Resistance bands are a popular exercise tool, and for good reason: They're cheap, portable, and simple enough for even the most inexperienced individual to use. But how effective are resistance bands in helping you become more fit and build muscle mass? As explained in a recent Picture Fit YouTube video, it’s complicated.

Resistance bands are basically giant rubber bands that come in different lengths, widths, and shapes. Some have handles and others don't. Differents band sizes offer different resistance levels, and according to LiveStrong, bands range from having 15 to over 200 pounds of resistance.

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These bands are excellent for beginners, physical therapy and rehabilitation programs, and the elderly as they are low-impact, easy to control, and can be done at home, Picture Fit explained. However, when it comes to offering a serious physical challenge to your body, bands alone may not be enough. This is because you often grow out of the lighter resistances too fast, while the heavier resistances may still be too much for you.

In addition, these bands can also be dangerous if not used correctly. According to LiveStrong, because they allow you to freely move in any direction, you can risk damaging muscles, ligaments, and tendons if you move in the wrong direction.

Instead, Picture Fit suggests using resistance bands as an addition to your workout rather than the main tool. Some prefer to warm up with the bands while others may use them as a cool down exercise for the very end of the workout. Picture Fit explained that adding the bands to your hand weight may actually help increase your muscle gain from the workout, although results can vary among individuals.

Watch the video below to learn more about how resistance bands can add to your workout.

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