Your question was: How do bands and tubing compare to free weights (such as dumbbells)?
Our experts said: Elastic resistance has different properties than free weights, in that elastic resistance doesn't rely on gravity to produce force. Both elastic and isotonic resistance provide similar strength curve patterns ("bell-shaped"), similar muscle activation levels (EMG), and similar strength gains. The main difference is that the resistance produced by elastics must be quantified by noting the amount of stretch in the band or tubing. For example, a red Thera-Band resisitve band produces 4 pounds of force at 100% stretch.