On Trial: Bands vs. Cables For Growth

Are strength bands better than cables for getting stronger and bigger?
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OPENING ARGUMENTS

Defense: Cables provide continuous tension and, with an adjustable cable station, you can set up the cables to mimic any movement in sport.

Prosecution: Bands provide continuous tension and can also mimic any movement in sport. Research shows that bands offer a few more advantages that cables do not.

EVIDENCE

  • The major benefit that bands have over any isotonic resistance equipment — whether it’s cables, free weights or machines — derives from linear variable resistance (the further you stretch the bands, the more resistance they provide). With cables, the resistance remains constant throughout the exercise.
  • LVR forces you to use more fast-twitch muscle fibers — the ones that grow to be the biggest, strongest and most powerful.
  • In LVR, the resistance gets hardest toward the end of the movement. That means that you can place more focus on certain areas of a muscle. For example, when doing flyes with bands, you can better develop the inner portion of the pecs.

VERDICT: STRENGTH BANDS

The multiple benefits of strength bands make them an even better option than cables.

SENTENCING

Although you should regularly include strength bands in your training, we are not saying to replace cable exercises with bands. Instead, use bands in place of some of your cable exercises from time to time. Bands will help you build better strength and muscle power, as well as place greater emphasis on certain areas of the muscles.

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