Posted October 24, 2013

Band-Resisted Power Training: A Game Changer

Today’s post is a special guest post from Eric Cressey. Eric’s one of the premier strength coaches in the world, and co-owner of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. Eric just released his new e-book, High Performance Handbook this week, and it’s quickly gaining a reputation as a game-chager of its own for those looking to move better, feel better, and become more athletic, regardless of whether they’re beginners or pro athletes. I’ll let him take it from here.

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If you talk to any powerlifter about how he uses bands in his training, he’ll tell you that they’re for accommodating resistances to build strength.  In other words, you can rig the bands up to make an exercise harder at the points in the strength curve at which you’re strongest.  And, this is certainly an awesome application that’s helped thousands of lifters  (myself included) to build strength.

However, in light of my powerlifting background, until just a few years ago, I’d looked at bands as something that could only make an exercise harder.  As time as gone on, though, we’ve looked at more and more uses for how to utilize them to make things easier with our beginners.  And, obviously, using them for pull-up and push-up assistance can be extremely helpful when working with new clients.

I did not, however, realize until just recently that there was also a middle ground between these two extremes (advanced lifter and novice client).  In this capacity, more and more, we’re using bands with our athletes to be able to train power more aggressively, and more frequently.  How do the bands fit in?  They lower the landing stress on more horizontal and lateral power exercises.

Need proof?  Have “Athlete A” do three sets of five broad jumps (standing long jumps). Then, let me know how his shins feel 36-48 hours later. The soreness is absurd.

Simultaneously, have “Athlete B” also do the same volume of broad jumps, but with band resistance, like this:

 

I guarantee you that Athlete B has dramatically less soreness in the post-training period than Athlete A.  And, while I don’t have all kinds of force plate data to back up my assertions, it’s safe to assume that the addition of the band reduces ground reaction forces.  It’s like a box jump; we go up, but don’t come down (very much).

We’ll also use this for band-resisted heidens to develop some power in the frontal plane:

 

 

I love these band-resisted jumping options for a number of reasons.  First, they allow us to train power with a bit more external loading in planes of motion we’d previously been unable to load – and this shifts things to the left a bit on the Absolute Strength – Absolute Speed Continuum.

 

 

Second, the pull of the band actually teaches athletes to get back into their hips more.  You’ll often find that athletes don’t really know how to pre-stretch the glutes prior to power work in these planes.  When a band is added, they simply can’t “drift into the quads;” they have to get back into the hips.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the reduced impact nature of these drills makes them a potentially useful addition to a return to action plan as an athlete is returning from an injury.  It can also be a potentially useful application in older clients with whom we want to safely train power (because the loss of power is one of the biggest problems at we age).  Full tilt sprinting and lots of plyometric work with loads of landing stress won’t necessarily fly, but these options (and band-resisted sprinting) can definitely lower the stress.

Fourth, with our pro baseball players, I like to use these in the early off-season as we get back to training power, but don’t want to beat up on the guys’ bodies with lots of stressful deceleration work. They jump out, but don’t come down as hard.

Bands are one of the best “take-it-anywhere” pieces of training equipment one can have, and it’s awesome that new uses for them are emerging on a regular basis.  This is one such example – so I’d definitely encourage you to play around with these variations and see how you like them.

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Looking for more innovative training strategies like these?  Be sure to check out The High Performance Handbook, Eric’s new resource that was just released.  It’s on sale at a great introductory price through the end of this week only.

Additional to this post, as well as the wealth of knowledge you’ll get from diving into Eric’s book, I’m offering a few possible prizes for those who decide to pick up a copy this week.

First, I’ll have a draw to give away a free 3 month distance coaching package with me. This is normally a $700 value, so it’s pretty significant.

Second, I’ll give away 2 distance coaching packages of 2 months, which again are worth about $460 each.

Third, I’ll give away 1-hour Skype calls to 3 different people, which each normally run $150, and we can talk about anything you want, go through an assessment to see if I can help you with anything, breakdown deadlift or squat technique, or discuss how the Edmonton Oilers are gunning for a first draft pick already.

Here’s how to qualify:

1. Buy a copy of High Performance Handbook  –> Click HERE to get yours

2. Take a pic of the receipt. A screen shot works, just don’t fax it to me. The fax machine should be pretty well obsolete anyways.

3. Email the picture of your receipt to my assistant HERE. Make sure you block out any specific payment info if it’s not already blocked out. She responds well to bribery involving carbon fiber bikes and expensive designer clothing.

4. Wait with baited breath for me to contact you and let you know if you won. I’ll only contact those who win, and I’ll also showcase it on my blog next week, so you’ll get some free publicity and probably internet hatred over getting free stuff.

  • Sarah E

    This was so great! I work with young softball players, and especially pitchers, so it’s really good to be taught (ever so briefly) by someone who has been coaching the strength and conditioning side of baseball/softball longer than my brief year. Eric, many thanks from this newbie! 🙂 I will take all of the QUALITY guidance I can get!