Getting in a workout when traveling can be inconvenient and sometimes a major expense. Next time you hit the road, throw some exercise bands in your bag. While they can’t replace a rack of dumbbells, band training has become increasingly popular—and for good reason.
A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the differences in muscle activation between a six-rep max bench press and a six-rep max set of banded push-ups in highly trained subjects. By using electromyography, the authors found that there was no difference between the two exercises when it came to muscle activation and both groups experienced similar levels of strength improvement.
While a barbell is probably still better in the long run when it comes to building muscle, bands are an excellent alternative when you can’t get to the gym. Try using bands for pressdowns, overhead presses, curls, side lateral raises, and face pulls.