Resistance Bands vs Weights

Free weights and resistance bands are two types of fitness gear that is used in strength building. They each work differently to tone and build muscle mass, but is one more effective than the other? That seems to be the debate among fitness trainers. We decided to take a closer look into Resistance Bands vs Weights ‘weighing’ the pros and cons to determine whether or not one is superior to the other.

Free Weights

free weightsThese strength building tools consist of dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls. The thing about free weights is that they work with gravity to challenge your strength level. When people think of free weights, they often think of heavy weights that make you bulk up, but such is not the case. Free weights can be quite effective for toning and strengthening key muscle groups for an athletic physique.


  • Free weights are very versatile and can help you achieve a full body workout alone without any other fitness equipment
  • There is no limit to the amount of weight you can lift using free weights vs resistance bands allowing you to progress further in your strength training
  • Free weights are often made of a highly durable materials that offer a very long-lasting quality.


  • Free weights like dumbbell sets can take up a lot of space for storage and are not easily transportable due to their size.
  • They can start adding up very quickly cost-wise when you have to start buying additional weights to meet your fitness needs.
  • With heavier weights you need to have a spotter to lift the weights safely and reduce injury.

Resistance bandsResistance Bands

These are becoming increasingly popular in the fitness industry. Rather than using the force of gravity as with free weights, these bands use the force of resistance using your body weight as the challenging component.


  • Resistance bands are very lightweight making them much easier to carry around and use practically anywhere.
  • They take up very minimal storage space, freeing up room for other fitness gear if you desire.
  • Resistance bands are relatively inexpensive in comparison to free weights, saving you a lot of money


  • Resistance bands only offer a certain amount of weight resistance which can limit your strength training efforts if you wish to progress
  • You can’t control the amount of weight used as with free weights which you can change in as little as 2.5lb increments
  • Over time, resistance bands can wear down so you must always check for signs of fraying, tearing, or nicks before working out with them to avoid injury.

What it comes down to in terms of which is better in the free weights vs resistance bands debate is a matter of choice and personal needs. If your strength training goals are to build serious muscle mass then you are most likely going to lean more towards free weights. Free weights are not necessarily more effective than resistance bands, however heavier weights do provide a more intense workout.

If you are on a tight budget or living in small quarters you may prefer resistance bands. They are far more affordable, allow you to exercise with them virtually anywhere and they do not pose as great of a risk to injury as free weights. Contrary to what some believe, you can achieve the same results and workout key muscle groups with bands as you can with dumbbells.

Always perform warm up exercises for a minimum of 5 minutes prior to working out regardless of which option you choose, to reduce injury. We’ve highlighted the advantages and drawbacks to each of these fitness gear options to make it easier for you to decide. Carefully consider your fitness goals and needs to determine which option is most suitable for you.

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