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May 19, 2020
We recently went in-depth on a question we often get asked, “Can I build muscle with resistance bands?”. We are here now to talk about the other side of the coin, “Can I use resistance bands to lose weight?”…and just like an actual coin, the two sides are connected and go hand in hand.
In this article, we are going to tackle this ‘are resistance bands good for weight loss’ question from all angles, so you can burn that stubborn belly fat, lose weight and get ripped fast, whether you decide to use resistance bands or not.
What this article covers:
But before we directly jump into answering the question you are here for, let’s quickly discuss the importance of losing excess fat.
The importance of losing excess fat
Excess belly fat, and fat in general, does a lot more than make us lose confidence when we throw on a swimsuit, wear fitted clothing, or get naked in front of a significant other, it is actually very dangerous to our health.
Of course, some fat is good, it’s our primary storage for energy and it helps protect our internal organs...
However, this doesn’t mean you can sport a gut and claim it’s good for you! Once you reach the point of "too much fat", that fat becomes sinister…
The best way to tell if you have too much body fat is by looking at your belly. If you have a gut, then you can be sure you are overweight and it would only be beneficial to lose that fat.
But not all people get a gut, some people store fat in their arms, legs, or butt.
All in all, you probably know if you are overweight. However, a surprising number of people don’t realize they are, in fact, “obese”. The word has a bad connotation, as it should, it is bad! It doesn’t make the person bad, of course, but it should be taken seriously.
Sadly, around 40% of adults in the US are obese.
When you are obese, you have an abundance of visceral or internal belly fat. This can raise your levels of inflammation, increase your blood pressure, and it raises your chance of getting certain diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even strokes. Put simply, excess fat is a problem that should be dealt with, like now.
The good news is, anyone can lose fat. All it takes is hard work and determination.
If you want to know if you are overweight, then check your BMI score. If you are not in the healthy range, then it’s time to take action!
Yes, you can definitely lose weight with resistance bands. Exercise, in general, is one of the main remedies for losing excess fat. It’s all about exercise and diet. Exercising can be done with your bodyweight alone, so using resistance bands will only speed up the process as it will increase the intensity of your workouts, allowing you to burn more calories and build muscle, which in turn, speeds up your metabolism, making you a fat-burning machine with a healthy overall body composition.
To lose weight, or better said, fat and pesky belly fat, you need to do cardio and strength training. Ideally, you’d want to do 2-3 cardio workouts and 2-3 strength training workouts each week.
For strength training (aka resistance training) workouts, all you really need is your body and some bands to get in an effective fat burning, muscle-building workout in!
We will explain exactly how to workout to lose weight/fat further below.
Women often worry about this kind of thing, but the fact of the matter is, building muscle is hard. What will happen first is fat loss and your muscles becoming harder, denser, and pumped. It’s not like your traps are going to grow like crazy unless you are doing steroids, have freak genetics, or you are eating a lot of food. Your body structure has natural limits and growing muscle is a very slow process. Especially with resistance bands. They are more for keeping tone. After all, you’re not going to be doing heavy squats and deadlifts with them…Plus, you won’t be eating a ton of food if your goal is to lose weight, which is why you are here.
Overall, at the very least, you want to maintain your muscle if you want to lose fat, as having more muscle will help you burn more fat when you are resting (faster metabolism), plus it just looks better and healthier than being very skinny.
Now, you might be thinking, "but why use resistance band when bodyweight-only exercises are enough for me?"
Well, there are some advantages to using resistance bands for beginners, people who are overweight, and just in general (for all levels of fitness).
For example, if you can’t do push ups properly, you can use bands to work your chest muscles...e.g. banded chest presses with a light band will be easier than push ups.
Another example, if you can’t do pull ups (which are one of the most important exercises there is), you can use the bands as assistance to perform them…
But it doesn’t end there…
With bands, you can replicate pretty much any barbell and dumbbell exercises. Think shoulder press, lateral raises, bicep curls, tricep extensions, and so on. If you are only using your bodyweight, you will be limited to what muscles you can hit effectively. Let us explain...if you want to hit your shoulders, a good bodyweight exercise is a pike push up. This is very hard for a lot of people. Bands will allow you to hit your shoulders in a way that is manageable for reps, which is the goal if you are looking to burn calories. This applies for all levels, simply by using a band size with the necessary resistance level.
Guess what, there’s more…
If you are looking to burn serious calories, you need to take the intensity of your workouts up a notch. Bands are the perfect way to do this, especially for intermediate and advanced trainees.
While burpees should always have their place, and all you need is your bodyweight, it's advantageous to spice things up with more difficult exercise options. With bands, you can do some serious calorie-burning movements, like banded squat thrusters.
What about explosive exercises?
Bands are the best way to take your explosiveness to the next level. Do sprints, box jumps, bear crawls, and so on, with bands, and watch your explosive power increase rapidly. And what do explosive exercises do? Burn a ton of calories, that’s what.
Pretty much any bodyweight exercise can be intensified with bands, making the exercise much more challenging, allowing you to burn more calories and build muscle…
This brings us to another point, building muscle. Resistance band exercises will allow you to add the right tension and stress to your muscles. This will help you maintain and even build muscle. The more muscle you have or maintain as you lose fat, the more calories you will burn while resting. Muscular bodies are fat-burning machines.
With resistance bands plus bodyweight exercises, you can build muscle faster. You will be adding resistance to your existing bodyweight resistance when doing exercises, so that much is obvious.
Overall, all you really need to achieve your fitness goal of losing weight and getting tone is a set of bands and your bodyweight. There is likely not a more economical, portable, and space-friendly option in the fitness game. Plus, with resistance bands, you can do more than just resistance training. You can do mobility and flexibility training too.
So, which is better bodyweight workouts or resistance band workouts? Can’t answer that as it doesn’t make sense to. Resistance bands are the perfect complementary tool to bodyweight training. They assist in exercises when needed and resist when you want to make things more difficult.
This is why every calisthenic enthusiast has a set of bands!
This is an easy choose. 41” loop resistance bands are by far the best option for resistance bands when it comes to weight loss and burning fat. As a matter of fact, they are the best resistance bands in general. This is because you can use them in so many ways. They are the most versatile type of resistance band. You can use them for resistance exercises like you would a barbell or dumbbell (i.e. rows, squats, curls, presses), you can use them for assistance (i.e. pull up assistance, dip assistance, and even push up assistance), explosive exercises (i.e. banded box jumps), they pair best with other training tools (i.e. banded kettlebell swings and barbell banded squats), and the list goes on. Moreover, they are the only bands you can really use effectively for stretching and mobilization.
In terms of exercises, there are hundreds of exercises you can do with bands to target all your muscle groups. They lend themselves to squat, hinge, press, pull, lunge and core exercises better than any kind of resistance band.
We could go on and on about why 41 inch loop resistance bands are the best, but we’ve already compared them to the only other band you should consider in-depth - loop resistance bands vs tube bands with handles.
If you use resistance bands correctly, and you get your diet in check, you will see some good results in a couple of weeks. After a month or so, you will have shed off a substantial amount of fat. In 90-180 days, you can completely transform.
That said, it depends on your starting weight. If you are very overweight/obese, you will lose weight quickly at the beginning. You could lose 100lbs in 6 months, safely. That’s fast, but very doable. We know people who have done that in 3 months.
Now, if you are just slightly overweight, it will not be so drastic and quick. You should easily be able to lose 1-2lbs a week with good workouts and a 500 calorie per day deficit.
If you have a bit of a belly, with even a couple abs poking, you should be able to get a mean six pack in about a month to a month and a half.
Of course, this generally speaking. It all depends on the individual and how they diet and exercise. The point is, you can lose fat fast if you do things correctly.
On that note, let’s discuss diet and then how to exercise and workout for fat loss.
Needless to say, diet is a major component of losing weight.
We are not going to go over diet in-depth here, but we will go over the basics.
The goal is to lose weight (fat) without losing muscle…or at least not any significant amount of muscle. Not all weight loss plans take atrophy (losing muscle mass) into consideration. If you want to lose fat and keep it off, you need to go about it in a way that allows you to keep muscle, as again, have lean muscle is a major factor in creating a fast metabolism that keeps fat off.
So, with this in mind, here are some weight loss tips:
It’s not complicated, and you don’t need to count calories if you don’t want to. But if you do, aim for a 250-500 calorie deficit.
If you hate counting calories like us, follow the above tips, eat smaller meals more frequently (5 a day, spaced apart every 3-4 hours). This is how you keep your metabolism strong.
Whatever you do, don’t starve yourself. Don’t skip meals. This is how you slow down your metabolism. If you do that, you’ll notice everything you eat sticks to you like glue.
The goal is to boost your metabolism by eating smart. Small meals, 5-6 times a day…or 3 medium and 2-3 high protein snacks per day. When you are hungry, eat something. Don't let yourself get over-hungry then end up cheating and eating something unhealthy.
What about eating at night? Avoid eating before bed (stop 3-4 hours before bed). Keep your eating window to 10-12 hours. If you are intermittent fasting, drop it to 8 hours eating window and eat every two hours, all healthy, Whole Foods.
It’s not that complicated. So, don’t make it complicated. You know what’s healthy and what’s not, and stop eating before you are full. It's that simple. Have self-control. Remind yourself that every time you eat too much or eat unhealthy foods, you will not lose fat and you will likely feel guilty for doing so.
A lot of people claim diet is more important than exercising when it comes to losing weight, and there is a lot of merit to that. However, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to workout so you can keep your metabolism strong and you can build/maintain lean muscle. If not, you will get skinny, and then if you start to slip on your diet, you will get skinny fat, then fat. So, working out and dieting is about 50/50. You need to do both. Bottom line.
Before we get into how to workout with resistance bands to lose weight fast, let’s quickly go over how often you should workout, and what kinds of workouts you should do.
If you want to lose weight, aim for 150 minutes of moderate workouts per week and 75 minutes of vigorous exercises.
3 x 50-minute moderate workout per week
3 x 25-minute vigorous workout per week
To keep things simple, do three 50 minute cardio workouts and three 25-30 vigorous resistance/HIIT workouts per week.
What are vigorous resistance workouts? They are full body workouts with low rest time.
HIIT workouts are high intensity interval workouts. They are vigorous.
If we have a total of 75 mins, minimum, of vigorous workouts per week, this is how it could look.
1 Full Body Resistance Workout, Low Rest Time - 40 mins
2 HIIT Workouts - 15-20 mins each
2 Full Body Resistance Workouts, Low Rest Time - 30 mins each
1 HIIT Workout - 15-20 mins
1 Lower Body Resistance Workout, Low Rest Time - 30 mins
1 Upper Body Resistance Workout, Low Rest Time - 30 mins
1 HIIT Workout - 15-20 mins
Choose one of the above options, and stick to it for a 6 weeks. Add the cardio workouts in on top of this as well.
Note: We won’t be talking about cardio workouts from here on…For cardio, we choose running as it will keep your workout moderate. With swimming it can be hard to keep a good pace unless you are a good swimmer. Cycling is good, but you need to make sure you have the right bike to make it a good cardio workout. Other options are rowing, but not many people have a rowing machine at home. And 50 mins of rowing is extremely tough. So, running is the preferred choice for most.
Now, let’s talk more specifics on workouts and exercises, with resistance bands and bodyweight only.
How to Workout With Resistance Bands to Lose Belly Fat?
You can’t just target belly fat. If you lose fat, you lose it evenly, all around your body. However, most people who have belly fat will see their belly fat burn off first because that is where they store most of their fat.
Losing belly fat requires the same approach as losing any kind body fat. High-intensity workouts with full-body, compound exercises. Everything we are talking about in this post applies to losing belly fat. So just stick to what we are discussing.
The resistance workouts we are going to present to you below will help you maintain muscle if you diet with a deficit like we mentioned above.
If you keep your diet to plus 250 calories over what you burn, and you do vigorous workouts, you will be able to gain muscle while losing fat. It’s just a slow process on both sides. This is ideal for people who only have a little fat they want to lose. Like someone who is an average body fat percentage and just wants to get ripped.
In any case - losing weight, fat loss, building muscle - you will want to do the below resistance band workouts as they are the most effective all around…
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Workouts are perfect for those who want to lose weight as they burn crazy amounts of calories while also building muscle. They are like a hybrid between cardio and resistance workouts, but a whole lot tougher.
HIIT workouts can be as short as 5 minutes and as long as 20-30 mins. It all depends on how you structure the work-rest ratio, as well as the intensity of your movements.
In general, the working time should have you at 85-95% max heart rate and the rest time at around 65% max heart rate. This means active rest or as soon as you drop below 65% max heart rate, you bring it back up or start your working interval again.
We will show you a couple of HIIT workouts below using resistance bands and bodyweight exercises.
The best exercises you can do with resistance bands are compound movements and total body exercises. These are the type of exercises you want to incorporate into your workouts. This because they will burn the most calories while also inducing the best muscle growth potential, especially with bodyweight and resistance band exercises.
Compound and total body exercises work multiple muscle groups at the same time…i.e. squats, or squats with a shoulder press, deadlifts, bent over rows, etc. They work multiple muscle groups rather than isolation exercises that work one muscle group, like bicep curls.
Lateral Lunge to Pull
Single Arm Rows
Reverse Curl to Press
Hollow Body Holds
Hinge | Row | Squat
For many beginners, essential bodyweight compound exercises are out of the questions as they are too difficult (i.e. pull ups for reps). However, with bands you can perform these exercises as they can assist you in the movement. Thus, you can do these ultra-effective exercises on your weight loss journey right away. You want this as these exercises are the best for building muscle and they burn the most calories.
Pull Up with Assist Bands
Dips with Assist Bands
Push Ups With Assist Bands
Add in explosive resistance band exercises to your workouts for maximum calorie burn. Not to mention other benefits like strength, speed, and injury resilience.
Banded Box Jumps (partner or tie to an anchor)
Banded Sprints (partner needed)
Other Great HIIT Exercises Without Bands (Bodyweight-Only): Burpees, Sprints, High Knees, Clapping Push Ups, Jumping Lunges, Tuck Jumps, Single Lateral Jumps
Overall, plyometrics (jumping exercises) make for great HIIT exercises.
You want your HIIT workouts to be brutal. To do this, you need to incorporate exercises like the ones above (full body, compound movements). But not only that, you need to structure your workouts correctly so that they are challenging throughout the entire time. This has to do with rest time and volume.
Remember HIIT workouts involve working at near max heart rate during your working intervals.
Note: All the resistance band exercises listed in the workouts below can be found in the above "exercise" section.
For this workout, you will have a 30 second work to rest ratio. So 30 seconds on (max intensity), 30 seconds off (active rest time - light running in place). The total time is 10 minutes, but you can go up as high as 15-20 mins with this one.
You will perform these in a circuit, so one after the other. As soon as your rest time ends, move to the next exercise. Once you complete all 5 exercises, repeat for another round. If you are feeling good, go for 3-4 rounds, but do 2 rounds minimum. With each working set, push yourself pretty much as hard as you can.
Note: We are incorporating bodyweight-only exercises into this as well.
Exercise 1: Banded Thrusters
Exercise 2: High Knees
Exercise 3: Banded Box Jumps (tie the band to an anchor in advance or during your rest from the previous exercise, and test it so you won’t hurt yourself, you want to make sure you can actually perform the exercise for 30 seconds)
Exercise: 4: Burpees
Exercise 5: Hinge | Row | Squat
This workout has a 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest ratio. Perform the exercises one after the other each set until you reach 10-15 minutes.
Exercise 1: Squat Thrusters
Exercise 2: Jumping Lunges
Exercise 3: Burpees
Exercise 4: Banded Push Ups
The following workouts are resistance workouts using resistance bands and bodyweight exercises. We will be pulling exercises from our 24 best resistance band exercises video/post (if you want detailed “how to’s” on any exercise, visit the link we just provided as all the exercises are detailed clearly there). These exercises can also be found in the above 'best resistance band exercises section'.
These are sample resistance band workouts that are great for losing weight as the rest time is low and the implement compound movements only. Major calorie burner workouts.
This workout includes 3 circuits. Each circuit is done for 3 rounds. Complete circuit one for 3 rounds before moving on to the next circuit. Once you finish all three circuits for 3 rounds each, the workout is done.
For each circuit, you will do all the exercises with no rest in-between. Rest 2 mins between each round and circuit.
This should take you 34 mins, not including warm-up and cool down, which you absolutely should do.
For this workout, we are using blocks. You will be doing one exercise per block. Follow the set number of reps and rest time for each block, once the 6 minute block is up, move to the next block. Simple as that.
Block 1: Power Squats (6 mins total)
Block 2: Split Squats (6 mins total)
Block 3: Hip Bridge (6 mins total)
Block 4: Sumo Squats (6 mins total)
Block 5: Good Mornings (6 mins total)
For this workout, we are using blocks. You will be doing one exercise per block. Follow the set number of reps and rest time for each block, once the 6 minute block is up, move to the next block.
Block 1: Banded Push Ups (6 mins total)
Too difficult? Do them on your knees or remove the band and just do regular push ups. Still too difficult? Do Resistance Band Chest Presses standing up.
Block 2: Single Arm Row (6 mins total)
Block 3: Kneeling Shoulder Press (6 mins total)
Block 4: Reverse Curl | Press (6 mins total)
Block 5: Upright Rows (6 mins total)
Again, all of the above exercises can be found here: 24 best resistance band exercises. And in this video below.
There are tons of exercises you can do to create workouts. Just be sure to choose compound exercises as they will boost your heart rate the most, which in turn, burns the most calories.
Get yourself a set of our 41” loop resistance bands at SET FOR SET. We have the highest quality bands in the market.
These Resistance Bands were made to last a very long time and our prices are unbeatable.
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