How To Use Bands

Tags: accommodating resistance bands

In this video tutorial, we explain how to use bands for the squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press.

A band will attach from the barbell to the rack or to the floor. The band creates more or less load throughout the range of motion, which can be useful for addressing weak points in certain lifts. Most lifters are stronger at the top of the lift than they are at the bottom, so bands work the entire strength curve, an idea called “accommodating resistance.”

Bands are also cheap and easy to transport, compared to chains, which is another way to add accommodating resistance to your training program.

Bands for the Bench Press

Because the bench press is set up closer to the ground, the bands end up being too long and will need to be looped as double bands to create the right amount of tension. Attach the bands to the edge of the collar, which protects the bands from being shredded by the j-hook or the knurl of the barbell.

When attaching the band from the barbell to either the rack or band pins, the bottom of the band should line up with the lifter’s shoulder joint or start position. Therefore, when unracking the barbell, the bands will actually be pulling the barbell forward.

If you don’t have band pegs on the bottom of your squat rack, you can also attach the bands by looping them around the base of the rack. Alternatively, use heavy dumbbells to weight the band down onto the floor.

Bands for the Squat

The first way to attach bands for the squat is from the band peg directly to the collar of the barbell. To create some additional tension, “choke” the band through itself by looping it around the band pegs. If your squat rack is bolted down, you can also loop the bands around the bottom of the rack.

Reverse Bands for the Squat, Bench Press or Deadlift

You can also use bands to pull up on the barbell, sometimes called “reverse bands.” This will cause less tension at the bottom and more tension at the top of the range of motion. Choke the band around the top of the squat rack and remember – this will pull the bar up off the rack, so you’ll need someone holding the bar in the j-hooks during the setup.

For the deadlift, add weight to the bar before setting up your bands to help counter the resistance pulling the bar up.

Bands for the Deadlift

You can also set up the deadlift bands by spreading the band pegs as far apart as possible, and attaching the bands perpendicular to the barbell and parallel to the rack. This will increase the load at the top of the range of motion.

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