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Fitness & Health

12th Jul 2018

Want to gain significant strength? Train with bands and chains

You can lift up to 11% more on certain exercises by adding bands

Alex Roberts

Many training accessories claim to improve your performance, but the biggest boost to your strength could come from resistance bands and chains

In fact, studies have shown using bands could even prove superior to traditional weight training – where you’re lifting with the bar and weight plates alone.

A team of sport scientists put elite youth rugby league players through a six-week training programme.

One group followed a traditional training plan made up of compound, free-weight exercises such as the barbell bench press. The other group adopted a similar routine, but instead had 20% of the bench press load coming from elasticated resistance bands.

The players training with bands saw a greater increase in the maximum amount of weight they could bench for one rep. There is a direct crossover between strength and size, even though powerlifting and bodybuilding seem worlds apart.

The best exercises to perform with resistance bands are:

  • Bench press
  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Pull-ups
  • Dips
  • Overhead / military press

Just think about it. The more weight you can lift for one rep, the more you’ll be able to handle for working sets.

As you gradually add more weight to the bar, your body will adapt to the increasing stimulus by getting bigger and stronger, in order to cope with the demands.

Power and velocity were also greater when training with resistance bands.

For those of you who play contact sports or participate in any competition where your pace is pivotal, these gains are more than worth the effort.

This is all in keeping with previous evidence, too. Spanish research found training with bands boosts the amount you can bench by 5%, and the amount you can squat by 11%.

Over the course of a few months, you can certainly expect to gain greater strength when training this way. If your current gym plan has hit a stumbling block then investing in a good pair of bands can help you smash through that plateau.