When it comes to exercising, both resistance band training and free weights help to produce a good fitness program. They offer flexibility and variety and can be used easily, something not possible when it comes to large weight equipment like weight machines. As working-out tools though, power bands and free weights have their own pros and cons.
Power Band Advantages
These bands are elastic strips, light in weight. They can be used alone or with accessories like handles or door attachments to provide a choice of exercises. Available both in latex and non-latex versions, it gives you the option to choose the one most suitable for you. Power bands are also cost effective, prices ranging from as low as $3 to $20.
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Free Weights Advantages
Free weights are any type of weight which is not attached to a machine. They offer a higher weight level during workouts, so the exercise intensity level is more. Depending on the weight you actually like, you can continue to increase your strength. So unlike power bands your strength is not limited to the amount of resistance produced.
Power Bands Disadvantages
Power bands could at some time limit further improvements with regard to your strength. They have a resistance finite level. So if you would like to continue to increase your strength, just exercising with power bands will not take you far.
Free Weights Disadvantages
Free weights require a good amount of storage space. Items like barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls and weight plates require adequate storage space. So unless you have such storage space available it would prove inconvenient to use free weights.
Free weights are also more costly than power bands. As your need for heavier free weights increases, so also will the cost. A third disadvantage is that unlike power bands, free weights are not easy to move around. They are heavy items and if you wish to continue exercising when away from home, using free weights would not be feasible.
Power bands were originally used only as a fitness exercise. Now they are also being used in rehabilitation facilities. Free weights and power bands have the following similarities: (1) they offer free range of motion; (2) they have similar properties (dumbbells and barbells in the case of free weights); (3) both have variable speed; and (4) both allow resistance.
When comparing band training vs. free weights, it could be argued that because of the light appearance of power bands, free weights offer better resistance equipment. However, if you compare the peak load and muscle activity gained with power bands to that gained by using free weights, you will find they have a similar resistance. The muscle fibres that get activated as also the resultant amount of force provided during power band exercises are the same as achieved when using free weights.
In conclusion when looking at powerband training vs. free weights, it can be seen that power bands not only offer similar benefits to free weights, they may also have benefits that are not available when using free weights.