Thursday, 16 February 2012

Increase speed, size and strength...with a piece of latex!?

When I first saw it being done, I must admit I was sceptical. It looked silly and how could it possibly help me increase my strength? I did my research, found out why so many people in the fitness and sports conditioning industry are raving about them, and put them to the test. I tried and tested them myself in the trenches on a few lifts such as the bench press, close grip bench press and deadlifts. My conclusion…yeah they work! My strength and explosive power shot up on these lifts.  Why? Simple, using bands teaches your muscles to accelerate the weight on the concentric portion of the lift. Let me explain…

The simple graph below demonstrates what happens to the resistance level during 1 rep on a bench press.  The blue line shows a standard bench press with no bands. The resistance level stays the same throughout the rep. Obvious right? But look what happens when you add bands. They create a dynamic resistance throughout the rep. On the concentric phase (as your pushing away) the band gets tighter, making it harder. This will teach your muscles to speed up as you push against the increasing resistance. As you lower the weight (eccentric phase) the bands loosen and it gets easier. If you get more efficient at lifting faster and exploding heavy weights, you’ll get stronger!

So in conclusion, adding bands to various lifts is a great way to improve speed strength. It’s also a great plateau buster and a simple way to give a new feel to an old lift and freshen it up. Bands come in a degree of thicknesses/resistance levels, so start light and work your way up to a harder one.