My Results From Working Out With Resistance Bands vs Free Weights For 30 Days

Well, I did it!  30 days of workouts with resistance bands vs free weights.  I must say that it was a very interesting experience. I was really not sure what to expect.

So, did resistance bands work as well as free weights for building muscle mass?

Yes, they did! I was definitely feeling the burn!

For 40 plus years I have lifted mostly with free weights. I only dabbled with resistance bands.

I am one of those people that felt that nothing could be as good at building muscle as free weights.

Okay so I now know that I was wrong!

My Experience With Only Using Resistance Bands

I am 59 years old, and my biggest concern was possible loss of muscle mass.  I have found that as we age, building muscle mass takes much longer to achieve and it takes no time to lose it. 

So, I really did not want to lose any muscle. 

Luckily for me, that was not the case.  I did learn a lot and I am planning to look closer at my workouts to see if I can change a few of them up to include resistance bands more.

What I Did During The 30-Days Of Resistance Bands Workouts

I did not change any of my workouts.  I did all of the exercise routines as scheduled.  I only changed the equipment that I used. 

The first week of using the resistance bands was really just learning how to use them. There was definitely a little trial and error going on! 

For equipment I used was the pull up assist bands, tube bands, booty bands and mini loop bands.  I also used a resistance band bar which made it a little easier to adapt to doing some of the exercises.

A resistance band bar is more like a barbell, or weight bar. So, it was easier to use while doing some of the exercises. Especially squats and shoulder work.

Deadlifts for love handles

Then, of course there were some exercises that were just body weight.

Determining which band to use was dependent on the exercise I was doing. I did find the pull up assist bands to be my favorite, but this was just a personal thing. All of the bands worked well.

For me, some of the exercises with the bands were easy to learn and I was able to just go with it. But for other exercises using the bands seemed a little awkward and required some learning on my part.

However, once I learned the technique, the bands were nice and felt more natural to use.

I did push through and actually found some really good alternatives to the free weights.

Pros And Cons: Resistance Bands vs Free Weights

Pros To Using Resistance Bands

  •  More joint friendly 

The shoulder pain that I had been experiencing prior to the 30 days has decreased and is almost back to normal. My hip pain is more tolerable.  The big bonus was that I did not develop any new aches or pains.  Huge win!

  • Some exercises were easier to do with the resistance bands.

Weighted push-ups would be one example.  I always struggled with getting a weight on my back and once it was on my back, getting it to stay on my back. The resistance band across my back seemed to stay in place better.

Bulgarian split squats were another exercise that I really liked using the resistance bands over the free weights.

  • Ability to do my exercises routine anywhere.

We went away for a weekend this month and I took the bands along.  This hotel did not have a fitness area, so the bands came in handy.  I was able to get a good workout done in the room. 

There were also a few nice days outside, so I was able to take the bands out and do a few great routines in the fresh air!

  • Learned new ways to do my workout routines

This was the fun part.  The bands taught this old dog some new tricks.

It really kept me focused. I felt that this was good. Sometimes you tend to just go with the exercise. The bands made me concentrate more so I was able to get more of a mind muscle connection.

  • No loss of muscle and no change in weight.

As I said this was my biggest concern. I really was not sure if I would keep my muscle during this trial, but the bands worked well.

I do feel that with the first week being my trial week I should have done maybe of a 6-week band workout instead. I am not sure if this would have mattered but maybe something for me to consider in the future.

  • I did not get bored doing the workout.

You had to keep your mind open to learn new things. It helped me to stay focused and I really looked forward to doing the exercise routine and learning new techniques.

Cons To Using Resistance Bands

  • A few exercises just did not feel right to me.

I will probably use both free weights and resistance bands together in the future I do believe that they will complement each other nicely.

  • Not knowing exactly how much resistance you were using.

This did not bother me to much but if I was trying to advance it may be a little frustrating not knowing if you are going up or not.  A 10-pound weight is a 10-pound weight. 

There are just several variables with a resistance band. Resistance of the band, hand placement, foot placement etc.

  • Low Back Pain

The first week I did experience some increased low back pain. I feel this may have just been due to learning the new exercises.  The pain did subside, and I was back to normal by the end of the second week.

Demographics Before And After 30-Days

Before and after pictures is one thing that I really wish I would have done for this 30-day challenge.

I did try to stick with my usual macro diet. This consists of 1705 calories, 141 proteins, 157 carbs and 57 fats. However, full disclosure, I did have a few cheat weekends. You know just life!

I am 59 years old.

My weight at the beginning of the 30-days was 138. At the end of the 30-days it was 137. So, this stayed consistent.

Body fat at the beginning of the 30-days was 29%. At the end of the 30-days it was 30%. I really did not read much into this. I used a Caliper so there is always a little room for error.

Body Measurements

Before 30 Days

  • Chest  –              33.5
  • Left Biceps –     11.25
  • Right Biceps –   11.25
  • Left Forearm  –  8.5 
  • Right Forearm – 8.5
  • Waist  –                32.25 
  • Hips     –              37.75 
  • Left thigh  –       22.75 
  • Right Thigh  –    22.75 
  • Left Calf  –          14.5 
  • Right Calf  –       14.5

After 30 Days

  • Chest –              33.5 
  • Left Bicep –      11.5
  • Right Bicep –    11.25
  • Left Forearm –  9
  • Right Forearm -9
  • Waist –                31.5
  • Hips –                 37.0
  • Left Thigh –       22.25
  • Right Thigh –    22.25
  • Left Calf –         14.75
  • RIght Calf –       14.75

As you can see, I did not lose any muscle mass in my arms or legs. The only change was an increase is forearms and calves with a decrease in hips and stomach. I have to tell you I am okay with losing mass in those areas.

Again, it was only 30 days, but it appears that the bands worked just as well as the weights in maintaining my muscle mass.

My Cardio For The 30-Day Workouts

I did not get in as much cardio as I would have liked to unfortunately.  So, this is one area that I plan to work on.

It just seemed that my life and the Midwest weather played too big of a role in my cardio routine. I really do not like to do indoor cardio, but I know that I should have tried.

Yeah, I know just a bunch of excuses!

So, I do plan to fix this.  What is it that they say, do something for 21 days and it will become a habit?

Challenge accepted!

My Conclusion Of The 30-Day Resistance Band Routine.

I am really glad that I tried the 30-Day resistance band challenge. It really taught me a lot about the bands.

As I said I am a free weight or die kind of girl. This really showed me that I can shake things up a bit and still get a great workout!

Being able to take my workout equipment with me was also a real game changer!

I don’t think that I would ever completely quit using free weights. But I do plan to incorporate more resistance band training in my daily workouts.

I would highly recommend that you give resistance bands a chance you may really surprise yourself! I know I was surprised.

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