Resistance bands feature in my main programs every day. But I’ll start by explaining what I don’t use them for…
I don’t use them for practicing any striking technique – the way they load the movement, the distortion of your striking skill, and the shift to a dominant limb-focus over whole body power generation rule this completely out. If you want to go deeper into this, click here.
I also don’t generally use them to add resistance to weight training exercises like deadlifts, squats, bench presses etc.
It’s simply not necessary unless you’re no longer making gains from regular resistance training exercises. And there’s so much progress you can make by properly programming these exercises alone.
Far too many athletes use band-resisted weightlifting prematurely, rendering it a useless method if and when they need it to bust through a plateau further into your career.
And quite honestly, 99% of fighters never need to resort to this.
Weight training is only part of our training, it’s not all that we do. As such, we’re unlikely to reach the point that we need band-resisted weightlifting to improve our strength and power.
So what do I recommend using resistance bands for?
I use continuous loop bands with every face to face client I see for band distraction exercises, as part of their mobility warm up.
Band distractions are something I’ve already discussed in detail when explaining the release-open-anchor sequence to fast track mobility gains. So I won’t go into that again now.
Suffice to say, you get a lot of bang for your buck using this method in your training.
I also love to use resistance bands for activation exercises such as X-band Shuffles and Monster Walks – to switch on the glutes and prime movement habits that not only make strength, power, and speed exercises safer and more productive, but also reinforce a rock-solid fighting stance and footwork.
And if you need to either reduce the intensity, or increase the intensity of chin-ups, the resistance band is your friend.
The thing with chin-ups or pull-ups is your bodyweight is your starting point. If it’s either too much, or not enough, a well deployed resistance band can make up the difference.
Looping the band through itself to attach it to the chin-up bar, and then stepping or kneeling into the free-end loop, gives you a bunk up. It removes some of your bodyweight from the equation.
Alternatively, if you need more resistance, looping around your waist and attaching a dumbbell, kettlebell, or weight plate will either act as a dipping belt (if the band is strong enough), or a stretching resistance (if the load is heavy enough to serve as an anchor).
And for bodyweight exercises, the opportunity to scale exercise loading with a vastly greater progressive variation is very valuable indeed – regardless if your bodyweight is too much, or not enough.
For such an inexpensive training implement, there are some incredibly practical, and unique benefits to be had if you use them well.