It seems that the consensus is that exercise bands and dumb bells both have their uses and their place within the realm of fitness improvement. I would be hard pressed not to agree with this consensus.
We must keep in mind that dumb bells are acted upon by gravity. Gravity pulls on a line that is perpendicular to the plane of incidence (the floor in most cases). So dumb bells can be a little more versitile than barbells in that we can arrange our clients in different orientations to gravity. In this way, they can incur musculoskeletal stressors that will bring about muscular development in areas and ways that might not normally be encountered.
That having been said, exercise bands can take this ‘orientation to gravity’ a step further. For example, if someone is in a stabilized lunge position, bands can be anchored in various positions. The angle from which the band is anchored and the manner in which the muscles and joints involved are working can elicit muscular stimulation that cannot be (normally) achieved with just dumb bells.
I think that dumb bells, for general strength, cannot be beat. However, the use of exercise bands can enhance the strength and core stability of the experienced exerciser. Also, as was stated earlier, exercise bands are a good starting point for the novice exerciser.
This was a good question and I hope that I was able to add to the discussion.
Harold E. Rose, Jr.
Ab-Sutra Health and Fitness Coaches
Be Healthy, Be Ageless, Be You.