Some obvious advantages are: 1. great for travel
2. cost effective (pack 3 about$15 – offers
3 different resistance levels
3. easy storage
Here is the advantage to take note of though – They offer constant resistance throughout the exercise. This is something free weights have a hard time offering. Think of a lateral arm raise with a free weight. The weight is heavy at first, but once you are at the top of the movement, you let off a bit especially if you have used momentum. With a band you can’t use momentum, and the resistance you use is consistent throughout the move. It also offers “linear variable resistance”. Check out this article to learn more about that – very interesting – http://www.bodylastics.com/articles/elastic_resistance_vs_free_weights/
Basically, as you move through the concentric phase, the band increases the resistance which recruits more muscle fibers and increases strength.
Resistance bands also make it easy to make the exercise more or less challenging – simply tighten the band to make it harder! No juggling free weights of different sizes.
If you are set on free weights -which I love to use also – focus on the eccentric (downward phase of the movement). This will mimic in some way the advantage of a resistance band.
As with any fitness equipment – safety first. Be careful with worn bands that could snap, and avoid movements near the face. Add bands to your fitness tool collection and add a new dimension to your workouts.