Are Resistance Bands Good for Building Muscle?

By | July 8, 2020

Most would envision a bodybuilder as a guy with big arms, square jaw, and a prominent chest lifting a barbell at the gym.

Resistance bands probably wouldn’t be part of that picture, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t gain muscle mass from a good set.

While resistance bands are often associated with toning muscles, this is a misconception. Studies have shown that they both grow and tone your muscles. Toning your muscles is simply shedding body fat so muscle is added closer to the surface of your skin.

Using resistance bands can add muscle-building power to your exercises. Additionally, they’re ideal for rehabilitating muscles if you’ve suffered an injury.

Resistance Bands vs. Free Weights

No conversation about using resistance bands to build strength is complete without comparing them to free weights.

Resistance bands offer greater flexibility, control, don’t allow you to cheat so easily, and are better for rehabilitation. Free weights are more accurate, durable, and there is a greater variety of products.

To learn about the pros and cons of both options, read the full comparison here.

Anatomy of a Resistance Band Set

Most standard sets include five bands ranging from a super light resistance of 10 lbs. to heavy resistance of 50 lbs.

The heaviest resistance bands included with a standard set probably won’t give you enough of a challenge to meet your fitness goals. Those with the main objective of building muscle will want to look at the larger or more specialized resistance band sets.

Popular brand Bodylastics offers special sets like Max Warrior, Strong Man, and Mega for this audience.


Resistance bands are good for building muscle, but you must have a set that allows for growth. Standard sets with five resistance bands likely won’t be enough if you’re looking to get serious about gaining muscle mass.

At the end of the day, you’re in the best position if you own both a comprehensive resistance band set and a set of dumbbells. In the early stages of building strength, resistance bands shine, however as you advance you may find free weights allow you to reach your goals faster.