In one of my previous articles, “gaining strength how to”, I talked about a few principles of strength training. Within this article, I will be talking about a tool we have for strength training, which is resistance bands. These are very helpful to have in our pursuit of gaining strength, below are a few points on why they’re beneficial:
- Power Training
- Training Variation
- Weak Point Training
Let’s talk about these 3 principles, starting with number 1!
Resistance Bands and Power Training:
I have touched on this subject previously in my article, “Benefits of Resistance Bands in Training”, however, I want to relate this and other principles in this article specifically to strength training.
When we use a resistance band, they help to balance out the strength curve, this means the easiest part of a bench press (the lockout) will be just as hard or harder than coming off your chest. This means you need to continually apply power, and even “push through” the resistance to complete the rep. This is moving explosively which is crucial to power training. It is almost like you are performing a plyometric, without the release of the resistance.
In addition to that, power training exercises usually need to be performed lighter to actually get the acceleration component, this is especially true if you’re performing plyometrics. However, with band training, I would say they are more conducive to heavier power training. This because they set you up for the acceleration component, all you need to do is feed into it. While of course you wouldn’t train them as heavy as standard strength training because you still need to move with speed, they are highly beneficial, especially for a heavier form of power training.
I like to implement these as my main movement if it is a power dedicated program, for example, I would add bands to a bench press for my main movement. I usually like to perform these with triples. If you want to implement these for strength training, I would include them as a variation/assistance exercise. This because you want your main movements in a strength program to be trained as heavy as possible. However, these can be quite beneficial to implement as a variation so you can get some power training in throughout your strength training program.
Training variation is highly important for working on weak points, changing up the stimulus you are giving your body, as well as overall training enjoyment. Resistance bands can be a great tool for working on weak points. Also, if you haven’t used them before, they can and likely will produce some pretty impressive improvements. As far as training enjoyability goes, I know when I see bands programmed in my training, I am hyped! Even more than I already am for every other training session!
The main application of resistance bands for working on weak points would be the help they provide for lockout strength. Since this is the easiest part of the main movements, it can get neglected and become a weak point if you don’t focus on it. Since resistance bands apply peak tension at the top of the movement, they help to even out the strength curve and make the lockout just as difficult as exploding from the bottom of a lift.
Resistance bands also apply a unique overall training stimulus. They are something that your body has never been exposed to before if you’re using them for the first time. Combine that with the benefits they have regardless, and you’ll likely see some major benefits from using resistance bands! I know I did. Even if you’re experienced with using them, you will still be able to obtain benefits from them.
Training enjoyment is huge, plain and simple, if you’re not enjoying your training at all, then you’re going to have to rely on will power which isn’t always ideal. Resistance bands provide a unique and fun method of training, and the fact that they’re not just for show and provide benefits is even better!
Weak Point Training:
I touched on a specific example of weak point training benefits previously in the article, however, there are many more, let’s open this concept up. To start, resistance bands aren’t just good for working on a lockout, they can be beneficial to power off the bottom of a lift as well. In addition to that, they create an instability effect, which helps work on your stabilizing ability throughout the lift.
Let’s talk about power off the chest, even though resistance bands are great for lockout strength, the reverse of this is not to be overlooked. Even though there isn’t a whole lot of band tension at the bottom of the lift (which you can still manipulate), there is enough for your body to adapt to. This provides a different training stimulus in the sense of the need for explosiveness right away as your body can’t just casually move up the range of motion.
Now to talk about the instability effect. When you apply bands, they’re never going to be perfect. One may also be stretched out more than the other, there are many factors that can affect the tension balance between the two bands you will be using. This creates a lateral instability effect which causes your body the need to create more stability. This has good carry over to a regular bench. This because there is still a stability demand, however, you will be used to having to generate more stability when using bands, therefore, it will be easier when you’re not using them. This will make the lift smoother and more efficient, thus, allowing you to perform better!
These are some of the main benefits of resistance bands for strength training. The one thing they all have in common is the different training stimulus they apply, from big ones like having to apply more power, to smaller ones like creating instabilities. All in all, resistance bands are a highly effective training tool, with many practical applications for strength training.
Have you used resistance bands in your training before? If not, do you plan on it after reading this article? Let me hear your thoughts in the comment section below! I thank you for taking the time to read! As always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.