Home Posts tagged "Resistance Band"

Band-Resisted Training for Power

Chat with any powerlifter about how he utilizes bands in his training, and you'll likely hear that they’re used for accommodating resistances to build strength. In other words, you can set up the bands to make an exercise harder at the portions of the strength curve at which you’re strongest. And, this is certainly an awesome application that’s helped thousands of lifters (myself included) to build strength.

Being a former competitive powerlifter, until just a few years ago, I’d looked at bands as something that could only make an exercise harder. Over the years, though, I've come around and begun to look for ways to utilize them to make things easier with our beginners. And, obviously, using them for pull-up and push-up assistance can be extremely helpful with working with new clients.


I did not, however, realize until just recently that there was also a middle ground between these two extremes (advanced lifter and novice client). In this capacity, more and more, we use bands with our athletes to be able to train power more aggressively, and more frequently. How do the bands fit in? They lower the landing stress on more horizontal and lateral power exercises.

Need proof? Let's imagine “Athlete A” does three sets of five broad jumps (standing long jumps). Then, he lets us know how his shins feel 36-48 hours later. The soreness is absurd.

Simultaneously, we have “Athlete B” do the same volume of broad jumps, but with band resistance, like this:

I guarantee you that Athlete B has dramatically less soreness in the post-training period than Athlete A. And, while I don’t have all kinds of force plate data to back up my assertions, it’s safe to assume that the addition of the band reduces ground reaction forces. It’s like a box jump; we go up, but don’t come down (very much).

We’ll also use this for band-resisted heidens to develop some power in the frontal plane:

I love these band-resisted jumping options for a number of reasons. First, they allow us to train power with a bit more external loading in planes of motion we’d previously been unable to load – and this shifts things to the left a bit on the Absolute Strength - Absolute Speed Continuum.

Second, the pull of the band actually teaches athletes to get back into their hips more. You’ll often find that athletes don’t really know how to pre-stretch the glutes prior to power work in these planes. When a band is added, they simply can’t “drift into the quads;” they have to get back into the hips.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the reduced impact nature of these drills makes them a potentially useful addition to a return to action plan as an athlete is returning from an injury. It can also be a potentially useful application in older clients with whom we want to safely train power (because the loss of power is one of the biggest problems at we age). Full tilt sprinting and lots of plyometric work with loads of landing stress won’t necessarily fly, but these options (and band-resisted sprinting) can definitely lower the stress.

Fourth, with our pro baseball players, I like to use these in the early off-season as we get back to training power, but don’t want to beat up on the guys’ bodies with lots of stressful deceleration work. They jump out, but don’t come down as hard.

Bands are one of the best “take-it-anywhere” pieces of training equipment one can have, and it’s awesome that new uses for them are emerging on a regular basis. This is one such example – so I’d definitely encourage you to play around with these variations and see how you like them.

Looking for more innovative training strategies like these? Be sure to check out The High Performance Handbook, the most versatile strength and conditioning program on the market today.

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 34

In this week's installment, Greg Robins has five tips you can immediately apply to your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs.

1. Add resistance bands to common exercises for variety.

2. Always cook more than you need.

As part of my efforts to help our adult boot camp clients, I talk to them pretty regularly about nutrition. In some cases, I will review a 3-day food log for them. Here is a scenario I encounter every time. I’m not kidding – every single time.

Meal 1: sucks
Meal 2: sucks
Meal 3: a solid, balanced dinner

This goes on for the next two days as well. I get it,; they are busy parents and dinner is the ideal time to actually cook something of quality. By the time I go to the point of food log review we have already discussed the importance of food preparation. Additionally, every class member receives a hand out on his or her first day that touches upon food preparation’s importance. From here, I go on to explain a simple strategy, - one that most everyone can benefit from.

Each time you cook, do so for 2-3 more people than you plan on serving that night. If you don’t have the time, or just don’t want to dedicate a set time to food prep, then do it little by little. Double recipes, cook a few extra pieces of meat; steam an extra few bags of veggies. As soon as you’re done cooking, store the extra in your fridge. If you consistently do this, you should have a plethora of ready to go meals, random raw ingredients, and no reason to have two meals of suck anymore. Easy!

3. Remember that inefficiency can be productive.

Ever notice how often you receive conflicting information from fitness industry experts? It’s pretty prevalent. This is mainly the product of people effectively taking stances to make their products and articles more appealing. For example, one person says squatting is bad, and another says it’s the key to everything. Likewise, the sit-up has been put through the ringer numerous times. Many great coaches are all about doing them; others tell you they are as dangerous as blindfolded racecar driving.

If more readers took the time to examine the information, and less time spreading the information solely based on who delivered it, this would help lessen the confusion. Why?

         Different information is applicable to different populations!

One point I constantly see debated is the one on efficiency, mainly in terms of exercise selection within programming. Sometimes being INEFFICIENT is actually incredibly productive. Take these two examples into consideration next time you think out the programming of yourself or those you train.

A) Pairing competing exercises

People are quick to make sure that paired exercises don’t compete with one another. However, sometimes an inefficient pairing will help your cause. In the case of hypertrophy this is definitely the case, albeit not always the case. If you want to target a certain muscle group, consider pairing two exercises that do essentially the same thing. For example, bench press followed by push-ups, or pull-ups followed by the band pullapart.

The level of fatigue you cause doing this can actually be productive, especially when an all out assault on the muscles in question is your MO.

B) Fat Loss Exercises Selection

In large part, fat loss programming should be about being inefficient. The idea is to cause a great amount of metabolic disturbance. What better way to do this than by making the body work much harder than it normally would? An extra 30-minute walk a day is a great way to burn extra calories. It’s even better when you wear a 15lb weight vest.

Take into account what you are trying to accomplish with your training. After doing so, evaluate if being inefficient (and safe!) from time to time might be productive. Many times, it is!

4. Try the 1-leg dumbbell pullover.

In this post a few weeks ago, Eric talked about how valuable an exercise the pullover is.  Today, I've got a good progression for you:

5. Don’t assume athletes have the same goals, if any at all.

It’s pretty common practice when working with general population fitness clients to discuss goal setting. Many personal trainers make a point to monitor goals, and coach people on how to set them. For some reason, very few strength and conditioning coaches talk to their athletes about goal setting. Recently, I stumbled upon this research done at the University of Illinois, and published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

The study examined the relationship between having an effort goal and self-regulatory efficacy (SRE) beliefs in Division I football players. Self-efficacy is your ability to regulate how you feel in terms of accomplishing tasks and goals. A person with high self-efficacy believes they are capable of whatever they want to accomplish. Furthermore, they are more likely to approach difficulties with a fire to overcome them, rather than avoid them.

I am a huge advocate of stressing the human element associated with fitness and nutrition related success, or lack there of. Naturally, this study appealed to me right away. Interestingly enough, student athletes who met the criterion for having an effort goal had much better SRE. Additionally, as the magnitude of their goal increased, so did their SRE rating.

We can all learn something from this study. First, just having well defined goals (whether they are practical or not) boosts a person’s self-efficacy. So, the next time you want to shut a kid down who has a dream, don’t. Instead, get him talking about it!

Next, make it a point to ask kids about their goals. If they have them, you should know about them. It’s not enough to assume they are training for the same reason as the kid next to them. This brings me to my final point: some kids won’t have goals. I bet there aren’t many kids at the gym who truly “don’t want to be there.” They just have no clue why they are there. Give them direction and help them set goals!

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Strength Exercise of the Week: 1-arm Band Rotational Row with Weight Shift

This week's strength exercise is one I learned from Dave Schmitz of ResistanceBandTraining.com.  Dave's the "go-to" guy out there when it comes to training with resistance bands, and he has a knack for coming up with innovative exercises with minimal equipment.  This is one such example that we've been utilizing more and more in the strength and conditioning programs we write.

The beauty of the weight shift is that it adds an extensive decelerative component to the exercise and allows us to integrate scapular control in whole body movement the way it occurs in athletics.  It also allows us to get a better training effect with less resistance.

I like utilizing this with our pitchers because it educates them on how to "get long" out front (improve trunk tilt at ball release) and stiffen up on the front leg at the right time.  The eccentric overload created by the band serves as a good reminder to not get lazy and go to mush on the front side.

This can also be utilized in group training settings when you want a compound exercise that folks of many different strength levels can utilize.  Simply stepping closer to the band attachment point can reduce the resistance and make it appropriate for a weaker participant without having to change the load.  

The exercise can be done with a cable as well, but I just don't think that the weight shift component works quite as smoothly in the cable scenario.

In terms of progressions, we typically teach the standing 1-arm cable row first to all our clients and athletes, as it educates them on proper interaction of the scapula and humerus during rowing.  This is an exercise we'd consider adding into strength and conditioning programs after the first 4-8 weeks of working with a client.  It's usually done either first in the training session as a power exercise, or later in the session for higher reps.

Give it a shot!

Also, if you're interested in checking out more of Dave's innovative exercises, be sure to visit EliteTrainingMentorship.com, as he's one of my co-contributors to the site and adds great content each month.

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