How elastic bands improve my deadlift, squat and bench press.

Breaking plateaus is the first reason to use a different method, technique or modality in training.

The use of elastic resistance bands is no different. Resistance bands are commonly used in physical therapy and injury rehabilitation. I believe they can also be utilised to positive effect in training lifts such as the deadlift, squat and bench press.

Benefits of Resistance Bands

Resistance bands have two main benefits when applied to a deadlift, squat and bench press.

  • Prolong the concentric lifting phase
  • Shorten the eccentric lowering phase

The longer your lifts or the greater the time under tension your muscles are exposed to, the larger the recruitment of muscles fibres. The faster you move or contract those fibres, the greater the fast twitch fibres are trained and contribute to the lift. The elastic bands lengthen the time under tension; move as fast as possible and you attract greater fast twitch fibres. Sets should only last as long as you can maintain a fast speed .

Amortisation is the term used in plyometric training to describe the time between eccentric lowering and concentric lifting. The shorter the time between the two, the greater power is realised. Elastic bands create an over speed eccentric phase and develop a term called action potential or the “springiness” response available in the muscles.

Westside Barbell

Louis Simmons of Westside Barbell calls elastic band training along with chains “accommodating resistance” in which the weight effectively changes throughout the concentric and eccentric phases of the lift. Accommodating resistance is used to help break plateaus and reach new personal records. When your training age gets close to your genetic potential, you will gratefully look for any new stimulation of your muscles to break a new record.

Recommended Use

Fasten the elastic bands securely to your lifting platform and then hook over your barbell. The idea is to perform 1-3 lifts as fast as you can on a maximal effort day, and on a dynamic effort day lift, perhaps 60-80% of your 1RM with the bands for 3-6 reps. 6-9 sets performed with 45 seconds rest in between are recommended.

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Ross Eathorne is one of Asia’s leading fitness and wellbeing coaches and is renowned for his holistic approach to wellness. Ross coaches private clients, groups, champions as well as trainers in his L.I.F.E programme, he is the author of three books with another book on the way, is a keynote speaker, a gym owner, and a champion himself.

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