Friday, July 29, 2011

What Do You Do With That? Part 1:Bands


There are times that you are in the gym and you see someone using a new tool and wondered: What is that for? Now if we sat and talked about everything you seeing going on in a weight room we could be here for a couple of hours. Today we will tackle bands and their common uses.

What's the deal with this huge rubber band? The three most common uses for me are stretching, band exercises and the occasional accommodating resistance.

For stretching you can attach a band to that or anchor it to your appendage and pull for a greater range of motion. My favorites are the hamstring and pectoral stretch. For the hamstring you would lay on the ground and normally pull on the back of the leg but now you can attach the band to the bottom of your foot and pull on the band.

For the pectoral stretch you attach it to a rack or anything overhead walk out where the arm is a 45 degree angle and keep your arm straight as you move forward to stretch the pec. You dictate the intensity by how far you move, so more range of motion the better.

Band related exercises are very common in my programs because they are so freaking easy to add to your session it's stupid. Upper body day add a couple of sets of Band Pull-Aparts. When I trained a volleyball player this summer she was doing about 100-200 pull aparts and face pulls between exercises. I believe doing these helped her get her first unassisted body weight pull-up.

Can't do pull-up attach it to the top of the rack put your knee through the loop for some assistance.

Accommodating resistance is an advanced method of using bands and chains to add resistance to an entire range of motion. For a quick example lets look at the squat.

Photo Courtesy of West Side Barbell.
You attach the band to the barbell ends in addition to the Olympic plates. Since these are heavy duty bands they will add tension to the training weight making the weight heavier at the top because it's attached to the bottom of the rack. The typical setup is to have the most weight and tension at the top because it's when you are strongest completing the lift. A reverse band setup is the opposite and will assist you in locking out more weight.

Bands are a versatile tool to have with you at all time and they are very durable. Now let's make sure we rub our brain cells together to ensure we don't do anything dumb that could cause an injury. Don't jump right into to using bands on the bar because you will get extremely sore. For more information look to Elitefts Band Exercise Index, Dave Tate's Accommodating Resistance and Louie Simmons Bands and Chains. Next up Part:2 Boards.

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