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Where Resistance Bands Fit Into Calisthenics

Calisthenics is using your own body weight to get stronger. So resistance bands are not calisthenics in the literal sense. But they can certainly support calisthenics exercises and skill development.

Resistance bands are equipment you can use with calisthenics, but also with weight lifting, kettlebell workouts, and many other forms of training. You can use them to support moves like pull ups, or provide more resistance and make moves like push ups much harder.

What Type Of Training Is Resistance Band Exercises?

Resistance band exercises fall under the category of resistance training. You can achieve strength, power, flexibility, mobility, endurance, balance, and stability training with them. They’re fantastic as a supplement to learning calisthenics skills and maximising workouts.

A neat benefit of using resistance bands is that they are more joint friendly. A smooth resistance curve and low impact nature mean they rehabilitate you easily. Basically, they just put less pressure on weaker areas.

Bands come in a range of resistances. Each with their own uses.

Thick bands are best for supporting skills and moves like pull ups. They’re also great for compound exercises, like squats. Their high level of resistance means they’re ideal for heavy work.

Lighter bands are best for targeting smaller muscles. Like band lateral walks and bicep curls. So you’d get better muscle isolation and muscle growth.

Can You Use Resistance Bands For Calisthenics?

Yes, you can use resistance bands to support calisthenics exercises. Make them more difficult e.g. banded push ups. And boost recovery with mobility/flexibility work like band shoulder dislocates.

Here are some moves you can learn faster by using resistance bands:

  • Pull up
  • Planche
  • Iron cross
  • Dip
  • Dragon press
  • Human flag

Are Resistance Bands Good For Calisthenics?

Bands are fantastic for calisthenics as you progress faster using them. Supporting skills in their proper form is something resistance bands are most appreciated for.

Along with support work, you can use resistance bands to increase the difficulty of exercises. This is extremely useful when you want to use progressive overload. And maximise your muscle growth.

The main use cases are in compound moves like squats, deadlifts, band pull downs, and banded w-raises. With w-raises, make sure you have external rotation at the top of the movement. To really hit the rotator cuff muscles (very often neglected).

Most people use them to strengthen their front levers. As well as practising skills and exercises with full range of motion. They’re made sooooo much better with band support, as you’re practising proper form.

How Many Reps Should I Do With Resistance Bands?

There is no universal rep range for resistance bands. It depends on your goal.

  • Muscle tone = high reps. (30-100+)
  • Muscle mass = medium reps. (8-12)
  • Muscle density = low reps. (3-7)
  • Muscle power = explosive reps. (8-12)

This relies on execution, tempo, and intensity.

Tempo is counting how long you spend on each phase of a movement. Usually breathing in during the eccentric phase of a movement. And breathing out on the concentric phase.

In the example of a push up, you may count 4 seconds lowering. Breathing in, then holding for 1 second, then breathing out. And pushing up for 2 seconds, then going straight into the next rep.

Intensity is how difficult you find the exercise. Perhaps after 3–6 months of doing push ups, you’d find them too easy. So you’d start doing one-handed push ups, keeping the intensity.

Your execution of a move, like a pull up, determines what muscles are engaged. It also influences your joint health, so it’s important to get right.

There are hundreds of pictures, videos, guides like ours, and sources outlining correct form. Look around and adjust your form to what feels right, where no one area feels unnatural stress. Like the insides of your elbows in straight bar pull up.

Is It Good To Use Resistance Bands Every Day?

It's very good to use resistance bands daily. As they help support your mobility and flexibility. Boosting recovery from any exercise.

It’s great for warming up before a workout session. Warming up with bands decreases the risk of injury, and can actually boost your exercise performance.

Using band exercises can easily provide more than enough resistance to break down muscles. This method has been proven to yield results when done correctly. For instance, doing banded squats or chest presses can enhance strength and muscle tone effectively.

Daily use of resistance bands can be very effective if you plan your routine properly. Execute proper form and pay attention to your body to understand which areas are stressed. If your shoulders feel tight, band stretches or exercises targeting that area will relieve you.

Can You Get Shredded With Just Resistance Bands?

You can absolutely build muscle with resistance bands and get shredded. The “shredded” part usually means being lean, and that’s down to your body fat percentage. Which your calories and diet controls.

In terms of strengthening your muscles, bands can provide varying levels of resistance. Muscles don’t care if you’re using weights, bodyweight exercises, or resistance bands. As long as tension and intensity is there, you will break down muscle tissue and get stronger.

As long as you train hard, progress in resistance, and eat right. You shouldn't have any problems gaining muscle or losing fat. People have gone from 145kg to 90kg in 3 years using bands, and a few bodyweight exercises thrown in now and again.

Keep in mind, your weight is influenced by your body fat percentage. Which cardio and fat burning activities help reduce. Such as:

  • Running
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Elliptical trainer
  • Stair machine
  • Assault bike
  • Even a high-stakes parkour police escape (though I don’t recommend that)

People who have seen results like that 55kg weight loss I mentioned are also managing their diet. Eating natural whole foods, sustaining a caloric deficit of 300-500, and sleeping enough is the general rule of thumb.

Can a resistance band workout build muscle?

Some people say you can’t replace a regular session using weights or calisthenics with just resistance bands. Which is partly true for certain areas like legs. But like I said before, your body doesn’t care what equipment you use to provide resistance to the muscle.

You can build muscle with resistance bands. As all the body needs is time under tension from resistance, and the right intensity. Both solved by choosing the right band for each exercise you do.

You can do a workout from start to finish with bands. From the warm up, to the exercises, to supporting skills, to the warm down. If you get creative there’s basically nothing you can’t do.

For example, a great way to hit the rotator cuff (which is so often neglected) is to do w-raises. Making sure you have that external rotation at the top of the movement. As that’s what the rotator cuff does. 

The key for certain moves is to start the movement where the band already has some resistance. Attaching it to a pole, for example, and taking a step or two forward.

Then a move like the band chest press would be just as effective as a dumbbell chest press. If you had the right resistance band for the job.

To wrap this up, you can definitely get shredded with resistance bands. Although not ONLY using them, as hitting legs would be a funny job to do. They're excellent for supporting skills, and generally making your training experience more enjoyable.