Elastic Band Resistance Training Found Equivalent To Gym Based Machine Weight Training
The benefits of strength training are well established including improved bone density, metabolism, flexibility, body composition, and mental health. In addition, utilizing a strength training program 2-3 days a week on non consecutive days also slows the rate of sarcopenia or muscle loss due to aging. One of the main barriers individuals report for not exercising is time limitations and convenience of exercise. Driving to the gym to utilize an expensive membership may prevent individuals from strength training due to these barriers. A recent study demonstrates strength training does not need to be done in a gym to be effective.
Lima and colleagues randomized healthy middle and older aged adults to a resistance training program utilizing either conventional weight machines or resistance bands or a control group (J Sports Sci Med. 2018). Individuals in the exercise groups trained 3 days a week for 12 weeks with exercises designed to target the upper and lower body. The authors reported each of the exercise groups improved strength and functional capacity but no differences were noted between groups. It appears the most important training variable is not equipment but rather consistency to a resistance training program, as well as, choosing a challenging intensity during each exercise. Elastic resistance bands remain a low cost and portable option for individuals wishing to get stronger without going to a gym.