Saturday, November 30, 2013

Resistance Bands - Are They Just for Beginners?

Resistance Bands can sometimes have the stigma of being a 'beginners only' tool.  Because they aren't real weights, some can look down on them as not being useful to the serious strength student.  How can an oversized rubber band really do much, right?  Well, they are an extremely useful tool that might be a bit underutilized, especially in the Basement Gym.

It is true that there is no distinctly measurable amount of resistance in each band and chances are you're not going to boast to your buddies that you can strict shoulder press two Green Resistance Bands.  Seriously...don't do that :) [That would be quite impressive, though]

We've found resistance bands to be very useful in training.  They are nearly without equal when it comes to providing assistance and resistance with bodyweight pulling and pressing movements such as the Pull Up, the Muscle Up and the Dip.  Resistance?  Yep...we'll get to that.  But first...

We're putting together a series on the usefulness of the resistance band.  Think it's only for the beginner?  We'll change your mind.
A set of these are useful in every gym.
Resistance bands [or should we call them assistance bands?] are perfect for helping you move your body weight in both pulling and pressing movements.  For months I struggled with the Ring Muscle Up.  That transition point between the pull and the press is difficult to isolate and train and it is at that point that many fail.  We can train chest to bar pull ups and deep ring dips which are essential, but that moment, that small movement in which the exercise changes from a massive pull to a deep press is essential to master before you'll gain the Muscle Up.

But figuring out how to attach a resistance band to Gymnastics Rings such that it doesn't pull them together or get in the way of your grip is nearly impossible.

However, if you've got one of our Affiliate Rigs or Squat Racks then stretching the band in between the J-Cups with the Rings hanging overhead is perfect.  The band becomes a simple platform you can step on or kneel on to assist in any pulling or pressing movements.
Positioning a resistance band stretched between two J-Cups is perfect for assistance with the Muscle Up and more.
Position the band below the rings.

Positioning the Squat Rack under the Gymnastics Rings or even under a Pull Up Bar works great.  Change the amount of help you get by changing the band or adjusting the level of the band up or down.

From here, I can easily step on the red resistance band to help give me that little extra help with Ring Dips or if I keep in a tucked position to a squatted position on the floor, then I can pull from below the rings to above them to practice that transition point in the Ring Muscle Up.

Additionally, if I've got the Ring Dip fairly well mastered [10+ continuous reps] then I can use the resistance band to add resistance to the exercise in a few different ways.

With the Squat Rack in the same position, now I'll squat under the band and as I stand up, position the band across my shoulders so that it pulls me downward.  Now as I grab the rings and get into the Ring Dip Position, the resistance band is pulling me down as I press into the dip.

If I don't have a Squat Rack or Affiliate Rig  to hang the resistance band from I can tie a Lark's Head knot on the handle of a heavy Kettlebell then loop the band around my shoulder to provide the resistance.  I find that it is better to use a kettlebell that is heavy enough that it will stay on the ground as you are moving through the exercise.  Get one too light then it starts swinging around as you move and might throw you off.

And this is only the beginning of how useful they can be.  Subscribe to our blog for more tips and tricks to using your equipment to it's fullest.