your hips and swing the kettlebell between your legs, then thrust your hips forward to swing it to shoulder height. This dynamic movement targets your glutes, hamstrings, and core.

#5 Barbell Deadlift

To perform a deadlift, stand with feet hip-width apart, with a barbell on the ground. 

Bend at your hips and knees to grip the bar, then lift it by extending your hips and knees, keeping your back straight. Lower it back down with control. This exercise is excellent for your back, glutes, and hamstrings.

#6 Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Sit or stand with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Press the weights overhead until your arms are fully extended, then lower them back down. This move targets your shoulders and triceps.

Do Resistance Bands Work Better Than Weights? 

The truth is, when it comes to choosing between resistance bands and weights, no definitive answer suits everyone. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, making it suitable for different fitness goals and personal preferences.

Ultimately, the best approach might be incorporating both into your workout routine. Using resistance bands for mobility and joint-friendly exercises while leveraging weights to build muscle mass can give you a well-rounded fitness program.

To maximize your gains and support your training, follow Ultimate Nutrition’s training tips and supplement with our high-quality protein powders. They can help you recover faster, build muscle more efficiently, and stay on track with your fitness goals.



The information provided in our articles are meant for informational and educational purposes exclusively and should not be considered as medical advice. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting a new nutritional product and/or making significant changes to your diet and/or starting a new exercise regime. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, and/or prevent disease.

UN Editorial Team