Implementing Bands for Power Training
Using implements as a way of accommodating the resistance of ascending strength curves is a great way to amplify the training response to a specific strength program. The implements we use at KILO are Lifting Chains, Resistance Bands, the Speed Divide and Eccentric Hooks. All these tools, when applied correctly, can be used with an extensor exercise to improve power.
The simplest way to improve strength and power is by forcing acceleration of a load via compensatory acceleration to create near maximal tension. As the force demand diminishes from the start of the movement to full extension, it is advisable to compensate by creating added tension over the course of the concentric contraction by increasing barbell velocity.
For the purpose of this article, the focus will be on resistance bands.
The issue with the classical way of using bands is that most trainees use too much barbell load. For example, if a lifters 6RM is 225 lbs on the Incline Press and the trainee decides to add light-tension resistance bands to the barbell for 5 sets of 6 reps at 225 lbs, the 6 reps will be performed at a very slow speed since the weight is a maximum RM load. While this method might be useful to elicit a hypertrophy response because of the exposure to longer time under tension, the slower velocities detract from the training effect from compensatory acceleration.
An alternative to using bands for power output is to start with a barbell load between 50 to 70% of 1RM for sets between 4 to 8 repetitions with a tempo of 2-0-X-0. Over time, progress by increasing band tension.
Here is an example of how to periodize band use over multiple exposures:
1. 50% of 1RM for 8 reps with light-tension bands
2. 60% of 1RM for 6 reps with light-tension bands
3. 70% of 1RM for 4 reps with light-tension bands
4. 50% of 1RM for 8 reps with medium-tension bands
5. 60% of 1RM for 6 reps with medium-tension bands
6. 70% of 1RM for 4 reps with medium-tension bands
7. 50% of 1RM for 8 reps with high-tension bands
8. 60% of 1RM for 6 reps with high-tension bands
9. 70% of 1RM for 4 reps with high-tension bands
Using this 9-step progression will ensure that barbell velocity is appropriate for the expression of power.
Favor a 2-0-X-0 tempo to make use of the increased stretch-shortening cycle potentiation from the added tension promoted by the elasticity from the bands pulling the weight back eccentrically. Doing so will improve rate of force development in the early stage of the concentric contraction.
As with anything in training, a systematic and progressive approach to the implementation of special techniques will always lead to higher training peaks.