We’ve got more ways to work out than ever. While it’s a great thing, it can also cause us to second guess if the methods we’re accustomed to using to break a sweat are really the best for us.
Two of the latest alternatives to traditional free-weights are resistance bands and incredibly engineered adjustable dumbbells. So which one is worthy of our devotion and cash?
Comparing adjustable dumbbells to resistance bands is a bit like comparing a vise grip to a wrench. Both are tools with some similarities in function but ultimately each is perfect for certain tasks while totally inadequate for others.
Often the most valid choice is to own both dumbbells and resistance bands. You’ll likely gravitate towards one or the other depending on your goals and style of workout, but the type you use less may be the complement you need.
If you’re just starting out, the more accurate question is: which do I buy first?
One of the biggest differences here is price. Black Mountain Products Ultimate Resistance Band Set includes bands rated at up to 50 lbs. Similarly the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells can be set to a highest maximum weight of 52.5 lbs. So while these are comparable based on that spec, the adjustable dumbbells cost about five times as much.
Resistance bands are made from latex rubber tubing which is prone to snapping after extended use or when stretched to an extreme. The flat type of resistance band can be thought of as an essentially disposable product while the tube type may last years even with heavy use.
This is where the price factor is misleading. Yes, the adjustable dumbbells cost significantly more, but you most likely won’t be replacing it as often as with resistance bands.
Adjustable dumbbells such as the ever-popular Bowflex SelectTech 552 have a lot of cool factor going on, and if that propels you to be active, fantastic. However after the wow factor wears off, this is a product that is all about greater ease of use when changing weight on the fly and saving space. So getting past these features you can also reference this post about Resistance Bands vs. Free Weights to get to the heart of the matter.