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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Fantastic Elastic?

We’ve all seen them, maybe you’ve used them? People love them or hate them. I’m talking about the resistance band. Resistance bands can be used for a host of things. Rehab, activation work, adding resistance to bodyweight training, used in place of weights, mimicking strand pulling moves, right up to adding substantial resistance to heavy squats, deadlifts, shoulder press or bench press work.
I’ve personally found bands to be great for dynamic work (improving acceleration of certain moves) & for certain rehab. Although certain conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome & fibromyalgia don’t usually respond so well to band work, for many conditions it’s a real boon! (with any medical condition consult your doctor before trying them out)
Most of the activation exercises I’m presently working with I’ve learnt from reading the works of guys like Mike Boyle & Eric Cressey, if anyone is particularly interested I can bring someone in to film a couple moves, but both these guys cover his stuff much more fully than I do. I have found activation exercises useful for preparing to lift & although I don’t agree 100% with these guys about everything, I’d say the case for learning to activate the right muscles at the right time does help with lifting & I do use it myself. So, if you want a few activation protocols let me know & I’ll drag a camera person over to film a few basic activation moves using bands & bodyweight.
I have found some use for dynamic training of various exercises both to improve acceleration & just for a change of modality while still focussing upon a particular movement. Here I’ve pictured a couple of set-ups I’ve used with some success. One is the dynamic box squat using a safety squat bar (you could use a straight bar, but I prefer the SSB for this exercise);

The other is the dynamic dumbbell shoulder press (in this case using a jumpstretch platform). This is actually quite a challenge for the core as well as the delts & triceps.

Unfortunately, being a somewhat reclusive trainee I often train alone, so therefore you can only see the set-up, not the bands in action, but I’m sure the idea is clear enough, the bands stretch & so as you lift the apparent weight increases, so you are forced to accelerate harder to achieve you goals, by doing this you learn to accelerate HARD, which is what you need to improve your lifting. By the way ‘accelerating hard’ will not translate into moving quickly when you get heavier, sure with lighter weights you’ll move relatively fast, but once a heavier weight is lifted the extra acceleration you’ve learnt will really help you get a lift you previously failed to master.
If you’re interested in other moves using bands before you rush out & purchase some leave a comment & I’ll see what I can do about doing some of those (photos or maybe youtube if you don’t mind crumby stills camera video quality), so any band questions let me know & hopefully this will be another tool in your training box you can have fun with over the colder months.

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