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Exercise Bands

Exercise Bands, Powerlifting Bands, Weight Lifting Resistance bands, call them what you want to…….they work GREAT functionally and add FUN to your workouts outside of pushing and pulling traditional  metal weights.

Shoulder Work Options With Weight Lifting Bands

A smart trainer knows that doing the same lifts and routine over and over again week in, week out will leave one STUCK pretty damn fast. When it comes to changing lifts, having a lot of options at your disposal sure helps. This is not easy to do if you are a home gym trainee, and not even easy for some bodyparts if you work out in a commercial gym. A set of stretch bands opens up a lot of options. And just to cover the basics of bands for those that don’t know, they are 41 inches in length and made in various tensions that can be adjusted by either going to the next size band, or choking/tying, or taking up tension for part of the length. They are NOT a gimmick and are used by MANY of the strongest lifter on the planet for the advantages they provide. And what are these advantages?

They accommodate resistance. That means as the range of motion increases, the band tension increases. Most of the bodies strength curve works like this. Using bench presses as an example, as the bar is moved further up, you are stronger/have better leverages, so when using bands, where the body is weakest, the bands have the least tension. Where the body is strongest, the bands provide the greatest amount of tension. They are easy to use, and can be implemented on a wide variety of lifts. By simply using a set of bands on a lift that you were doing previously without them the recruitment pattern, and stimulus will be different enough to invoke new gains.

Today I’ll talk about shoulder work with the bands. To cap your shoulders lateral raises are a great lift, BUT..after a time, like any lift they quit working. What to do? Use bands for your laterals. To use the bands all you need to do is stand on the bottom of the band, and wrap the top part over the upper portion of the band. Bands are FAR superior to weights for this lift IMO, as the resistance curve matches your bodies MUCH closer than a dumbbell does. To get anywhere close to matching the curve you need to use a machine and then you take the stabilizers out of the lift?not always a good idea. To increase resistance, just wrap more band around your hand, or stand on the band further up. That simple! Most people will do will with a number #1 or #2 band for these

Another great shoulder builder is upright rows. But..for many people, myself included, the fixed hand spacing on the bar is hell on both the rotator cuffs and wrists. Enter band upright rows. Because you hold on to the flexible band instead of a fixed barbell shoulder stress is reduced—a LOT, wrist stress too! Performance is basically the same as for the laterals as far as where to lock the bottom of the bands, the big difference being wrist/forearm position. This is another GREAT move to provide variation from either regular upright rows, or just allowing those that have shoulder/wrist problems from doing bar rows to be able to do a rowing movement. The recruitment pattern is different enough from bar rows to stimulate new gains if you have stalled on rows. And again, the resistance curve with the bands is much closer to your body’s natural strength curve. A set of # 2’s or a #3 or #4 is the right choice for most people for this movement.

The last move needs to be approached with caution, and I will recommend most use part bands, part weigh instead of all band tension. You can use the bands for military presses if you put a seated bench in front of the power rack, and set the safety bars at chin level. Put a barbell on the safety bars and take one end of the bands and loop them over a dumbbell heavy enough to keep the dumbbell on the floor, and place the other end of the bands over the bar. Now add plates and your band of choice. Start the movement from the bottom and it will beat your delts HARD. The reason this move needs to be treated carefully is the bands can be hard on the joints and many people can move some serious weight/band tension on this lift, so make sure band tension isn’t too high, and cycle this lift in and out of your training.

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