If you haven’t seen resistance bands being used in the gym, you’ve probably seen multiple videos of them on instagram. What are they, Why are they being used and do they actually work? While they seem to be growing in popularity, do you actually know how when or why to use them? As a coach or someone who programs for themselves, it’s important to know how best to utilise them as a tool.
The Basics Of Resistance Bands
Resistance bands offer a varied loading pattern. This simply means the further you stretch it, the more resistance it is going to add! Typically you will see them used as a different source of resistance for an exercise. This may be by themselves, or attached to a barbell to make something harder. However, bands are used to assist as well as resist.
The Main Issue
One of the biggest problems with using bands lies simply in the variance of resistance. It is incredibly hard to tell exactly how much they are adding to your lift. You may have used an old band last time and a new band this time. Simply ageing and losing some of their spring could effect the total load they put on you.
The Main Benefits
There is a good amount of research that shows bands can positively effect strength and power gains. Depending on how you attach them, bands can enhance the eccentric and concentric portions of a lift. Give this a go, try adding the bands to a bench press. If you attach them below the bar, you top of the lift is harder. Increasing the force of the bar in the eccentric phase can improve rate of force development and time you spend under tension.
A number of mechanisms underpin how bands can effect strength and power. The way you attach them can change how and when the bar if most effected. If you play around with this a little you can see what works best for you. However, always remember you cannot be sure exactly how much resistance you are adding! If you buy some bands, make sure you get a variety. This allows you to change them as you need. At NK Fitness our Expert Personal Trainers In Surrey will use bands at different points throughout your fitness journey.