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Should Still I Use Bands If I Have Home Gym Cable System? Bodybuilding Personal Trainer Tokyo Titan

Elevate your home workouts with a deep dive into the world of resistance: Bands vs. Cable Pulley System! If you have a home gym cable system, should you keep using your bands? Discover the nuances and benefits each offers in hypertrophy and muscle building in this insightful video.

A very common question I get asked: Once I’ve bought the items I need to make my own DIY cable pulley system for my home gym, should I keep using my bands?

While both of these items are used in a very similar way, they have a very different mechanism and how they enact on the muscles. I'm going to set up both of these items and then demonstrate and explain how they enact on the muscles, the type of stimulus they provide, and then explain how you should incorporate these in your workouts.

The cable machine is all set up. I'm going to demonstrate how the exercises work differently on the muscles doing bicep curls. So let's get this attachment ready. And to fully understand the difference between cables and bands, we need to look at free weights - dumbbells.

Muscle Engagement with Dumbbells

The bicep curl. I've got this weight here. This weight moves around as I move my muscles.

In the bicep curl, this is the most difficult position, getting this above horizontal. It gets a little bit easier once you get past that. That's a freeweight. The weight moves around because it is not a fixed weight, hence the name “freeweight”. In contrast to that, we have the cable curl.

Muscle Engagement with Cables

Sure, I'm doing the same curling action with my biceps. But the weight is moving up and down on a fixed axis. Well, “fixed”. It is a moving around a bit, but for all intents and purposes, it is on a fixed axis. So that is a constant load, very constant resistance throughout the exercise. It's no different if I'm here, here or here. It's still the same load that's applied to the muscles. That's a cable machine, and also all machines you'll find in a gym.

Next, let's look at the bands.

Let's disconnect this. I'm going to use the anchor. Let's get this out of the way just to be safe.

Muscle Engagement with Bands

Okay, that's all set up. So now we'll do the same thing. A band curl. So same motion in all three exercises, but different to the cable, this band, as I stretch it, the resistance increases. So as I'm contracting my muscles, the more I contract, the more force I have to apply with my muscles to resist the weight. It increases exponentially.

So three very similar exercises mechanically, but all very different in the stimulus that's applied to the muscles

How to Incorporate Different Equipment

How should these three different types of stimuli be used in your workouts? By default, your workout should have a strong foundation of freeweight exercises. Freeweights are great for overall development. They engage multiple muscles at the same time. When you get to isolation exercises, then you can start to incorporate more cable and band exercises.

When you buy the don't stop doing band exercises. For muscle development, especially for hypertrophy or building bigger muscles, you want to provide different types of stimulus. Not constantly changing, but do a set period and then change it up. So for me personally, I’ll do a four week routine, maybe mostly focusing on cable exercises and dumbbell exercises for the isolation exercises, and then I'll swap out in the next four weeks to mostly doing band exercises and freeweight exercises or dumbbell exercises for my isolation exercises. This is a great way of providing stimulus to the muscles and then changing it once they get used to it. That way you can keep developing your muscles over time.

When I know also that I'm going to be out of my home gym for a long time or a longer period of time, maybe like a week or two, I'll cut back on the band exercises and even the bodyweight exercises leading up to that, so even when I'm outside of my normal gym, I'm still providing a new stimulus that the muscles aren't used to.

Incorporating these three different types of stimuli in a systematic and well-thought out way will help you to achieve more muscle growth in the long run.


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