Most people believe that if you want to build muscle, you need to lift—and lift heavy. While there is some truth to that, free weights and machines aren’t the only way to gain strength. Resistance bands are incredibly effective and versatile tools for increasing strength.
Resistance Bands: The Best Workouts for Men Over 50
Building muscle and burning fat over 50 can be tricky for men, so finding the right workout program that increases strength without increasing the risk of injury is key. Whether you enjoy hitting the gym or not, there are plenty of minimal equipment workouts that can still get the job done—resistance bands are just one of those tools!
Resistance bands are a fantastic low-impact way to add variety to your training and hit muscles from all angles. And if performing the exercises correctly with enough resistance, you can also gain muscle. Ready to find out how? In this article, I’m diving into the benefits of resistance band workouts for men over 50 and why they’re a must for you.
Let’s get started.
Why Resistance Band Workouts?
Building muscle isn’t always about loading the weight to hit progressive overload and induce fatigue. Maintaining and building muscle using lower-impact tools like resistance bands is possible. Studies have shown that resistance band workouts provide a good training stimulus for muscle activation. When performed correctly, you can even see similar muscle strength gains to workouts using free weights.
Here are three reasons why resistance band workouts for men over 50 are gold:
1. Muscle activation and range of motion (ROM)
Before starting with strength training, you must activate the muscles you want to use; this is the general idea of a workout-specific warmup involving movements similar to those you’ll perform only using minimal weight. This is important to fire up the muscles and nervous system, increase blood flow and nutrient delivery, and increase flexibility before training. Some research shows that joint distraction exercises using elastic resistance bands can enhance joint range of motion and specific mobility patterns.
Muscle activation is possible without equipment, but using resistance bands to fire up the muscles provides an extra level of work by applying low-level resistance to muscles to activate and increase the sensitivity of neurons that control the muscles. When the muscles you’re working on are ready to go, you can ensure targeting the appropriate muscles in your workout and that they’re firing with greater intensity. Plus, proper muscle activation pre-workout also reduces the risk of developing strength imbalances and compensation, reducing the risk of injury.
2. Muscle growth
Free weights are some of the best equipment for maximizing muscle growth, but resistance bands can also build muscle. Muscles require three critical factors for growth:
- Progressive overload and muscle adaptation
- Adequate recovery time
How you provide those three things is your call. Bodyweight exercises are great for increasing strength and stimulating growth, but when you add more resistance with bands, you further increase the tension on muscles to enhance muscle-building capacity.
But also remember that if you want to build muscle and burn fat, you also need:
- Enough energy to gain weight (i.e., ensure you’re eating enough)
- Enough protein to build and repair muscle tissue
- Enough of a challenge to cause microdamage to muscles
Muscle growth is mainly about the appropriate stimulus, but it’s also about performing exercises with proper form—and form requires two things: mobility and stability. Mobility is a big subject that I can talk a lot about, but stability is something we tend to shy away from. Resistance bands are super effective in improving stability because they provide constant tension during an exercise that requires your stabilizer muscles to activate and engage to support your body and prevent you from falling.
Stabilizer muscles are found throughout your entire body but aren’t activated to the same extent during compound movements.
Here are some reasons why building strength in stabilizer muscles is important:
- Postural support
- Prevent tissue damage and injury
- Avoid muscle compensation and improper movement patterns
- Support heavier lifts
- Improve balance
Benefits of Resistance Band Workouts for Men Over 50
If you want to spice up your workouts and give your body a new challenge, grab some resistance bands and get to work! Here are three reasons I love resistance band workouts for men over 50.
- Convenience and versatility
You won’t always have the time or space to work out in a gym setting, and resistance bands are a super convenient and versatile way to still get your training in. Whether you’re out of town or a pandemic has shut the gyms down, grab your bands, find an anchor point, and get going. They’re easy to transport, come in multiple resistances, and are effective. No more excuses for skipping your workout!
- They’re effective
Men think that heavy weights = muscle growth, but research shows that using high-resistance bands can also trigger muscle growth. One study found that resistance bands can improve total fitness, especially muscular performance, muscular adaptation, and cardiovascular fitness. Regardless of your age and fitness level, they’re fantastic for improving strength and mobility.
- Easy on the joints
Joint pain is a big issue as we age, and lifting heavy can have hefty consequences if you already struggle with sore joints. Resistance bands provide light resistance without adding extra stress and pressure to the joints, ligaments, bones, and soft tissue. And by strengthening the muscles surrounding a joint, bands are also effective in improving the joint’s stability and surrounding musculature. Your body doesn’t recover the same in your 40s and 50s as it did before, so you want to minimize joint stress as much as possible.
The Men Over 50 Resistance Band Workout
Time: 28 minutes
Perform each exercise for 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds rest, one after the other, for four rounds, and then move on to the next exercise.
- Chest Press
- Reverse Lunge
- Bent Over Rows
- Front Shoulder Raises
- Biceps Curls
- Triceps Skull Crushers
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