Many people will laugh at you if you tell them you are planning on building muscle with only resistance bands. Conventional wisdom tells us that we have to lift heavy weights in order to build muscle. But there is a lot more to it than that.
As someone who spent too many years aimlessly wandering the gym, I can personally tell you that there are more ways than one to build muscle.
The truth is, showing up to the gym everyday or working out everyday is not going to cut it. There are other steps that you need to take to ensure that you build muscle.
In this article, we are going to tackle everything that you need to get started building muscle with only resistance bands.
Before we get started, I recommend downloading our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). Our FREE workout plans will help you build muscle, and you can adapt them to be resistance band friendly.
Choosing the right resistance bands
Not all resistance bands are created equal. In fact, many resistance bands are not even that great. Your best bet is finding a resistance bands package that includes multiple bands at different weight ranges, that also comes with accessories. I recommend this one from Amazon.
The great thing about resistance bands is that they are super cheap comparative to building your own home gym.
If it was up to me, I would build my own home gym, but if money is the issue, bands are clearly better than nothing.
When you purchase a resistance band set, you will notice that there are different color bands. These indicate different simulated weights. Now, it is different for every set, so make sure that you understand the differences.
The way to build muscles is to challenge your muscles with every set. This means that you should experience strong resistance with each exercise to the point where it is difficult to get in your last 2 reps.
Another good thing about resistance bands is that you can double, triple, quadruple up on the bands. This leads to more resistance and will help you in your quest to build muscle with resistance bands.
The whole idea with using resistance bands to build muscle is that you should challenge yourself with every workout. It is not going to be the same as going to the gym. You need to make sure that with every exercise, you are squeezing your muscles and engaging your body.
Working out like you are at the gym
I think the problem with resistance bands is that companies try to push off resistance bands as some casual thing that you do to maybe stay in shape. The issue I have with that is it minimizes the possibilities of what resistance bands are capable of.
Here is the truth. I have heard of people building muscle at home with a concrete block leftover from a construction site. If you are willing to put in the work, you are going to see solid results.
Now, let’s get into the actual working out portion. What can we do to make sure that we get the best out of our workouts?
First of all, throw away the exercise list that they give you when you purchase a resistance band kit. Those lists are only going to show you the basics. You need to find something that is going to challenge you.
I recommend choosing one of our plans from our app. Or, you can check out our beginner bodybuilding routine for mass. Keep in mind, this plan was designed for people with access to a gym, but you can absolutely make it work with resistance bands.
Don’t let the fact that you are using resistance bands hold you back. It might be a learning curve, but you will learn to do regular muscle building gym exercises with your bands, which will ultimately lead you to building muscle.
Eating enough food to ensure muscle growth
I considered putting this section first, but I wanted you to understand the role of resistance bands first. Eating is the most important part of any fitness journey, and you are about to learn why.
If you don’t eat enough food, you are not going to build muscle. It is as simple as that. And making sure you eat enough food is a fairly simple process, it just takes time and dedication.
It all starts with learning how to calculate your maintenance calories. Once you have that number, you can choose if you want to eat at a caloric surplus, or a caloric deficit.
Let me put it this way. If you want to build muscle, you have no choice but to eat in a caloric surplus every single day.
Unfortunately for me, I never knew this in my early years. I spent more years than I would like to admit wondering why I couldn’t build muscle. Some weeks, I would workout so hard, then at the end of the week, I would weigh myself and realize that I lost weight throughout the week.
It was one of the most disheartening times of my life. I thought I was doing everything I could in order to build muscle. I was wrong. All it took was for me to figure out my maintenance calorie situation, and eat at a caloric surplus every single day.
You cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit. Think about this before you think about building muscle with only resistance bands. No matter how hard you try, no matter what form of workouts you do, you will not build muscle unless you are eating at a caloric surplus.
Being consistent enough to build muscle
Consistency is king, right? We have all heard that saying before, and honestly, you are probably sick of hearing it. But there is more meaning to it that you think.
Consistency is not just about showing up to the gym. It is about setting yourself up with a schedule, making sure you are eating enough, and doing this over an extended period of time.
Think about this. If you can just do those 3 things, you are going to be unstoppable. The average American goes to the gym for a few weeks or a month, and then gives up when they don’t see quick results.
I have seen many friends go through this process with my own eyes. I always ask them, did you watch what you ate? The answer was always no. They think that going to the gym is enough. It is just one part of the equation.
You have to be consistent in all parts of the equation to really see results.
The fact is, that diet is going to be the number one thing you should focus on. Mostly because your diet is going to determine if you lose weight or gain weight. Your workout plan is going to determine what happens with that weight. And your consistency is going to determine if you hit your goals.
There is no doubt in my mind that if you are consistent enough, you are going to build some solid muscle. And yes, building muscle with only resistance bands is completely possible with the right plan in place.
Main Point: Building muscle with only resistance bands
As you can see if you have read this far, building muscle with only resistance bands is something that clearly can be done.
But you have to take into account the fact that it’s not just the resistance bands that are going to get you there.
I worked out consistently for 7 years and didn’t build any visible muscle. It wasn’t until I started eating at a caloric surplus that my results skyrocketed and I gained 70 pounds in 3 years. I feel like I need to mention that I was severely underweight, and gaining 70 pounds put me in a normal weight range.
Now I am very comfortable with my weight and muscle size. As I was writing this article, I was wondering if I could have done the whole thing with just resistance bands. The answer is yes, I absolutely could have.
The whole idea behind resistance bands is that they are compact and easy to use. It is up to you to engage your muscles and go until fatigue. I recommend being in the 8-12 rep range for each exercise. You want the last 2 reps to be almost impossible for each set. This will ensure that you are engaging your muscles enough.
All in all, it is definitely possible to build muscle with just resistance bands. Eat at a caloric surplus, workout consistently (3-5 days per week), and do all of this consistently over an extended period of time.
If you can commit to this, you will build muscle.