We’ve written a piece on resistance bands before but it was more a summary over what they are, and what things they can be applied to in training.
This is more to look into the science behind them and the reasons they can be the thing you need to just push your training up that little bit more.
Even though the bands come in a variety of sizes and resistances the fundamentals remain the same. The behaviour of the band is uniform across the range whether you’re using a blue band to help activate muscles and mobilise joints, or whether you are adding them to your squat or deadlift to encourage control, and add resistance.
Resistance bands stretch to twice their unstretched length, the further you push or pull the band, the more difficult it becomes to stretch the band further. This is called accommodating resistance. Accommodating resistance is a training system that allows the individual to offset the resistance (the weight, or band resistance) against their leverage. Obviously your body is stronger in some positions than others depending on the arrangement of your levers (in most cases your limbs/ joints).
Adding resistance bands (like we’ve done in BP Live) to exercises allows your body to be subjected to different loads. Take the deadlift. We’re naturally weaker in the lower part (or the starting position) of this exercise, and stronger the straighter were stood because of the position changes in levers (joints and limbs). With this theory the bar feels lighter standing tall than it does trying to initially lift it. By adding the bands we increase the weight as we lift the bar higher. On the ground, the band has no tension so the bar weighs the amount loaded. As you stand up, the band stretches adding resistance in relation to how far the bar moves, making it feel as heavy at the top in our strongest position as it does in our weakest position.
Now that’s cleared up, let’s look inside the benefits. This methodology trains control and ‘acceleration’. This is great for developing power (which is a combination of speed and strength). The key to improving performance, whether you’re an athlete or not is being able to produce more force in less time. Improving speed and strength is a result of being able to absorb more eccentric (lowering phase) force which will make you able to apply more concentric (lifting/ rising) force in less time. By being able to handle more force, and generate more force in less time you will see improvements in power, speed and explosive strength.
You’re probably sat there at your desk thinking, great. Why is this of benefit to me?
As you might have learned from other articles burning calories is an intensity driven process. Moving quickly, using dynamic movements where speed, power and explosive strength burns more calories in less time which is why we use this in BP Live. If your body is able to move faster, and do more in less time this translates to more reps in the endurance week, more controlled movements at a greater rate in the strength and agility week, longer sustained condition in the intensity week and the ability to get through peak week feeling strong. The more stress we can create in these 45 minute sessions the better, because your body will adapt greater, and burn more calories in that time.
Yeah, we know the bands themselves can be a little awkward and scary at the start, but getting used to them doesn’t take forever and the gains really do speak up.
Seemingly, everyone knows when they’ve used them. The day after you always seem to feel it a little deeper in joints where stabilising muscles have been challenged that little bit more, or the core from having to hold a strict position to provide the base of a movement. Not only does this improve the effectiveness of a; the exercise you’re undertaking and b; the workout itself, it significantly reduces the risk of injury which means you’ll spend more time doing more productive training, and less time out injured worrying about your gains going by the wayside.
Yes, they seem a bit faddy, yes they are a bit awkward sometimes, but yes they absolutely work, and are a vital weapon in your arsenal. We wouldn’t use them otherwise.