You don’t need expensive weight machines or free weights to increase strength because, according to a recent study, it’s possible to build muscle strength and size from using elastic bands. In the study, researchers from Malaysia and Australia found that muscle activation was greater when doing biceps curls with elastic bands compared to free-weight dumbbells. The elastic bands worked best when shortened by 30 percent, which increased resistance.
We’re not advising you to abandon traditional training methods and proven mass builders like barbell curls, preacher curls or incline dumbbell curls. But consider adding a few band exercises to your biceps training if you’ve hit a plateau and your arms aren’t growing like they used to. Bands are inexpensive, lightweight and portable, and can be used almost anywhere to provide a quality resistance exercise workout.
Source: European Journal Sport Science, 13: 155-163, 2013